The “Great” Debate …

I actually managed to watch the full debate last night without once trying to punch my computer or throw it across the room.  In fact, there were several points at which I laughed aloud, causing the girls to look at me in awe, for it is a sound they don’t often hear coming from me these days.  Typically, I think the value of the debates is far over-rated by the pundits, but it is an opportunity to see the candidates speak for themselves, see how they handle pressure under fire.  But, if I want to know what their platform is, I will go to OnTheIssues.org  which is the best place I have found over the years to get all the candidates’ platforms in one place.

What follows is only my takeaway from last night’s debate.  I have no doubt that others will have different opinions, but since I gave up two hours of my life that I can never get back, I thought the least I could do is opine just a bit.

There are six democratic candidates left from the 20+ that entered the race:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joe Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Michael Bloomberg

The main reason I watched this debate last night … the first one I watched all the way through … was that I wanted to see how Mike Bloomberg handled the pressure of the questions he was inevitably going to get regarding his racist profiling in the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City, and the reports of sexist behaviour toward women in his businesses.  So, let me start with my take on Bloomberg’s performance last night.

The first word that comes to mind here is: arrogant.  His body language and facial expressions said:  I’m above all of this, I’m far above all these others, why am I even here?  Not one time did he actually smile, not once did he engage in any form of camaraderie with the others, and he rolled his eyes several times when asked a question that he felt unfair, or when critiqued by another candidate.  I sometimes think that body language and facial expressions tell as much as the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

But going beyond that, Mr. Bloomberg’s responses were unsatisfying, at best.  He seemed to defend his stop-and-frisk policy, though he has apologized for it.  But an apology is just words, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.  His defense of the reasons he started the policy was a turn-off for me.  Then there was the little matter of the treatment of women in his company.  Much of what women have alleged, Bloomberg denies, and yet … and yet, those women have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.  One must ask why.  Elizabeth Warren called on Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements so the public could hear their allegations, but Bloomberg flatly refused.  According to much of what I have read, Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, his vulgar language and crass remarks, are no better than Donald Trump’s.  If he wants transparency, what better place to start?

There were two candidates whose fire and genuine passion stood out last night:  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The media have declared Sanders the winner of the debate, but in my humble opinion, while they were both great, I’d give Warren the prize.  Perhaps this is a slight prejudice on my part, for I frankly think the time has come for us to steer away from the old, white, male image of the presidency.  Nonetheless, Warren showed us what she’s made of, and I liked it.

Joe Biden.  Sigh.  Poor Joe … by most standards, and judging by history, Joe Biden should be the #1 frontrunner.  He has the most applicable experience, he understands foreign policy in a way that not a single one of the others do, and he has good ideas.  What he lacks, though, is the persona.  He simply hasn’t got the passion, seems to have lost his way somewhere along the line.  Perhaps it is still the effects of his son’s death that have turned his world to grey, or perhaps it is the constant barrage of mindless accusations by Donald Trump that have taken the wind out of his sails.  Either way, he just wasn’t quite … there.

I like Pete Buttigieg, though perhaps not quite as much as I did in the beginning.  A few things stood out last night, but the biggest one was his almost continual attacks on Amy Klobuchar, some of which seemed unfair, to say the least.  The media, and Pete, have made much of the fact that when asked the name of the president of Mexico last week, she couldn’t remember.  It has been blown far out of proportion, and Buttigieg seized on it last night … unrelentingly.  Heck, there are days that I cannot remember my own name, let alone the president of Mexico’s!  Buttigieg does his homework, but it would have shown humanity to have let it drop.  He disappointed me in his attacks on Klobuchar. Buttigieg has a few things in his favour with me, though, and one is that while the other five have a net worth in the millions, or in Bloomberg’s case, billions, Pete Buttigieg’s net worth is approximately $100,000.  This impresses me far more than Bloomberg’s $63 billion.

I thought Amy handled the stress of Pete’s attacks fairly well, but a few times she did seem overly emotional, such as when she said, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” Far too much has been made over a bit of momentary forgetfulness, I think.  Overall, I was impressed with Ms. Klobuchar’s heart.  I believe she cares very much about people and would be a strong advocate for human rights, but I have to wonder if she’s a bit too emotional and too thin-skinned for the job of president, for more than once it seemed as if she was near tears.

As for the debate itself … two main takeaways.  First, while climate change and the environment was briefly discussed, it was altogether too brief.  When the DNC refused to hold a debate focused solely on climate change, they made a huge mistake, in my book, for this is the single most crucial issue on the ballot.  While each candidate said one of their first moves as president would be to re-join the Paris Accords, that’s about all we learned.  I want to know details!  I want to know more than the 5 minutes or so that climate change was discussed last night provided.

Secondly, I was put off and rather disgusted by the structure of the debate.  Candidates had small bits of time to answer a question, then when time was up they kept on talking, while all the others on stage were rudely interrupting, and with six people plus the moderators all talking at once, the closed captioning was useless and it was impossible to discern what anybody was saying.  I don’t know what the answer to this is for future debates, but I do wish somebody would come up with one.  It would have been far more helpful if all the candidates had stuck with giving their opinions of the issues rather than their opinions of their opponents.

Overall, I was glad I watched for I got a bit of a feel for the personas of the candidates, but as I said in the beginning, if I want to know their platforms and ideologies, I’ll turn to another venue.   Unfortunately, the infighting is doing nobody any good, and it is almost certain that no single candidate will end up with a clear majority by the time of the nominating convention in mid-July, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms.  Sigh.

Democratic Jitters

As always, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is spot-on in his assessment of the current Democratic candidates and their campaigns. He has also drawn a scenario about Michael Bloomberg that, while it doesn’t please me, I certainly cannot argue otherwise. The goal that we must not lose sight of is to topple the bully-in-chief, for another four years under Trump, who has been handed the keys to the kingdom, is unthinkable. Good work, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

It’s time to state the obvious: Beating Donald Trump must be the main objective in the 2020 election. While we all may have our personal favorites, and should proudly vote for that person in the primary, when it comes to November 3, whoever is the Democratic nominee deserves all of our support.

No matter who it is.

I know this upsets a lot of people. Ideological purity tests are running rampant all over social media. “But wait, he’s too far to the left.” “Hold on. We need to excite the base and increase the turnout. Only a real progressive can do that.” I’ve heard and seen them all. Everyone’s nerves are frayed. We know what the King is doing to our democracy, and none of us want to see what another four years of Trump will do to our beloved country.

Right now, the bane of all of the hand-wringing…

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Amy Klobuchar: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I present the second of TokyoSand’s excellent posts introducing us to the democratic candidates for the office of president in 2020. Last time we met Senator Kamala Harris who is one of 4 or 5 on my own shortlist, and this week we are introduced to Senator Amy Klobuchar, another on my short list. This is an excellent series providing valuable information about the candidates all in one place, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it. Thank you again, TokyoSand, for this post and permission to share it!

Political⚡Charge

Election 2018 Senate Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the…

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Saturday’s Snarky Snippets

When I wake on Saturday morning to no less than 12 “breaking news” updates on my phone, you know I’m going to be in snarky-mode.  So, here goes …

Another hat in the ring …

Elizabeth-WarrenElizabeth Warren announced her entry into the 2020 presidential campaign this morning.  While I respect Ms. Warren’s political views, believe she is as well-qualified as any, and while a year ago I would have considered her as my choice, I have to wonder at her decision today.  Given the very public controversy that she stirred over her Native American heritage, or lack thereof, she doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the democratic nomination, much less the presidency.  Frankly, I don’t relish the thought of listening to Trump and his faithful followers shrieking “Pocahontas” for the next 21 months! The more candidates who throw their hats into the ring, the more it dilutes the party unity, and that unity is going to be essential to winning an election next year.  I wish Ms. Warren had put country before ego.


He’s baaaaaaack …

roger-stoneLong time ago, July 2016, to be exact, I awarded Trump’s buddy Roger Stone (and his wife) my coveted Idiot of the Week award, and to this day he is still proving worthy of the title.  Stone, who has undoubtedly committed as many crimes as most any man alive, was arrested on January 25th, and indicted by Robert Mueller’s team on seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering, and making false statements.  You might think that would take some of the wind out of his sails, that he might ‘sit down and shut up’, right?  But no, this is Roger Stone who, like his buddy Trump, thinks he can do as he pleases and will never suffer the consequences.

Instead of silence, Stone went on a media blitz in a series of television interviews and Instagram posts, decrying the unfairness of his arrest, etc., etc., etc.  Judge Amy Berman Jackson, along with Robert Mueller, is considering placing a gag order on Stone, stopping him from publicly discussing his case.  In the Judge’s words …

“The upshot of treating the pretrial proceedings in this case like a book tour could be that we end up with a much larger percent of the jury pool that’s been tainted by pretrial publicity than we have now, and that’s what it’s my job to balance here.”

Stone’s attorneys argue against it.  On what grounds, you ask?  Because a) Stone doesn’t even have a Twitter account (he was kicked off Twitter more than a year ago for a series of expletive-laden posts aimed at CNN anchors), and b) Kim Kardashian has more followers than Stone.  Is there logic here?  I’m failing to see it.


More bad news …

Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician …

“While the reports and recommendations are being finalized, I am happy to announce the President of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his Presidency, and beyond.”


Will any be left standing?

A week or so ago, I read a column by George Will in The Washington Post that posited the most viable candidate in the large field of democrats seeking to unseat Donald Trump was Amy Klobuchar.

Amy-KlobucharHis points made sense, as Will’s points most always do, and I had added her to my list of potentials.  Then today comes the news that Ms. Klobuchar has a history of mistreating her staff.  It is even said it caused such concerns that in 2015, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid spoke to her privately and told her to change her behavior, though Reid neither confirms nor denies.  Sigh.  Another one bites the dust.  It becomes apparent to me that there will be early and multiple attempts to discredit any and every democrat who plans to run in 2020.  Somebody, republicans and/or Russians, has already begun a concerted campaign to sling as much mud, to dig up as much dirt as possible on every candidate who appears to present a challenge to Trump.  It is gonna be ugly, folks.  I have to wonder if there will be any whose past won’t come back to haunt them over the next 21 months.  Shoot me now.


And on that note, I leave you to enjoy the rest of your weekend.Weekend