Saturday, June 29, 2019

Time's up, Joe.

    Two nights. Two debates. Twenty candidates.
    How many are left now?
    That question is beyond my skill set.
     Four years ago I remember handicapping the 16 Republican contenders.
     Because it's easier to pan than praise. And I've already taken Beto O'Rourke to the woodshed for showing off his high school Spanish.
     Yeah, New Age guru Marianne Williamson was loopy. But you don't really need me to tell you that, do you?
     I will say the first night left me unmoved—so much so that I fell asleep halfway through. I get up early. My wife, who stayed awake, was very enthusiastic about Julian Castro. But I will have to take that on faith.
     Thursday night was very different. Kamala Harris was the breakout candidate, speaking with confidence, power, emotion and none of the wooden punching-above-my-weight quality that candidates like John Hickenlooper exhibited.
     Right up there with her was Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor. So that's what the fuss is about. A man who is clear and direct and fearless and takes responsibility. "I didn't get it done," he said, asked why the South Bend police force was still 6 percent black in a city where the general population is a quarter African-American. No equivocation, no tap-dancing. It was almost shocking.
     Joe Biden wasn't bad, but he wasn't good either. He seemed to be taking a state's rights approach to civil rights, which is nearly a code for supporting racism. If he doesn't know that, he should. One problem with these longtime hacks is they think they can sugar-coat a turd and feed it to the public, because we're stupid, when we're really not, Donald Trump supporters notwithstanding. When California Rep. Eric Swalwell quoted Biden saying, 32 years ago, that it was time to pass the torch to a new generation, Biden replied, "I'm not letting go of that torch." It was a frank admission of the egoism and selfishness of his campaign. He won't let go, so somebody has to take it from him.
     The most inadvertently candid thing Biden said was when stopping himself from speaking. Most candidates barreled on as moderators tried to shut them up. Biden pulled himself short and said, "My time's up."
     Is it ever. 

     Maybe that's good manners. Or maybe it's the timidity that crumples before Donald Trump. The 2020 race won't be played by the Marquis of Queensbury rules.
     We have a long road ahead of us. Things change. But right now, I'd like to see Harris and Buttigieg together on a ticket. They seem in good position to pry the torch from Biden's claw. Then to be the splintery stick to shove up the ass of Donald Trump. If he beats them, well, then we deserve four more years of his clown show misrule.


  1. A black woman with a lot of baggage like Harris and a white gay who has troubles running his own small town is the kind of dream ticket that Trump could love. I think you confuse a public performance with leadership. They're not the same as the current occupant in the oval office demonstrates almost every minute of the day. Harris and Buttigieg would not just turn off voters that Biden would bring back to the Dems but would make the Dems look as extreme as the GOP claims they are. In 2020, we need a candidate who can beat Trump. Boring Biden is about as far away from Tantrum Trump as one can get and the comparison works in the Dems' favor. After all, would a little boredom be too much to ask for in the minds of many voters after the years of chaos with Trump?

    1. Biden might be boring. But he already promised Wall Street things would not change. While it would be great to have a Democrat as President if Democrats don't take over the Senate, I don't think things would change much. From day one Republicans tried to do everything they could do to not give Obama anything. For as much as a lot of people including liberals who did not like Hillary, two conservative judges would not have been added to the court. McConnell might not have given any of Clinton's nomination, but maybe that would have been ok. This court ok'd the Muslim ban. Of course we wouldn't have had that if Clinton had been elected. We probably wouldn't be seeing what is going on at the border. It doesn't mean all those immigrants wouldn't have tried to gain asylum, but you wouldn't have seen children being separated from their parents and then be forced in to living in horrible conditions. I doubt we would have seen Chelsea Clinton in the White House except as a visitor. No doubt Clinton would have made some lousy decisions as most presidents do. No one is perfect after all. But I don't know if the country ever recovers from four years of Trump much less eight if he wins another term.

  2. Interesting comments, Zonker.
    There’s a fine line between how a candidate presents himself in general and how he/she performs in a quick-trigger debate scenario. Obviously an older person — Biden — may have a disadvantage in the latter format.
    I think these first debates are only the beginning of a long process to find the right candidate, who will eventually emerge as the logical choice. At least I hope so.

  3. I can't even bring myself to watch any of the debates yet. It brings back stinging memories of 2016, when we had the eminently qualified candidate and they had the clown car. Of course the most buffoonish clown got the nomination and, through some hideous fluke, won the election.

  4. Wise words, Zonker and Sanford.

  5. My gut says, Buttigieg too young, Biden and Sanders too old. Warren and Harris have the talent but also hurdles that Biden doesn't have to jump. Warren and Sanders offering too much, need to remember the Sorenson for Kennedy line "all this might not be done in the first hundred, thousand days, or life of the administration...." because what they offer is also fodder for Trump's admen. Some of the current one percenters could still rally. Should be interesting.

  6. Remember that Trump came across as a psycho in debates and still won.

  7. Based on absolutely no political experience, think a moderate Dem would fare well against Trump. There are moderate Democrats and Republicans, independents, college-educated Republican woman who would not vote for a far-left, progressive Democrat. Although I want to see a woman president more than I want to keep eating Italian food, this is not the time for gender or identity politics. People cannot stay home pouting on election day because their choice didn't get the nomination like the Bernie people did in 2016. I don't care if it's an old white guy, just not Trump.

    I think impeaching Trump will make him a martyr first and then a saint when he doesn't get convicted. It will win him the election. It will take time to mend the damage Trump has done. The racist, nut bag wingnuts will still be here as will McConnell, but at least we'll have someone in office who will stop being a national embarrassment to our country. I'd actually like to hear a presidential speech or press conference again. I cannot bear listening to that moron.

  8. Warren Harding was a compromise candidate in 1920, because the GOP kingmakers meeting in Chicago could not agree on a suitable nominee. He ended up with over 60% of the popular vote, the largest percentage in U.S. history up to that time, because he campaigned on a "return to normalcy" after World War I and the crises of postwar America. There's no such word as "normalcy"...but the electorate wanted it anyway.

    Unfortunately, the 29th president's administration was one of the most dishonest and corrupt ever...but Harding's untimely demise saved his reputation from disgrace until after he was safely dead.

    A century later, history seems to be repeating itself. We need to forget about policy and concentrate about likeabilty, and even more importantly...electability. Trump must not be allowed to win a second term, and his opponent needs to look beyond attracting the liberals and the left-of-center and the moderates. He or she needs the votes of those who are none of those things, but who are still appalled and disgusted and sickened by the daily circus and the character of the ringmaster.

    A return to "normalcy" should be the rallying cry. Bernie doesn't fit that description, and Pete is too young and too local, plus a gay or Jewish POTUS is not yet in the cards. Harris is Hillary Lite, and may alienate too many voters. That leaves a Biden-Warren ticket. She is just progressive enough for the left, and Biden is "normal" enough for the moderates. He would restore sanity to the Oval Office...something we desperately need.

    But what about everybody else who wants Humpty Trumpty to fall? Ask me again in a couple of months, and I'll probably have another 'dream ticket'...nothing is certain yet. It's way too early. We won't know what's ahead until at least Christmas, and maybe not until next spring or summer. Anything can happen...and it probably will. It's that kind of a world now.

  9. Eight years ago, Rahm's religion was of minimal concern to Chicago voters. Same for Lori's living arrangement. Things can change a lot, as they have in Chicago since 1983.


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