Bucking up my courage, mescal with a red beer chaser and the Nationals game on my iPad, I committed to watch all 2 hours (though I am sure I fell into a worm hole) of the Democratic Debate. Unable to swallow the whole apple, I had sliced pieces of previous debates, but things are getting serious now and as a non-affiliated voter I need to see just who the Democrats are bringing me to consider. Luckily, CNN put a camera in West Virginia to create enough distance for me to see all of the debaters on the Ohio stage. Quantity and quality …I hoped. Let’s see what we have here.
Tulsi Gabbard – They said she had been the congress person from a district in Hawaii for 7 years. No doubt the region known for its fine Maui Wowie. Evidently, she is trying to keep us out of wars that we have been fighting for a decade by giving a wink and a nod to dictators. Showing impeccable timing, she decided to take over the role of moderator. Alas, when she looked down at her, I am sure “spicy” questions, CNN went to commercial. Kind of made me really want to meet her constituents and give them a hug.
Andrew Yang – Seems he made few bucks in high tech. Good for him. And he wants to give everyone 1,000 bucks, you say. Before or after taxes and withholding? So, you are living a good and productive life but sitting in your hot tube one day the ego guards decide to abandon the closely monitored perimeter in your bean and you decide you need to be president. Better yet, you have ideas and, instead of the rational act of creating a blog, you decide you need to be on the TV. His sane claim that “it’s the automation stupid” should have been a billboard on the highway to the debate site.
Tom Steyer – “In case you didn’t notice, I’m a billionaire who bought my way onto this stage.” Did anyone else feel a little icky inside at the idea of genuinely sincere billionaire? It was kind of like seeing a beat-up white Ford Econoline van parked outside of an elementary school. You just know something isn’t right.
Julian Castro – He needed a placard in front of the podium that said, “I don’t get it. I check all the boxes. Why don’t you like me?” Later I saw, unironically on Twitter, that his attempted take down of the police was the most trending quote on, of course, Twitter. I feel good about his chances to be president of Twitter.
Cory Booker – It hadn’t occurred to me that what any debate needs is someone to break in every 10 minutes and yell, “We are having the wrong debate!! Be nicer!!” I like nice people too and if what we needed was more nice in the world, I would just sit in a room with a continuous loop of Mr. Rogers reruns. I honestly want him to find the right place for his message. If I was him I would run for a seat in the US Senate. He could be useful there. I hear he is a vegan.
Kamala Harris – How is it possible, so early in the process, for someone to give off the vibe that she once played to sold out arenas but now she is doing the Indian Casino circuit to pay the bills? She mostly made me feel sad. Turns out she was once a tough prosecutor but feels kind of bad about it. But she needs perk up. How she is going to feel about this squandered opportunity will blot out everything else, kind of like a gal on a street corner complaining about the rain when a tsunami washes her away.
Beto O’Rouke – I knew he was off to a flying start in this campaign when he made it clear that his biggest credential was that he almost beat Ted Cruz. Nothing says a winner like losing. Personally, I am all about a DIY punk rocker candidate, but his punk mostly consists of coming up with positions to pander to different 3 percent blocks of voters who in turn hate each other. With his deeply serious voice and waving arms, he reminds me of a Southern Baptist preacher giving it his all on a Sunday morning to 11 people in the pews.
Amy Klobuchar – Man, she was really rocking the “non-socialist” world for a few minutes there. A few minutes. But then she seemed to rapidly get tired of being one of the cool kids and began spouting lines that sound so good in the staff meetings the week before. I spit up my mescal shot when she sheepishly waved at her daughter somewhere out in the crowd. Evidently, when you are falling it is her family tradition to wave goodbye with an ironic smile. I waved back in case her kid didn’t see her.
Pete Buttigieg – Of course I loved him. What aging, intellectual can resist a whip-smart, patriot with more than a little self-awareness and compassion? But Mayor Pete is running against a dirty little secret of Democratic politics, something you will never hear from the Twitter Woke-O-Sphere. Black voters don’t like married gay people. It’s the one characteristic that the extensive evangelical black community shares with white evangelicals. Black voters and Mormons joined hands to kill California’s first attempt at gay marriage. He isn’t too young, or too inexperienced, he’s too gay.
Bernie Sanders – We seemed to be celebrating how good he looked after his heart attack and stents. Hey, I have family members who are alive today because of stents. I just don’t want have that thought when I see a President. Bernie is an actual fanatic, in all the most awful paint your team name on your belly and get drunk at the game ways. He will run for President over and over just to remind you that, you know, you are wrong and he’s right. And like with Hilary, he and his cohort of fanatics will stay in this to the end just to monkey wrench the primaries and prove they have better souls than all of the rest of us.
Joe Biden – Here was the moment I feared all night. He was going to begin an answer by saying, “I have 4 things to say.” Two things in I was sure he was going to lose his place. Unlike many of the others, he gets it. Trump is a republic extinction event. Screw all the big plans and great leaps, if nobody beats Trump its game over for our democracy. I can even forgive his mangled syntax and old dude references. But the guy is just too damned old. There are jobs beyond the rational capabilities of 80-year-olds and president is one of those. It kills me to write this because he gets the real problem like no one else in this field.
Elizabeth Warren – All her “live wire” 70-year-old routine is as distracting as an angry wasp at a summer picnic. She thinks America is just chomping at the bit for structural changes. She is wrong. Worse than having plans is having ones with magic trillions of dollars appearing like the aurora borealis in Texas. It just isn’t going to happen. Nothing she proposes will pass in congress. This makes her beyond delusional. It makes her a liar to all those real people she keeps talking about. The getable voters in the critical Midwest states just bought snake oil from a liar and are wondering why nothing is different. Gimme a quarter of the money Trump has to run commercials telling people how a Harvard Professor Socialist is going to take away your guns and company/union health insurance. She’s toast. Yea, you get the picture.
What in the world are the Democrats thinking? Trump is a malignant narcissist who has begun to do his best imitation of Hitler in the Berlin bunker moving invisible armies and screaming that if the people don’t love him, they all deserve to die. I am a student of our democracy and have concluded we won’t survive another 4 years of Trump. Game over. We have always been an experiment in governance and we now have the perfect catalyst to end the experiment. Oh, he will be impeached. He’s a con man and a criminal and will take down everyone around him, but he is also that damn fungus on the floor of your shower, those sugar ants that keep coming back.
I am a centrist, who believes in the power of the republic’s design to self-correct. But now we have reached the founder’s absolute worst case scenario, an executive with no moral core seeking foreign help to maintain power. This is the big one. They saw it coming. You have to be kidding me. THIS is the field of candidates the Democrats have brought to save the republic. I am down to hoping to be proven wrong. Not a place I ever thought I would experience in America.
Photo from NY Post