Well, last nights round two of the democratic debates didn’t disappoint. It was a good sequel to the first night. While the moderators were clearly focusing on the front runners of the group (Biden, Sanders, Harris and Buttigieg) the others were forced to interject and try to get heard.
All of them spent a little too much time slagging Donald Trump, which doesn’t bother me but that’s not how they win this.
There also seemed to be a lot of posturing from some of the lower tier candidates, mainly Swalwell. He tried very hard but he kept rolling snake eyes. But in all fairness, there were some issues in the second hour with the candidates posturing a little too hard and maintaining any restraint.
Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd struggled a bit keeping them in line. A more unruly group than the first night’s bunch.
Here’s how I thought each candidate did (listed alphabetically):
Joe Biden – Biden was Biden. What more can really be said? He, like Buttigieg, played by the rules mostly. Kept his cool when Kamala Harris held his feet to the fire (as she should have) about his wonky race associations. He was a little slow raising his hand on health coverage for undocumented workers. So slow, he was asked if he raised his hand at all. His unwillingness to attack the NRA was obvious and gratuitous. That was pretty shameful. Also, he’s 76. He’s not the future of the Democratic party. Look, Biden is gonna do and say what he needs to do and say to win. He’s a master politician . . . that’s not a compliment.
Michael Bennet – didn’t raise his hand about believing that crossing the border should be a civil offense and not criminal? I don’t know about this guy, seems knowledgeable and became more spirited and articulate as the night went on. Definitely not a front runner, but I’d like to see him stick around a little longer.
Pete Buttigieg – I disagree with some of the things he says, but appreciate his commitment. Mayor Pete played by the rules and was one of two or three tonight who did. People need to stop talking about his age because this guy is the real deal. He can hold his own with a career politician like Biden and with a guy like Sanders. And BIG UPS on the republican burn about their hypocritical religious crap because let’s be honest, no God would be cool with locking up kids, babies, in cages. This man is the future of the democratic party. Or he should be. He’s still not my top pick, but he is the shit. And props for saying it – “Who knows who he’s gonna piss off between now and then.” Brilliant!
Kirsten Gillibrand – came out swinging . . . and then blew it by not knowing when to stop swinging. Not that I entirely disagreed with her but she came across as more desperate than confident. I don’t necessarily think she was desperate, but I suspect it may be perceived that way. She was trying to prove herself and she kind of did . . . until she didn’t.
Kamala Harris – well, look who ate their Wheaties yesterday. Holy shit! Hands down the big winner. Cool, calm, collected, cogent . . . the real deal. She told the story of how she defied President Obama, which is not an easy thing to do. Her plans and talking points are fantastic and she was absolutely unafraid to go after Biden. She did it deftly and respectfully, but she held him accountable. She made her story real. I am more intrigued by her. I still think she’s a little to moderate for my tastes but damn, she absolutely killed tonight.
John Hickenlooper – the Jay Inslee of tonight’s debate. Which is to say he was out of his element. I’m not sure why he’s running because he doesn’t seem very interested.
Bernie Sanders – medicare for all, we get it. We agree. However, it’s not the only issue. Also, he keeps hoping that Americans will rise up and start the revolution or at least stand with him. Has he never met Americans before? Sure, some will but most won’t. I like Bernie, I really do and I agree with much of what he says . . . but, no. He’s 77. That is NOT the future of the Democratic party.
Eric Swalwell – great dig at Biden about passing the torch. He’s right . . . but then the pappas (Biden & Sanders) opened a can of “Listen here young’un” whop-ass on him. He seemed VERY well rehearsed with his buzz phrases. A decent effort, but not decent enough.
Marianne Willamson – sounds like a creative writing professor from Wesleyan, but she did make more than one cogent point. You gotta applaud her chutzpah for running. And big ups for being the ONLY one who brought up America’s responsibility for the immigration problem. But I think her mescaline was starting to kick in during the second hour as she started talking about JFK and her closing statement had that strange “I’ll fight Trump with love” hippy dippy bullshit.
Andrew Yang – dressed like he was going to a tech conference. Which is fine . . . if he were at a tech conference. Bruh, you’re on stage auditioning for the highest position in the free world – even I’d wear a suit. And I hate suits. Outside of that, the 1k a month sounds great, but it’s a flawed plan across the board. And that’s all he has.
My top five, in no particular order:
There are some good democrats out there right now. Can any of them beat Donald Trump? I don’t know. I really don’t. And if he can’t be beaten then I want the one who is going to give him hell. And only a couple of those I saw over the past two nights would make his life miserable.
Joe Biden is not one of them. Sure, he’d beat him up but I want Trump to feel the pain he’s inflicted on so many others not just be beaten up.
My friends, we’re at a crossroads. If Biden gets the nomination and wins, it’s back to the way it’s always been. If Trump gets another four years and spiral further down the toilet (it’s hard to image we can go further down, but I fear there is no bottom with that eedjit). As someone said “The nadir is the jumping off point with Donald Trump.”
So, we have to ask ourselves what we want. The debates helped me pick a line-up, but I’m still committed to who I want and who I think can take us where we need to go. That may change but not based on anything I saw over the past two nights.
Now, if you’ve made it this far and are curious why the image for these articles has been an American flag, upside down, well, it’s not anti-American. It means a nation is in dire distress.
And we are.