Thursday, June 27, 2019

Dem Dems

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
The Ricky Ricardo Arms, Miami --- Presidential debates at the very start of campaign seasons are like Agatha Christie murder novels- After they're assembled in the creepy old mansion, the candidates start disappearing one by one. So far, there are 24 Democrats in the hunt but only 20 have been invited to the debates in Miami. Obviously, most of them will be gone and half-forgotten long before the primary season begins early next year.
     So, while I'm listening to haphazard Morse code from the bathtub (Yes, my cockroach friend is back), here are my thumbtack impressions of last night's debate:
     First of all, debates (especially presidential debates in which the candidates promise to inflict the most damage) are like concept cars at car shows or outlandish fashions at fashion shows. They're so bizarre and impractical one can hardly imagine them mass-produced and inflicted on polite society outside of a Keith Richards acid trip. 
     The policy proposals you will hear during these Democratic meet and greets are indeed so utopian in scope and tone (or, in the GOP's case, demonic), that you know when one of these psychopaths gets elected (since it looks as Trump will be an asterisk and criminal defendant right after Inauguration Day 2021) they will run up against a lot of rude surprises that will put a check on their plans for world-rebuilding. Ask Trump about that- He was handed a Republican-led Congress and could only manage to build 1.7 miles of his wall that cost $1.57 billion.
     As proof of this, when asked which of the 10 candidates would seek to abolish private insurance, only two raised their hands- DeBlasio and my senior senator, Elizabeth Warren. Despite being the mayor of the biggest and most powerful city in America, DeBlasio has got zero chance of winning even a primary in his native state of New York. However, consider Warren's stature in the race- She's consistently polling in the mid teens, has national visibility and her horrible plan to abolish private insurance (which would bankrupt every hospital in the country) could come back to bite her later on. In fact, in the second half of the debate, Warren was essentially treated by the moderators like Jim Jordan treats a men's college locker room- Ignored.
     Booker and O'Rourke spoke the most and, in keeping with political tradition, wound up saying the least. Especially cringe-worthy was O'Rourke trying to speak Spanish to show his all-inclusivity bona fides but, let's face it, Julián Castro just did it better. In fact, Castro has been crowned the dark horse who'd actually won the debate, which ought to give him a few more weeks of temporary life support before they pull the plug on him (Especially if Warren succeeds in killing off private health care).

So What Happened?
Nothing changed and nothing ever changes during initial debates this early in the campaign season except we get to see the future also-rans for the first and often the only time on a national stage. And while last night featured a heavy hitter such as Elizabeth Warren, the virtually unspoken consensus is that the real debate that everyone's looking forward to is going to be between the cranky old Socialist and the faux Republican rabid weasel on speed doing their best to show us what Grumpy Old Men III would've looked like.
     The good thing about these debates is that, unlike the GOP debates in the last general election that featured an A card and B card among the 17 candidates, the Democratic candidates were chosen seemingly at random, with heavyweights and outsiders, men and women being seen both nights. Last evening featured three females: Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard. Tonight will feature three more: Marianne Williamson, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris. As with last night, there will be polar opposites and this will be most vividly delineated with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, the ultimate neoliberal.
     Between Biden, an infamous infighter who could teach even Klobuchar a few tricks with a shiv, and Sanders, the only true progressive tonight who has more than a shot at winning, there will be fireworks that were missing last night. Just don't be fooled by those polls that have Biden leading the pack at 31% and Sanders in the middle of the pack at 15%. Some polls have Sanders leading everyone, especially among Millennials.
     Meanwhile, Creepy Uncle Joe is busy shuttling to closed door fundraisers in which he assures the billionaires in attendance that if he's elected president, "nothing fundamentally will change." Which, of course, is the neoliberal cocksuckery of the Clinton and Obama years that got us in this economic mess to begin with.
     A wide range of topics will be discussed tonight as well as last night in order to address the biggest concerns of all Democratic voters. Among them: Healthcare, reproductive rights, the economy, immigration and other issues. Some like Sanders, will offer bold, sweeping proposals. Others, like Biden, Gillibrand and others, will offer more of the same old shit that turned off Democratic voters long ago.
     Andrew Yang will be given a minute or two to talk about his Universal Basic Income and will be promptly forgotten. People will laugh once at the idea of a President Hickenlooper and he will be forgotten. And when Marianne Williamson is announced, people all over the country will be madly doing Google searches on her trying to find her Wikipedia page.

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