Friday, June 28, 2019

No City For Old Men

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari) 
"At times, Mr. Sanders appeared more than eager to jump in but got lost in the din. During an exchange about climate change, for instance, he could be seen on stage raising his hand as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., spoke. But rather than turn to him, the moderators tossed it to John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado." - NY Times, 6/27/19
(35,000 ft, between Miami, FL and Wayland, MA)
When corporate news moderators give the floor to a nonentity like John Hickenlooper when Bernie Sanders plainly wished to speak, you know the fix is in. Just as your friendly neighborhood political pundit predicted four days ago, "Count on the media to continue acting as if we're living in an It's a Wonderful Life alternate America in which Bernie Sanders was never born." Seriously, all the debate needed was Beulah Bondi at the moderator table squinting suspiciously at Sanders and asking. "Who are you and what do you want? I only let people I know take part in Democratic presidential debates!"
     And the overarching tone throughout much of the nearly two hour-long debate consisted in the tried-and-true political tradition of taking down not the incumbent but the top rivals from their own party. And the man who was most often the subject of this latest round of Capture the Flag was Joe Biden, whom the MSM still insists is the front runner (One more time: He's not.).
     About an hour into the debate, Kamala Harris (D-SVU) attacked Biden on his pushing back against integrated busing way back in the early 70's, even going as far as to seek the help of a notorious Mississippi Dixiecrat, James Eastland, a man who made Jesse Helms look like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez smoking a blunt.
     And the reason why Harris and Sanders piled on Biden for, respectively, his record on racism and busing and voting to go to war with Iraq, is because, of all 20 candidates who went to Miami, he's the only one who could claim to be Obama's wing man for eight years, which South Carolina voters admitted last week they were swayed by. And, indeed, knowing damned good and well his lengthy Senate record wouldn't cut it, he clung to Obama (even though America's last legitimate president hasn't endorsed him and perhaps won't), he clung to his eight years at the Great Man's elbow like Trump clinging to Old Glory at CPAC.
     And, as expected, the only thing all 10 candidates could agree on was when the moderators asked them if their healthcare plans would include undocumented migrants. (See lead picture).
     And then they diverged. Oddly, or perhaps not, Biden's inner "rabid weasel on speed" was left backstage in a reinforced pet taxi. Even though Biden (shockingly enough), got most of the oxygen in the room, speaking for 13 minutes and 19 seconds, more than anyone else, he never went on the offensive against any of the other nine and even apologized for exceeding his 60 seconds. In fact, if anything, Biden was back on his heels when he was challenged by Harris and Sanders.

So, Who Won THIS Debate?
Well, several outlets were proclaiming that Harris seemed, for the moment, to be the one to take on Donald Trump next fall (considering he's not running a campaign out of the exercise yard at Attica), which isn't surprising considering she got the second most airtime, speaking for 12:16. But it's going to take a lot more than to take a swipe at Biden who, admittedly, is low-hanging fruit for his cringe-worthy civil rights record and for Harris, who's borderline black, to pull the race card.
     The national conventions for the monolithic parties won't be for over a year and in political time, that's an eternity. And, with Harris' own spotty record as California's Attorney General, it's very easy to see her having a Linda Fairstein moment that some oppo research company will exhume. So, it's all but obvious the two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination will not be Castro and Harris.
     As I've said in years past, debates are not places to hear about in-detail policy proposals and one is lucky to get the even the broad strokes (especially with NBC's rule limiting candidates to 60 seconds per answer). But there wasn't even the appearance of anything of actual substance aside from Bernie's boilerplate which is good for a stump speech but not on a debate stage where he had to reestablish himself once more in a debate field of 10. Bernie needs new material, period, or he's going to blow this campaign without any help from the crooks in the DNC or the MSM.
     So the Democrats need to articulate their messages and policy proposals beyond, "Donald Trump would never go for this."
     Essentially, the only two people who've run for president, Biden and Sanders, were for the most part muzzled, Sanders by the corrupt MSM and Biden muzzled himself. The mud-balling and dead-catting will come later... after all, that's what caucus and primary season is for, when people of one party fight for votes almost literally house to house and room to room.
     And the restraint and civility shown by the 20 Democratic contenders will not last forever. But they'll need to remember that Trump's campaign still got 62,000,000 votes in 2016 and most of those idiots are dead-enders who will literally climb into a bunker with him. They will need to articulate policy positions that the average voter can understand, policies that can prove to be efficacious (It's notable that Ocasio-Cortez's Green New deal, which is wildly popular among the people, hardly got even a passing mention during the two debates).
     And, while good policies that can be successfully articulated are all good and well, perhaps the last word on the subject was said by Marianne Williamson, the least-known one on the stage, who spoke up after being shunted and put in a corner for 27 minutes. The crystal-gazing cat lady said, "I’ll tell you one thing: it’s really nice that we’ve got all these plans, but if you think we’re gonna beat Donald Trump by just having all these plans, you’ve got another think coming. Because he didn’t win by having a plan, he won by simply saying, ‘Make America Great Again'. What Donald Trump has done to these children ... is kidnapping, and it is important for us to realize that. If you forcibly take a child from their parents’ arms, you are kidnapping them. And if you take a lot of children and you put them in a containment center, thus inflicting chronic trauma upon them, that’s called child abuse. This is collective child abuse. And when this is crime, both of those things are a crime, and if your government does it, that doesn’t make it less of a crime. This is state-sponsored crime.”
     No one else had the guts to go there.


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