Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Crystal and Cat Lady Takes on Tammany Hall 2.0

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari) 
Detroit, MI ---
I jokingly refer to ultimate long shot presidential candidate Marianne Williamson as the Crystal and Cat Lady. But the fact remains that in the two times she's been shunted to the outermost fringes of the debate stages in Miami and Detroit last night, the lady's made some pragmatic, good points, venturing to go where no Blue Dog has gone before. That is, when she's allowed to speak and the moderators remember she's there. Last night, Williamson had the least speaking time save for John Hickenlooper. In fact, Google Trends' Twitter feed came up with this surprising statistic:

     Yes, you read that right. Marianne Williamson's name got more searches than heavyweights Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Now granted, Sanders and Warren are known quantities as well as front runners whereas Williamson needs to be looked up. But the takeaway here is that Williamson, in the very few minutes she was allowed to speak, excited enough curiosity for people to want to learn more about her and her policy positions. In fact, Williamson's name was the most searched in all states except for Montana, where Montanans had to Google their own Governor, Steve Bullock.
     Williamson scored some valuable points in her minuscule speaking time in two ways. When asked about the Flint water crisis, Williamson said in part, "Flint is just the tip of the iceberg," then cited her time living with her daughter in Grosse Point, a wealthy white-majority suburb, and said it never would have happened there. Then she expanded in her minute-long answer by saying, "If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I'm afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days... If the Democrats don't start saying it, why would those people vote for us? And Donald Trump will win."
     In her very little speaking time, Williamson delivered no less than three applause lines just during her answer to the ongoing Flint water crisis. And, yes, she spoke over the applause rather than basking in it like Trump would've.
     Elsewhere, she was asked by Don Lemon about her noted plans to make $200 to $500 billion in reparations to African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved. "It is time to simply realize that this country will not heal. People heal when there is deep-truth telling. We need to recognize that when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with."
     She then went on to say that she crunched the numbers on the old 40 acres and a mule promise  (that was never kept) the federal government made to former slaves as reparations for their unpaid labor. She said that, making a modern day currency conversion, with 4-5 million newly-freed slaves, the reparations would "be in the trillions" and that "anything less than $100 billion would be an insult." And, unlike the others on the stage, Williamson is against the formation of a commission on reparations.
     Williamson hasn't got a prayer of winning, obviously (although it's extremely entertaining to speculate what a Williamson administration would be like). But one thing she does know how to do is hold the establishment Democrats' feet to the fire. Such as when she said them vowing to keep big money out of politics when they themselves are accepting vast sums of money from the same corporations they're piously decrying was just so much "yada yada" the American public wouldn't buy. And she's right. We hear the same fucking lip service every four years. Nothing changes. Yada yada. She's the conscience of these debates and she is no Cassandra.

"I Wrote the Damn Bill!"

Meanwhile, as the gargantuan Tim Ryan was mistaken for Bill De Blasio by professional bleacher bum Bill O'Reilly and making Marianne Williamson look like Zelda Rubenstein by conspicuous relief, Bernie Sanders was asked a question about whether or not Medicare for All would be as good as the health care now offered to 600,000 Michigans. As he began to talk about how it would include dental and eyewear, Tim Ryan made the mistake of interrupting with, "You don't know that, Bernie." The screengrab above shows the moment after Sanders said, "I do know! I wrote the damn bill!"
     Imagine Jess Willard going down all seven times in the first round against Dempsey 100 years ago this July 4th and you'll get an idea of the effect that had on the stupendously ignorant Ryan. The look on Ryan's face can only be matched by that on Dan Quayle's face during the 1988 Vice Presidential debate when Senator Lloyd Bentsen told Quayle, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
     Other notable moments came when an equally energetic Elizabeth Warren essentially went all Jason Vorhees on former Congressman John Delaney. As Sanders did with Ryan, Warren essentially ended Delaney's centrist presidential aspirations when he said hers and Sanders' policy positions were too far to the left. Warren removed her machete and said this:
     “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for. I don't get it.” And as Delaney's bald head rolled around onstage for a few seconds before coming to rest at the still-bleeding Tim Ryan's feet, the peasants rejoiced. Warren's statement, by the way, could have been leveled against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and can be repurposed yet again against Joe Biden tonight.
     As I'd predicted after the first debates in Miami, civility among the candidates wouldn't last and the mud balls, dead cats and gimlets would eventually come out. Mayor Pete Buttigieg scored some points by rightly pointing out that the querulous Republicans would call them crazy Socialists if they adopted far left positions and if they adopted far right positions, they'd still say the same thing, Therefore, he concluded, “It’s time to stop worrying what the Republicans will say... Let's just stand up for the right policy and go out there and defend it."
     In a horse race, in the earliest going the horses are bunched together and are difficult to distinguish. Then as the race proceeds, the horses spread out, distinguishing themselves and the fastest pull ahead while the slower ones drop back. Politics is no different and, if nothing else, last night's debate proved that the centrists and far left candidates such as Warren, Sanders and Williamson, are vehemently attacking each other's positions. And tonight will be no exception, even though it will virtually consist of nothing but centrists.
     But, like a fighter who throws far fewer punches than the opponent but does so with the pinpoint accuracy of a Joe Louis, Marianne Williamson won last night's debate despite the moderators pointedly ignoring her almost all night last night.


At July 31, 2019 at 10:09 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Since facts no longer matter, it's disheartening that Warren still doesn't have an effective come back for... Pocahontas! And Trump will bury her on that alone!

I'll just have to fantasize hearing Williamson talk circles around beluga Trump as he staggers, stutters and gasps for air "from sea to SHINY sea!"


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