Ten Observations On Democratic Candidates Debate 2A, Part I

The candidates in the second round of debates, Part A, were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Gov. John Hickenlooper,  former Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Tim Ryan, Gov. Steve Bullock, and New Age guru Marianne Williamson.

The transcript is here.

1. In some kind of record for the earliest controversy in a debate, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan raised metaphorical eyebrows by keeping his arms by his side during the singing of the National Anthem, while every other candidate put their hands over their heart. This could not have been accidental, especially with the Left’s “Let’s diss the Natonal Anthem because Colin Kaepernick says so, to the extent that we can make any sense out of what he says” fad, most recently embraced by Megan Rapinoe.  So Ryan was virtue-signaling, to those who think such cynical disrespect is virtuous.

Yet he did not have the guts afterwards to admit it. Asked about his gesture, Ryan told ABC News: “I love this country as much as everybody else. The national anthem plays at football games, I put my hand on my heart for the Pledge of Allegiance,” . “I don’t know, the choir was singing and it was great.”

Ethics verdict: He’s a weasel and a weenie. A weensel.

2. The debate began with what I would call the existential dilemma of the entire Democratic Party right now: Is the party’s duty to achieve sufficient power to serve the best interests of the public at large, or is it to openly pursue revolutionary leftist goals that risk losing the Presidential election and more by alienating the public to thrill the Democratic base. As much as I regard the policies of the progressive hard-left objectively irresponsible  and incompetent, and thus unethical, this is still an ethics conflict, with different ethical principles opposing each other.

The moderates (comparatively speaking) on the stage attacked the radicals for, in the words of Senator Klobuchar pushing policies that are not “grounded in reality.” Hickenlooper,  Delaney,  Ryan, and Bullock all echoed this theme, and the familiarity of those names tell you all you need to know about the likelihood that their approach will prevail…unless the party nominates Joe Biden, old, slow, incoherent, habitually sexually harassing and hypocritical as he is, only because he’s their best chance to win.

3. The most remarkable moment in the debate was Marianne Williamson lecture about on reparations.

“It’s $500 billion dollars — $200 to $500 billion dollars — payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is. We need some deep truth-telling when it comes. We don’t need another commission to look at evidence… It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal. All that a country is is a collection of people. People heal when there is some deep truth-telling. We need to recognize 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. That great injustice has had to deal with the fact that there were 250 years of slavery followed by another 100 years of domestic terrorism. What makes me qualified to say $200 to $500 billion dollars? I’ll tell you what makes me qualified. If you did the math of the 40 acres and a mule given that there were four to five million slaves at the end of the Civil War and they were all promised 40 acres and a mule for every family of four. If you did the math today it would be trillions of dollars. And I believe anything less than $100 billion dollars is an insult and I believe that $200 to $500 billion is politically feasible today because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface and an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.”


  • Being able to speak coherently, clearly, in  complete sentences really is a huge advantage in politics and leadership, even when what is being said is nonsense or intellectually dishonest.
  • Who believes that forcing non-African Americans who had nothing to do with either slavery nor Jim Crow to pay money to other Americans based on their skin color and ancestry would promote racial healing?  Does even Williamson believe that? I, for example, get angry just thinking about it. No, I do not accept responsibility for the problems of African American since 1865, or 1964. Half my family came here from Greece long after the 13th and 14th Amendments were passed. My other half paid personal reparations to an ex-slave from the family, who was cared for and supported by my paternal grandmother until her death. I peacefully and graciously gave up a career path I wanted and had worked for to accommodate affirmative action quotas that were justified at the time as part of our “reparations” policy.
  • Claiming that the U.S. has not already gone to great lengths and sacrifice to try to rectify the results of its historic mistreatment of blacks is spectacularly historically obtuse, so much so that even with the public’s general ignorance, I doubt that anyone is fooled. Let’s add up all of the race-based grants, all of the college and grad school admissions, and all of the welfare and inner city projects in the last half-century or so, and treat them as advance payments on that arbitrary “200-500 billion.” I wonder how much would be left?
  • Williamson really believes this race-based transfer of wealth is “politically feasible” today or ever? Is she an idiot, is she lying, or is she pandering? There are no other options.

Part 2 is here…


22 thoughts on “Ten Observations On Democratic Candidates Debate 2A, Part I

  1. “…welfare and inner city projects in the last half-century or so…”

    I have seen the estimates at between $18 tillion and $22 trillion. Basically, it is our entire national debt.

  2. Per Williamson’s campaign website, not a penny of the money would be sent to individuals:

    “For that reason, I propose a $200 billion – $500 billion plan of reparations for slavery, the money to be disbursed over a period of twenty years. An esteemed council of African-American leaders would determine the educational and economic projects to which the money would be given.”

    • Good Lord! When that money disappears into the ether with little to no affect on the aggrieved, we will get another round of remonstrances about how reparations are needed.

    • Two problems with this:
      1. Corruption. What are the chances that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will NOT be on that council.
      2. What happens when the money is gone and the goal remains unaccomplished? The cries for reparations will begin anew.

  3. 3. Amen. Hey Marianne, how much has been spent waging the War on Poverty since the 60s? Anyone? Beuhler? What’s your game now, can anybody play?

    • In fairness to Ryan the placing the hand over the heart was taught to me as a child when we pledged allegience to the flag and not during the anthem. Growing up in Baltimore I did see some people put their hand over their heart when the anthem played before ball games but that was the exception to the rule.

      When I see other national anthems played during Olympic medal ceremonies I do not recall seeing the athlete on the center with a hand over his or her heart.

      I think it is unwise to ascribe any negative motivation to anyone standing erect wirh their arms at their sides when the anthem play. To my knowledge their is no manual establishing particular decorum during tbe anthem as we do for the raising of the colors and the flag in general. It may simply be a difference in learned practice. One only needs to behave respectfully during its playing.

      This issue reminds me of the old adage that the people willing to break a loyalty oath are often the first people willing to swear allegience to one.

      • Bad optics, though. a) Everyone else acknowledged the anthem. b) He’s aware of the kneeling controversy c) He should have done SOMETHING. Look down. Look up and inspired. Something.

        I think he was deliberately trying to have it both ways.

      • I don’t know where or when that became a standard, but it wasn’t when I was young, wasn’t even as a scout. The hand over heart is for a pledge, and the national anthem is not a pledge or oath, but a question. Can you see that stirring flag and feel pride for all it stands for?

        I can see the conflation with the football jerkery but it was not a sign of disrespect. Often we had sheet music in choruses, no hand was free, and we weren’t scolded by old vets. This is bleedover anger for other issues.

        Of course, if he kneeled or showed a clearer disrespect, but just standing quietly is not disrespect. Considering the lack of respect for the Constitution and American culture in the others, the hand over their hearts means absolutely nothing. I can respect an honest conscientious objector, but not two-faced panderers.

        • The hand over heart is for a pledge, and the national anthem is not a pledge or oath…

          I think I got this habit from baseball games… the hat came off as a sign of respect, and it went over your heart. Those in the stands placed their hands over their hearts, too.

          Thank you for an interesting comment, marie. I was unaware (like a fish is unaware of water) that this was not always the case.

          Now that the culture (or parts of it, at least) accept it as honoring the flag (or whatever) is it unethical to NOT place your hand over your heart?

          Why would Ryan do this unless (when everyone else was, and it is expected) except to show disrespect? I mean, your comment spins that Ryan was not disrespectful; so why do you think he did it?

          • Different custom, or an iconoclastic thing to not do like the rest of the pack? I could even argue its a more conscious sign of respect than jumping over with the lemmings. How many on that stage have said supportive things for the NFL disrespect? My chorus director would hav yelled at me to compress my lungs for a performance. There’s probably another dozen benign reasons he might not want to explain. Has he always done it like that? As it’s not a law but one of a multitude of custom variants, it’s not a reason to choose any way. I know some of the others don’t respect the tradition ‘O’er the land of the free’ If he dies agree with the NFL protest, at least he is maintaining it even if it might cost. Being unpopular if not always wrong.

            source: https://www.lyricsondemand.com/n/nationalanthemlyrics/americanationalanthemlyrics.html

      • Interesting points, Chris and Marie.

        I am going to give Ryan a pass, too. Considering the unpatriotic ravings of some of the other candidates whose hands were over their hearts, to me this is an non-issue, optics and all.


  4. Don’t forget to cover the ‘Tulsi Gabbard’ is a Russain tool angle being pushed by NBC and others. Apparently, Gabbard hired Chris Cooper, one of the unregistered foreign agents who set up the Trump Tower meeting as an advisor. Then, the same Democratic group that created fake ‘Russian troll’ accounts to make it look like Putin was trying to discredit the Democratic candidate in Alabama, started making fake ‘Russian troll’ accounts supporting Gabbard.

    Trump has to be laughing his head off. The Russia probe has now listed numerous career Democratic campaign advisors (Cooper seems to work for MSHC Partners, a Democratic election consulting firm) as ‘Russian agents’, so Democrats who use them from now on can be smeared as ‘tools of Putin’.

  5. 2. I wonder if this really is a debate anymore, with the “moderates” (other than Creepy Joe) in the low single digits.

    But I guess it is, because Biden is actually leading. Still, as you have said many times, the Democrats cannot nominate an old white man without alienating their entire left wing. So what’s it going to be, the “squishy middle” or the communists? Because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of gray area…

    3. To me, this is authentic frontier gibberish. America is not going to okay half a trillion dollars in reparations from people, many of whom had nothing to do with U.S. chattel slavery to … what, all black people? Just those who can prove slave ancestry? Anyone? Bueller…? It isn’t just fantasy, it’s insanity, and always has been.

    The fact that she can put words into complete sentences and speak coherently is mainly a testament to her profession, which is the New Age equivalent of Jim and Tammy Fae Baker.

    To answer your question, I think it should be “and,” not “or.”

    • So, what happens if Biden wins the primaries and the progressives demand a female of color (as they are now)? Does the party force Biden to withdraw and give his delegates to Kamalah Harris? It sounds insane, but didn’t they just do that at the DCCC recently? How is that much different than 2016? I mean, they locked Sander’s representatives out of the meeting in Nevada so Hillary could get the win and everyone just shrugged. Would the progressives cheer for the Democratic Party following through on ‘justice’?

      • Honestly, that’s a great question, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what happened. Well, then again, nothing the Democrats do these days is terribly surprising, so…

  6. 1. This simple gesture is certain to lead to at least half the country NOT voting for Ryan

    2. Planning a big popcorn and recliner party to watch the clown car antics as Democrats decide how practical they can be and not become targets of those they have spawned with their insane rhetoric. The mob WILL turn and eat you, eventually.

    3. No surer way to light the fuze of Civil War than to take this tactic. That may be the reason it is being pushed by the left. We paid in blood, many times over, for a so called ‘sin’ that still exists in other nations. This is a cold bed for power, nothing else, or those who supposedly care would be fighting slavery where it still exists.

    Just another way to falsely accuse America while turning a blind eye to other nations.

  7. ‘3. The most remarkable moment in the debate was Marianne Williamson lecture about on reparations.’

    Aside from the fair point that they would HAVE to charge all recent immigrants as well and the bogus costs the money still would have to come from somewhere. I’m sure they want to believe gutting defense would be enough. That would be more possible when we don’t coordinate police actions, emergency efforts, and try to adapt tech faster than our opponents, I’m sure there’s waste, but that exists in every large bureaucracy, no matter the purpose.

    Let’s make it real: sure we can do reparations, but it comes out of social services: head start, college grants, SSI and medicare, police and fire support, food stamps, welfare, etc. dollar for dollar. Place congress only tiny honorariums and no perks. Taxes do not go down, in fact, beef up IRS because how many millions will lose jobs on a govt partial shut down for ?five years. The chaos and lack of social programs make immigration less attractive too. Go whole hog or not at all if you want to gut the Gov’t and economy… [/end sarcasm} These pandering weenies won’t feel it, they are already far richer than the average voter.

  8. As far as reparations go, approximately 300,000 men (overwhelmingly white) gave their lives for the Union to free the slaves. I believe their descendants have a claim on any reparations that might end up being paid. Those were mainly young men in their early 20s — what was their lost earning potential in 2019 dollars?

    There is only so much change that can be forced on a society at a time — attitudes die hard and sometimes you have to actually wait for a generation to die off before change is feasible. In 1865, we abolished slavery, but the United States was in no way amenable to full citizenship and equality at that time. It took a long time — and it’s still evolving — but we are infinitely closer now than 150 years ago.

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