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…