Ten Observations On The Latest Democratic Candidate Debate

If you have no life, you can watch the whole debate here. This is the transcript.]

1. I find the debates, all of them, profoundly depressing, much as I found the Republican debates in 2015.  These are not impressive people. A great nation needs great leaders, and it is increasingly clear that whatever great leaders the U.S. may have are not in politics. Is this group clearly less inspiring than Jeb Bush, Huckabee, Chris Cristie, Rubio, Carson (ugh), Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Cruz, and Trump? No. The Republicans had no Demagogue Extraordinaire at Elizabeth Warren’s level, or a babbling, doddering candidate on the uncomfortable cusp of senility like Joe Biden. The Democrats don’t have a bomb-thrower like Trump, either, unless you count Bernie, but Yang and Steyer cover the “outsiders who have no business running for President” niche covered.

The ethics takeaway? The political parties are incompetent at doing their job, which is training, recruiting and vetting competent leadership for our Republic.

2. Given what the recent James O’Keefe hit on CNN revealed, I question whether such a biased network should be allowed to host officially sanctioned debates.  Debate moderator Anderson Cooper, who only evades being designated as a hack because there are so many worse hacks working with him (Cuomo, Lemon), framed a question to Joe Biden this way:

“The impeachment inquiry is centered on President Trump’s attempts to get political dirt from Ukraine on Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. Mr. Vice President, President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine. I want to point out there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you.”

Hackery.

  • “Political dirt” is not reporting; it is a partisan characterization and misleading. “Dirt” means facts that the American public has a right to know, and in this case, evidence of high-level corruption and influence peddling by the Obama administration, which is absolutely a legitimate area for the White House to seek foreign assistance in exposing.
  • Of course Hunter Biden did “something wrong.” He did something wrong by accepting benefits from an entity seeking special considerations from the U.S. government when his father was a primary figure and power-broker in the administration in power. His position created a conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety for Hunter’s father.
  • Joe Biden then told Cooperthat he never “discussed a single thing with my son about anything having to do with Ukraine. No one has indicated I have.” Hunter has indicated that he did. Did Cooper challenge Biden on this seeming contradiction? No. Did any of the other candidates? No.

3.  How can someone not be bothered by Biden’s rambling, mostly incoherent answers? (And yes, I was constantly bothered by Trump’s rambling answers last time around.)

4. Speaking of incoherent, read the transcript (or watch the video) regarding troop withdrawals in the Middle East. Nobody knows what to do, they just know that whatever President Trump does must be wrong. We should never have gone in, but we shouldn’t get out, or rather, should get out the “right way,” meaning “however it is that this President doesn’t do it.”

5. Which of these candidates had a statement about impeachment that had any substance other than Big Lie mongering and “Trump BAD!”?

  • Elizabeth Warren: “Sometimes there are issues that are bigger than politics.… Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences…I realized that Mueller had shown, too, a fare-thee-well, that this president had obstructed justice and done it repeatedly. And so at that moment, I called for opening an impeachment inquiry.”

Gee, what “laws,” professor? That’s all you’ve got, the weaker than weak obstruction of justice claim?

  • Bernie Sanders: “Trump is the most corrupt president in history….” ( Because you say so, I guess. Proof? Real examples? Evidence?) then cites the Emoluments Clause, which has no established application to a President who owns hotels. I have come to believe that falling back to Emoluments as an excuse for impeachment is signature significance. The buewty part, for impeachment-conspirators, is the the average citizen has no idea what the heck the “Emoluments Clause” is and is too lazy to find out.
  • Joe Biden’s answer is legally ignorant and, of course, incoherent, talking about Mueller Report “accusations” (There were no accusations).
  • Beto’s answer is so factually wrong that it’s just annoying to read. He is such an idiot.
  • Kamala Harris: “….I know a confession when I see it. And he did it in plain sight. He has given us the evidence. And he tried to cover it up, putting it in that special server. And there’s been a clear consciousness of guilt. This will not take very long. Donald Trump needs to be held accountable. He is, indeed, the most corrupt and unpatriotic president we have ever had.”

That “special server” canard has been completely and decisively disproven. Never mind: Harris lies about it, and the moderators don’t set the record straight. There is no evidence of a quid pro quo, or anything but a Presient asking a foreign government to look into potential corruption, which is completely legal.

Amy Klobuchar: “I’m still waiting to find out from [Trump] how making that call to Ukraine … makes America great again. I’m waiting to hear how leaving the Kurds for slaughter … makes America great again.”

Policy differences are not grounds for impeachment. This is a basic fact that the Democrats now choose to defy.

  • Tom Steyer: “Every candidate here is more decent and patriotic than the criminal in the White House.”

He has been advocating impeachment long before the Ukraine flap. Now he falls back on name-calling, which is apparently enough to make die-hard Trump haters happy, and what CNN regards as substance.

6. Tulsi Gabbard gets ethics points for noting, “If impeachment is driven by these hyperpartisan interests, it will only further divide an already terribly divided country. Unfortunately, this is what we’re already seen play out as calls for impeachment really began shortly after Trump won his election. And as unhappy as that may make us as Democrats, he won that election in 2016….”

Of course, impeachment is and has always been driven by hyper-partisan interests.

8. Incredibly, Beto continued to claim he’d support mandatory gun confiscation. Then Juan Castro used this unconstitutional garbage as an opening to bash the police, saying “I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities, because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that.”

How about the Constitution, Juan? Why not remind Beto of that? Cooper? Co-moderator Erin Burnett? Somebody?

The entire gun control portion of the debate was substance-free pandering.

9. The pandering prize, however, goes to the rush to give money to everyone. Andrew Yang wants to give a thousand dollars a month to everyone, whether they work or not. Elizabeth Warren rsays her plan to expand Social Security is similar to his $1,000 a month hand-out. Tulsi Gabbard said,  “I agree with my friend Andrew Yang. I think universal basic income is a good idea.”

You know, just like in the Green New Deal, which guarantees income to those who choose not to work.

Cory Booker endorses raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which he says would give workers more money than giving everyone $1,000 a month….at least, those who don’t have their hour cut back or whose employers go belly up because of the increased costs of doing business. Nobody mentions this, however.

10.  Several commentators noticed that Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett gave Elizabeth Warren about 23 minutes to talk.  Tulsi Gabbard and Julián Castro each got about 8 minutes.

Not that hearing more of Warren is necessarily going to make her more popular. Maybe its just me, but she talks through her nose, and has one of the most annoying voices in the history of politics. Do you think that doesn’t matter? It matters. It’s also fixable.

 

42 thoughts on “Ten Observations On The Latest Democratic Candidate Debate

  1. “The ethics takeaway? The political parties are incompetent at doing their job, which is training, recruiting and vetting competent leadership for our Republic.”

    Is there anyone in either party that would be a competent leader? The more I read of “Ethics Alarms”, the more I come to believe that there is not.

      • The ethics takeaway? The political parties are incompetent at doing their job, which is training, recruiting and vetting competent leadership for our Republic.

        Having spent some years (::: gulp! :::) here now under the influence of ethics concerns, I have come to the conclusion, or am beginning to come to it, that to really consider the ethical questions one has to take into consideration a whole array of different ideas and perspectives.

        So, here you say that ‘the political parties are incompetent’ but this needs to be further researched & explained. One has to take stabs at trying even to arrive at a correct, encompassing statement that would properly define what a political party should do and why, by extension, they cannot do it.

        So, one has to back up from making a statement and assemble information, perspectives, ideas, alternatives. I was thinking on this as I listened to this person’s discourse in this 7 minute video. I present it here because — honestly — it seems to me that it is in this area, the areas he is talking about, that our attention needs to be directed.

        What I find interesting, and concerning, is that in order to be able to think in these terms one quite literally has to enter into the realm of thoughtcrime, and there are consequences established for those who do this.

        It is really all so strange and yet very very interesting at the same time!

        [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UKI4TI8jis&t=318s ]

      • A great nation needs great leaders, and it is increasingly clear that whatever great leaders the U.S. may have are not in politics.

        It just occurred to me that at this point in American history there cannot be a ‘great leader’. For there to be a great leader there has to be a nation of people who calls a great leader forth. Perhaps for some great project or to face a great emergency.

        I am still trying to get a grip — and to be able to explain — just what exactly is going on in America, but this is not easy. The most accurate and encompassing meta-view I have been able to arrive at is the one of dispossession. A concerted effort to dispossess Americans of their country, of the land their fore-fathers carved out of the chaos. But this involves a specific identity and everything connected with the (unpopular) idea that these lands, and the country in essence, was built by and intended for those who made it and for ‘ourselves and our Posterity’. Again: unthinkable crimethink.

        But it is the one view or understanding that ties everything together. It is meta-political and meta-social.

        The US is now a divided nation, a nation heading toward political conflict and also political separation. The two poles that appear to be real poles will not ever come to ‘agreement’. Basically, it seems it will be either a governing régime that supports the further dispossession of ‘original America’ of its possession (this seems to be the Democrat position if it is seen without obscuring filters) . . . or there will occur, as a result of the intense ideological pressure of these ‘Democrats’, some sort of breach or open division. Now, what happens at that point and as a result cannot be seen clearly.

        This régime as I call it is not exclusively the ideal of only the democrats. It is a whole network of ideology and policy that has been incorporated into the American system. That is why it is my understanding that those who oppose it (the new regime) will not be able to succeed for long. There is a new system emerging that has every interest in defeating those who ‘love America’ as it was intended, who value free thought and free speech, and who value the preservation of their traditions as well as everything intended ‘to ourselves and our Posterity’ (in the obvious Constitutional sense).

        As long as there are people, even if they are a smallish percentage, who will not conform to the developing Régime and who network among themselves to hold to the ‘original intentions’ of the Constitution and to their own integrity, they will be battled against by the developing demographic whose interest certainly is to defeat them and to outlaw and restrict the ideas they hold to.

        So, a ‘great leader’ for them is one who will carry forward these policies which are now taking shape: Maoist education centers; controls on thought and speech; banishing, banning, ruining and pauperizing opponents, and a whole group of other policies which need not be named.

        What would a ‘great leader’ do, and represent, for you and for many who contribute to your blog? I am completely uncertain and have not been able to piece together a vision of what is intended. It would seem to be a person who re-establishes the status quo ante though. It is with that view — a wish really, a sort of nostalgic yearning — that I associate most everyone who contributes here. I am not putting down that desire, that longing. But it does occur to me that it is unrealistic.

        “Theres no going back. You’ve changed things. Forever.”

        What would be a ‘great leader’ for original America? The America who seems to be clamoring for attention in America’s heartland? and those who seem to respond to Trump? and who (they say) are his supporters and his base? and those who seem to realize that they have been dispossessed? I read today in the comment section of the Times a person who said “even if we manage to get rid of Trump we will still have to deal with half the Nation that voted for him”.

        What is going to happen next? There needs to be a Seer who can see through the miasma of the present and there into the misty future . . .

      • Harris’ most annoying feature is the nervous cackle when she gets too far away from the safety of her prepared talking points and has to wing it. Since she’s not smart enough to be doing this stuff, it happens an awful lot. I’d love to play poker with her, because she’s got such an obvious “tell” when she’s in over her head.

  2. I watched it in real time. What a hoot! It was refreshing to see a lot of the “moderate” candidates gang up on Elizabeth. All she could to was just rinse and repeat that the costs would go down. I speculate she knows her plan is rubbish. I like how Joe Biden was about to eliminate the capital gains tax, and then quickly rose it to 39%. He also said “expedentially”, when he wanted to say “exponentially”. He had a hard time speaking. Kamala trying to get Elizabeth to ban President Trump’s twitter was an awkward moment. When Tulsi wanted to Elizabeth over foreign policy, they expectantly went to commercial break. The Freedom from Religion commercials were weird. I did notice Cooper’s wording of the Hunter question was a bit “what the huh?”, to quote Joe Biden. Basically, I can’t “wait” til the next debate.

  3. 5) Most Democrat arguments, once you hold their feet to the fire end up distilling down to:

    a) He won the election and Hillary didn’t.

    b) He has no character (which many Presidents lacked character…only this one had an entire media apparatus geared to exposing and hounding on his lack of character incessantly…which is no justification for having no character…but, everyone knows it’s a crap method because the next character-less Democrat president will be given full concealment…oh and even worse, the next DNC president will be given every pass for crappy policies like droning Americans and children and making weak threats to nations massacring their own people)

    c) Cheeto Hitler Bad

  4. The more I watch Warren (easy to do here in New England, where the Boston Globe is Fan Club Central), the more convinced I am that Warren is cut from the exact same bolt of cloth as Hillary: arrogant, hectoring evasive, dishonest and willing to say and do anything to advance her own quest for power.

    The primary difference is that Clinton did so in the guise of a Savvy and Experienced government policy wonk, while Warren does so in the guise of a populist.

  5. 4) Kurdish – Turkey fiasco was one we should have seen coming a mile away. With sizeable contingencies in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds are a perennially unanswered question. Each of those nations want the Kurds as a buffer against the other nations in the equation but not an independent Kurdistan. The Kurds have long been helpful, and very loyally so, for our interests in Iraq and now most recently Syria.

    Turkey is a useful, if begrudging, ally in our containment of a Russia clumsily trying to make itself important again.

    So we have allies who are allies in two separate fights who hate each other on their own border.

    We’ve seen this for 2 decades now. And we’ve done little to prepare for this inevitable collision.

    I don’t think Trump has handled this well. While there may be an argument to leave the Kurds to handle their own affairs in Syria (eventually), as we still acknowledge Syria is a country and haven’t openly declared Syria to be worthy of partitioning, we have to treat the Kurds in Syria as “Syrian”. But if we so deem the leaving of Syria and the Kurds there as necessary, it should NOT have been done with such abruptness.

    I don’t think we needed to leave, not even remotely…our footprint was small there, very small. And our presence there guaranteed no aggression towards our Kurdish allies from the Turks.

    But therein lies the problem made manifest in our system that has gotten lazy over the generations. The Senate has ceded too much of it’s foreign policy (especially as is touches war) power to the President. These lazily vague “authorizations of force” or whatever we call them, grant the President too much leeway in deciding what foreign adventures are in our interests and which ones aren’t and which ones we are currently in that no longer deserve our attention. That grants a single man the ability to do an overnight switch in strategic direction that was years in the making and can take years to undo.

    These kinds of grand national strategy should be addressed more aggressively by the Senate in the form of actually well defined laws that compel not just the current President, but follow on Presidents, to pursue or break off these adventures.

    But our Senate doesn’t do that. It’s become lazy.

    • This abdication by the Senate might be a blessing is disguise.

      When we made Senators elected by popular vote, we broke this check-and-balance. Today they are simply the most popular candidates within their home state, and have none of the qualifications (especially in foreign relations) that were required before the 17th Amendment was passed.

      Legislatures used to vet these buffoons. Today it is simply a clown car shouting slogans on the way to Washington DC

  6. Regarding 9.Cory Booker:

    Connecticut raised its minimum wage 80 cents to $11 on October 1. Two of my friends were laid off from two different companies that week, and both companies closed. I am sure it was a coincidence. Every year, the minimum wage is going to raise 80 cents until $15, and then will be tied to the inflation index.

    Earlier this year, the McDonald’s in my town spent roughly $400K to renovate and install two self-service ordering stations. Strangely, a company that employs 30 employees 30 hours a week will see annual costs rise by $400K (every year for the next 4 years). I am sure the renovation and permanent elimination of two register jobs is just a coincidence.

    Last year, the Stop and Shop in my town went through a minor renovation. They tripled the number of self pay stations. I am sure it just a coincidence that one clerk now oversees six registers. (They also installed a robot that wonders the aisles, but that seems to be increasing the number of janitors they employee….)

    Last year, the Walmart three towns over went through a minor renovation. They doubled the number of self pay stations. I am sure it is just a coincidence that two clerks are now overseeing twelve registers.

    • Who benefits from the creation of a permanent unemployed class that is reliant on benefactors to bankroll them?

      It’s interesting, looking at the Roman Republic. A similar system of underemployment led to the non-working to tie themselves to wealthy patrons and engage in favors, which increasingly became political as long as the patrons kept them fed. This was about the time things fell apart into massive civil war between members of the wealthy elite as they made their final bids to control Rome instead of let it run as a functioning Republic BEFORE all the social ills created by lack of free market set it.

    • That McDonald’s kiosk is just the beginning. In a few years, all of the cooking and order prep will be done by machines, with maybe 2-3 employees per store to clean the dining area and keep the robots stocked with ingredients. Fast food is rapidly reaching its end as the go-to minimum wage industry for unskilled and young workers.

    • While I agree with your argument in principle, you added a zero.

      “Strangely, a company that employs 30 employees 30 hours a week will see annual costs rise by $400K (every year for the next 4 years).”

      30 people x 30 hours * 52 weeks = 46,800 hours worked
      46,800 hours worked * 0.80 per hour = $37,440

      I think the better math is this:

      24 hours a day * 365 days a year * 11 dollars an hour = $96,360

      McDonalds operates 24 hours a day, and those kiosks basically replace a cashier throughout the whole day. That number doesn’t count benefit or onboarding costs, so you could probably add another 10-20%, give or take.

      Regardless, a four year ROI on technology is probably some of the quickest capital turnaround there is. And this is only going to be a larger problem as things continue. People are pricing themselves out of the workplace because they can’t compete with the long term ROI on robots. But if you think that robots taking cashier jobs is a system shock, you just wait until fleets of self-driving semis start making the rounds.

      • …fleets of self-driving semis start making the rounds.

        This is the very grail being sought by the companies trying to figure out 5G cellular technology. Line the interstates leaving the port cities with cell towers, and you can have remote drivers running trucks at high speed on good roads 24 hours a day. No more trucks sitting idle while the drivers take care of their needs. Simply hand the controls over to another driver and the truck never stops. Automatic refuel stations already exist, and trucks can carry larger fuel tanks. Local deliveries could be handed over to local remote drivers, like port pilots for ships. Not a new technological concept, either: this is how remotely piloted drones are done today, flown from across the world.

        This would cut down on the number of truckers, to be sure. It would also slow the need for AI driven trucks. Trucks will become the trains of the future, feeding the just in time needs of every town like they do now… cheaper.

  7. “Political dirt” is not reporting; it is a partisan characterization and misleading. “Dirt” means facts that the American public has a right to know, and in this case, evidence of high-level corruption and influence peddling by the Obama administration, which is absolutely a legitimate area for the White House to seek foreign assistance in exposing.

    And yet, a majority of Americans want President Trump impeached and removed because of this.

    I wonder why.

    “Sometimes there are issues that are bigger than politics.… Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences…I realized that Mueller had shown, too, a fare-thee-well, that this president had obstructed justice and done it repeatedly. And so at that moment, I called for opening an impeachment inquiry.”

    She has a point.

    If we do not stop Trump, he might move on to something worse, like committing perjury to defeat a sexual harassment lawsuit.

      • Even if some polls indicate a “majority” want this, My guess is that that’s just a reflection of most of the media acting as an arm of the DNC and producing fact-free, non-stop anti-Trump propaganda, rather than any informed public opinion.

          • If CNN were remotely honest, Anderson Cooper would have asked:

            “As the whistleblower letter acknowledges, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine stated publicly several times beginning in March 2019 that he possessed evidence that Ukrainian officials had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in collaboration with the DNC and the US Embassy in Kyiv. He also stated that he had evidence that Vice President Biden had pressured the President of the Ukraine to quash a criminal probe into a company that Vice President Biden’s son was a director of. Ukraine is an ally of the United States. What should President Trump have done when he learned about these statements?”

            Do you suppose that anybody will ever ask any Democrat a question like that in front of a television camera?

  8. 5. Steyer is a real snake, in the mold of Michael Bloomberg and George Soros (but seemingly less well-known). He’s a megalomaniac, control-freak billionaire that shovels millions into astroturf organizations, and buying state elections and referendums, often as part of his anti-firearms pogrom.

    Thankfully, he probably has less chance than Beta of being nominated, as he may be easily the least likable of this bunch, and can’t even play “goofy old nutjob” to gain fans..

      • Or from the first “Terminator”: It doesn’t feel pity, remorse or pain and it absolutely will not stop ever until you are dead.”

        It’s so discouraging.

  9. I’m not so bothered by how CNN hosted these events.

    Remember, the primaries aren’t the general. The parties can’t be expected to point out their own flaws in real time, that’s their opponent’s jobs. This isn’t an interview for president, it’s an interview to represent a party. The process is designed to find the most electable or representative candidate from the field of candidates, not to push people to the other party. Why would any self interested party subject themselves to a media that they see as even neutral to them, let alone an overtly hostile one?

    So with CNN actively carrying water for the DNC, I think it’s fitting.

    • “The process is designed to find the most electable or representative candidate from the field of candidates, not to push people to the other party.”

      Somebody forgot to explain that last part to Beto, I guess.

  10. Why are all the “investigations” into Trump’s affairs deemed to be a quest for truth an transparency while any request to investigate the activities occurring in Ukraine are attempts to dig up dirt. Seems to me that if all things are above board there is no dirt to be found so why all the fuss?

    Why would the Dems think anyone would fabricate dirt on the Bidens or anyone else for that matter. If Ukranian leaders are so corrupt that they would make up dirt on a U.S. citizen it stands to reason we would want to know that the information they provide us in other areas has integrity. Isn’t that what you want to know?

    So , to my democrat friends, if the investigations you have been doing since 2016 are attempts to find truth wherever the facts lead why are investigations conducted by the President’s team any different?

    • My point as well, Chris. But of course the answer is … drum roll please … it’s simply a double standard. Nothing to see here folks. Move on.

    • …to my democrat friends…

      You do not have any Democrat friends, and if those you think are your friends are those pushing the double standard, you need to reconsider who you associate with.

  11. The appropriate response to anyone bringing up the “secret server” should be: “Was this a server he hid in his private residences basement, or a government server in a government building?”

    While we’re at it, we should also ask “So did they bleach-bit” the sever.

  12. “Maybe its just me, but she talks through her nose, and has one of the most annoying voices in the history of politics. Do you think that doesn’t matter? It matters. It’s also fixable.”

    I think the window on “fixable” might have closed. If Warren took voice lessons and learned to speak with a more pleasing voice, wouldn’t it feed the perception that she’s phony? She’s already got an authenticity problem, and if her voice suddenly became non-annoying, it would be quite noticeable. Had she done it before getting all the press coverage of the primary race, it might have gone unremarked, but I think it’s too late now, especially as she takes the front-runner spot (and its attendant scrutiny from the other candidates) away from Biden.

    Can you imagine the hay Trump would make with that? Sample tweet:

    “Liz Warren, the Fake Indian, is such a phony she doesn’t even talk with her Normal voice anymore! So sad!”

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