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.”
- “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.