The large field of Democrat presidential candidates may be in danger of being overexposed – especially the frontrunners who seem to hog virtually all the media attention.
With 12 candidates on the dais – more than in any previous presidential debate – there was precious little time for any of the candidates to get out more than a platitude. They mostly stuck with their “elevator speeches” – a reference to getting out one’s key points before the elevator reaches the main floor. Soooo … they stuck to their well-rehearsed and well-established talking points.
The maybe-she-is- and-maybe-she ain’t the frontrunner, Senator Elizabeth Warren, followed her usual I-have-a-plan-for-everything without revealing any of them. Her grandest plan is to provide mandatory healthcare for everyone – 100 percent coverage. When challenged, she did not seem to have a plan for raising the $30 trillion it would cost – other than tax the rich, and that would not even put a dent in the cost.
Having already proposed spending the entire wealth of the American people on healthcare coverage – and taking away the private healthcare from 140 million Americans – Warren repeated her promised to provide free college, pay off all student loans, create millions of new jobs in infrastructure and green projects and other unfundable gimmies for we the people.
CNN must like Warren very much, because they gave her more time than those flanking her on the edge of the stage – combined. In fact, she was allowed to run over her time more than any other candidate.
Former Vice President Joe Biden repeated his “I have experience” mantra – emphasizing that he has done things that others just talk about. Others on the stage had the temerity to point out that a number of things Biden “accomplished” are not very popular with the Democratic Party base these days.
The only new issue was the fortune his son, Hunter, amassed from questionable enterprises in corrupt nations doing unexplained work for which he is not qualified. “I did nothing wrong and my son did nothing wrong,” Biden repeated … and repeated … and repeated.
Biden also tends to stammer a lot – which may be due to age. If not, it still looks that way.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gained a wee bit in the debate by not grasping his chest and running out of breath. Other than that, his platform of class warfare and universal unionism had all the intensity and novelty of a pre-recorded message. His socialist rhetoric is older than him – having had its previous rise in American politics during the Great Depression. It does not resonate as well during soaring stock markets and record low unemployment.
California Senator Kamala Harris relied on her “things I learned from (whoever) in my past.” She invokes her mother, grandmother, teachers, family friends – and might even dredge up the family dog if she thought it would work – to explain who she is today. Her boldest suggestion was to get President Trump kicked off Twitter. She unsuccessfully tried to get Warren to buy into that idea, but apparently Warren did not have a plan for that.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker reprised his “why can’t we all just get along” role. Rather than plans, proposals or even a whiff of an idea, Booker engaged a series of maudlin lamentations. Men should support abortion. We should consider the children. We have to stop gun violence. We should not fight among ourselves (meaning Democrats, of course). This is a guy who showed up to curse every perceived darkness but failed to bring a single candle to the discussion.
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke could not get out of El Paso. Seems like every subject segued to the tragic shooting in his hometown. He might have made a bigger impression during the debate had he gone back to his f-bombing strategy that did catch a bit of media attention for his floundering campaign.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg took up the Biden position of moderation (even better than Biden) – at least when compared to the radical policies of Warren and Sanders. He seemed to be trying to pick up the moderate torch should Biden drop it – which he seems more and more likely to do. But Buttigieg has a problem in the person of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
For the first time in prime time, Klobuchar rose from the field to lay claim to the more centrist approach. While Buttigieg talked the talk, Klobuchar presented a much more credible resume of good old Midwestern values. She emerged as the number one defender of the folks in fly-over America. Her problem – as well as that of Biden and Buttigieg – is that there are not enough moderate Democrats left in the base. Give all of Biden’s and Buttigieg’s votes to Klobuchar and she still falls short of the combined radical votes currently shared by Warren and Sanders.
Hawaii Congressman Tulsi Gabbard continues to amaze. It is amazing that she still makes it to the stage (even at the very far end) – and amazing that she does not do better in the polls. She may be among the youngest candidates, but she has an appealing direct delivery – almost a common sense. Oh! That’s the problem. The radicals pushing the Democratic Party further and further to the left have no appreciation for common sense.
Millionaire businessman Andrew Yang continues to try to convince the American voter that he sees a brave new world that none of the others understand. He is probably right – but to get into the presidential sweepstakes in a more serious manner, Yang is going to have to give the voters more than $1000 per month. He comes across as a Johnny One-Note – which is one more note than a few of his competitors have.
Speaking of having nothing to offer, Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer’s $40 million worth of impeachment ads finally bought him a place on the stage – way over there on the end next to Gabbard. Given the amount of camera time CNN provided him, he would have been better served by running a couple of his commercials during the broadcast. Even worse, Steyer wasted what little time he had by looking into the camera and repeating what he said in all those commercials. Like Sanders, Steyer condemned the wealthy class and corporate America even though he is a poster child for both.
Then there was former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. Or was he there? For all the impact he had in the debate, it could have been a cardboard cut-out of the former Cabinet member standing on the far right (physically speaking, that is). If he said anything memorable, I have already forgotten it.
The Fourth Democratic Party Presidential Debate took three strikes without a swing of the bat. The candidates repeated all their shop-worn talking points. They failed to provide any details or how they would get their extravagant proposals enacted and paid for … and they failed to address too many of the major issues. What would they do about Korea? No discussion of immigration. And for obvious reasons, they are not about to discuss the roaring economy.
Without anything substantive or realistic to offer the voters, it is no wonder that Democrats are stuck on impeachment as their desperation strategy.
So, there ‘tis.