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HORIST: Fourth Democrat debate was deja vu all over again

HORIST: Fourth Democrat debate was deja vu all over again

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.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Rita Marie Koyoumjian

    Such a great analysis of “The Clown Car Candidates” !
    They will all be extinct in 2020,
    As you said, they can’t impress anyone, but themselves with their grandious “Socal Solutions ” to hand out cash to everyone who doesn’t want to work, or reperations to blacks for “Slavery”.
    & Gays for, well not to sure how they are eligable?
    The” Impeachment Frenzy” has left many Americans thoroughly discusted with these self serving
    Bozos. The ONLY thing they really focus on is impeaching this president, with compleatly false accusations.
    Accusing him of suggesting Biden gave the Ukrainian a ultimatum, eithier fire the prosecutor investigating the Co. his son worked for , being paid 50k a month, OR, You won’t get the $/ aide. Saw this on video, with my own 2 eyes!
    So, they think President Trump should be impeached for asking for an investigation of corruption? And the person who actually did the corrupt action?(on video) Well, apparently they are “being persecuted, & are the innocent lamb” So they keep campaigning …kissing babies & shaking hands, guilty as hell of corruption. And the President should be Impeached for asking for the investigation???? That’s like firing someone who reports $ missing from someones desk drawer because, it makes the theif “look bad”. Unbelievable that they even have the nerve to present this the American people….we’ll pay them back with a
    Landslide in 2020!!!

    • Edie

      Loved your comments! You are so right on.

  2. Randolph Chin-Quee

    Sorry I didn’t watch the crazy lying corrupt untrustworthy crooked Democrats trying to convince the nation of why they would make a good candidate to run for the highest office to become the President. I would not vote for them in any face as they remind me of the crazy idiots you see on TV who cannot tell you how they intend on paying for Medicare for all and free college and for paying off thier student loans. Sounds like they intend to bankrupt the country and don’t care how they do it as long as they get rich and the people gets poorer and maybe then they would impeach the Democratic party, hhhmm I think we would be better off staying with President Donald J. Trump, and that is what I have to say, I wish all of you well and may God bless you and your family.

  3. David Barron

    The Democratic Clown Car continues to circle the center ring of the political circus without much interest from the grand stands. Mark my words, when it comes to the DNC they will look around and say, we have nobody worth a hoot so lets draft Hillary Clinton again, she knows the ropes, know the ways and will save our party from being annihilated due to our stupid 4 year battle with President Trump. She will graciously accept at the last minute and have in reserve millions of dollars for campaigns to promote the most vicious, underhanded, and disgraceful campaign in the history of the USA. If she were to get elected, she would torpedo our nation and we would sink like a lead balloon out of gas.

  4. John Green

    there all liars don’t vote for any of them.