The gloves were off at the sixth Democratic debate held in Los Angeles. Current Iowa darling, Pete Buttigieg was hit with verbal attacks, mostly from the two women on the stage. Even stumble, bumble Joe found his voice; hollering at Judy Woodruff that he would not stand down and admonishing Bernie Sanders for waving his hand during Joe’s dialogue.
Joe Biden had his first decent debate of the year. Finally, after all this time, Joe found a way to capitalize on Trump’s illegal obsession with him by saying, “If anybody should be mad at Republicans it should be me, but even I recognize we need to reach across the aisle.” Biden got into it with Bernie over health care and held his own. He seemed more in control of the facts this time. But when asked why he and the Obama administration couldn’t shut down Guantanamo Bay, Joe went all “two state solution” for Israel on us. Look, politicians are masters at not answering questions, but when you’re Uncle Grandpa Joe Biden, you risk us thinking the batteries in your Miracle Ear are dead.
Bernie Sanders yelled, quite eloquently, throughout the night. He made me smile when he said instead of spending $1.8 trillion a year on deadly weapons, maybe an American president, “i.e. Bernie Sanders,” could lead the world to fight climate change. And it was refreshing to hear an American Jewish leader stand up for both Jews and Palestinians. Then he went one step further and called Netanyahu a racist. Derasha, Bernie!
Amy Klobuchar was loud and annoying. Every chance she got, she pelted us with her rehearsed spontaneity. “James Madison was a good size, five feet four inches,” Amy demurred. When calling out strong women she ended with, “Let’s not forget the notorious RGB.” Yes, in fact, let’s all pray for the good health of Ruth Gader Binsburg. Klobuchar constantly interrupted her colleagues, cutting in on Mayor Pete by interjecting that because her father was a newspaperman, the First Amendment means more to her. She unartfully wove in her grievance about the mayor mocking the 100-plus years of experience she and her older colleagues possess. Each time Klobuchar addressed Mayor Pete as simply ‘Mayor’ she seemed more and more disdainful. In my head, I heard Jerry Seinfeld hissing, “Newman!”
Pete Buttigieg held his own and shot back when Amy claimed he hasn’t done anything, hasn’t won anything. “What about pulling together a coalition to win the mayorship by 80% as a gay dude in Mike Pence land?” declared Pissed Pete. And when Elizabeth Warren went there, to the wine cave, Pete called Elizabeth out on a purity test she couldn’t pass. It seems Warren actually did solicit big donors for her Senate campaign and has now transferred those dollars to her formerly pristine presidential campaign. The mayor said that money didn’t corrupt Warren. So what’s your point, lady?
When Politico’s Tim Alberta told Elizabeth Warren she’d be the oldest president ever inaugurated, she replied with a smile, “I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated.” I’m sorry, but I like her. She is authentic and compassionate. I know she’s scaring the bejesus out of everybody with her healthcare plan. But for now, I’m going to let my heart have what my heart wants.
Tom Steyer had his best debate so far. I believe, given the chance, he really could fix the climate crisis. Steyer did a good job pointing out that Donald Trump’s not against immigration; rather he’s against non-white immigration. He called Trump a “different breed of cat” and explained that Trump instills fear in white people that, as they lose their majority standing within our country, they are losing control. All good stuff. But for the love of God, Tom, stop looking directly into the camera. Creeps. Me. Out.
Andrew Yang is growing on me. When asked his feelings about being the only non-white on the debate stage, he acknowledged he’d been called names growing up. But he quickly shifted to the quantifiable injustice black and brown people suffer in this country. Trump’s good economy is going to be tough for Democrats to attack. But I liked Yang’s take. He said improved GDP, the low unemployment rate and increased corporate profits have very little to do with our wellness. Yang cited upticks in depression and suicide. The candidates were asked to respond to Barack Obama’s comments earlier in the week that women are better leaders. “We all know we’re a misogynistic country,” Yang said. “If you get too many men alone in government and leave us alone, we kind of become morons.”
The camera turned to Amy Klobuchar, who inexplicably, stood with her arms folded, sporting a sour look on her face.
Will someone please show her to the wine cave?