Houston, we have a primary
Finally, a debate allowing us to feel what we feel without having to wait until the following night to see if anybody made us feel any better. Spoiler alert: The country’s next Democratic presidential candidate was among those top ten. I’m sorry, but it’s time for Tulsi, Moonbeam, John, Tom, Tim, Steve, Mike, Joe, and Wayne to wake up and smell the pumpkin latte.
So let’s dive in to see how our front-runners did.
Beto O’Rourke’s opening statement was the best of the night. You could see the anguish of El Paso on his face. He called Trump a “racist in the White House.” He promised to follow Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s lead on a slavery reparations bill. He was the only candidate who brought up the seven brown lives lost under Trump’s horrendous immigration policies. But it was when Beto said, “Hell yes we’re gonna take your AR-15s and AK-47s,” that I literally jumped to my feet. He spoke from his heart and his gut. Politics be damned! And sadly so are his 2020 presidential aspirations. But it shouldn’t be that way. This country enforced a federal Assault Weapons Ban from 1994 to 2004. If it was illegal to purchase military weapons, it’s only logical that our government could enforce a buy-back program to confiscate unlawful guns. But we’ll never know. Because when the ban’s ten-year sunset provision ended, the Republican congress refused to renew it. And now the NRA is so far up Republicans’ butt barrels we have to live in a country where any Tom, Dick or Uzi can stockpile military weapons in his studio apartment.
Regarding Joe Biden, I don’t believe his gaffes are age-related. Joe has bumbled and stumbled his entire career. But in this third debate, he didn’t do much to squelch concerns about his sharpness. He looked down at his notes during his opening statement. He, once again, referred to one of his fellow candidates as “President.” This time it was Bernie. When asked his position on this country’s legacy of slavery, Uncle Joe took us down a rambling road of parental guidance, record players, and Venezuela. We knew what he was getting at when he said kids needed to hear “more words.” If only he had said, “Alexa, read the kids a bedtime story.” The evening ended with a question to all the contenders about their greatest professional setbacks and how they recovered. I’m halfway wondering if Biden’s people planted those disruptive protestors to give their candidate more time to tackle his closing response. Joe initially seemed to be heading down a Trumpian path of not really seeing anything as a setback. But as security hauled out the rabble rousers, Joe regrouped and shared his heartfelt story of family tragedy, loss, and recovery through sense of purpose.
Julián, Julián, Julián. What were you thinking? You’ve always scored points with me when you call out racial injustice and faithfully bring up victims’ names like Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland. And I loved your story about giving up your six-figure lawyer gig so you could do the right thing as city councilman. But you were so wrong to call out Biden for “forgetting what (he) said two minutes ago.” First of all, you misheard him. And secondly, the whole room moaned with disapproval, but you kept going. Dude, this was borderline elder abuse.
Elizabeth Warren acted like a leader. Yes, George Stephanopoulos, she sees the flashing red light, but so what? She’s going to finish her goddamn thought. Elizabeth consistently stays on message and reminds us of her humble beginnings, not to pander, but to let us know why she gets us. It was great to hear her expand on foreign policy. In her defense of Medicare for all, Elizabeth made an excellent point that it’s not our insurance companies we love, it’s our doctors and treatment centers. She doesn’t attack her fellow candidates. In fact, she smiled and applauded one of Kamala Harris’ Trump-zingers. Warren displayed confidence and kindness. We’d be lucky to have her as our president.
Bernie Sanders lost me once again with the full-throttle yelling. He didn’t have a frog in his throat. It was a hoarse. On the plus side, I liked that he came clean and admitted his political losses early in his career during his closing response. And he was nice to Joe Biden and tried to help him out a couple times during the night.
I continue to warm up to Cory Booker’s calmness and positivity. He did a great job of explaining the health care differentials of the plans represented on the stage, assuring us they all want universal coverage in the end. He was the only candidate to bring up veterans and their health care. Booker called out Trump on his “America First” agenda by saying it really leaves us isolated from our allies around the world. When Jorge asked him if he recommends we all become vegans to help save the planet, Cory said, “NO.” And then offered to translate in Spanish by saying, “NO.” Throughout the night he threw in a couple “dagnabbits.” I kind of love this guy.
Amy Klobuchar annoys me.
Pete Buttigieg is super smart and was mega brave to “come out” prior to his reelection as South Bend’s mayor. But he didn’t do much in this debate to move my needle.
After Andrew Yang revealed his Freedom Dividend cash giveaway gimmick, I think he should have twirled around, saluted his fellow contenders, outstretched his arms, fall back into the crowd, and surf out of TSU’s Health & Physical Education Arena. All the while making it rain dollar bills to the audience.
Kamala Harris did what I think they all should have done. She relentlessly took it to Trump. From her opening statement bashing his presidency, to turning the health care debate back on him for wanting to “take it all away,” she was amazing. I loved her explanation of Donald’s responsibility for El Paso, “Trump didn’t pull the trigger but he tweets out the ammunition.” And her Wizard of Oz reference, “(Trump’s) a really small dude,” was great. I think she could debate the orange off President Pussy Ass Bitch.