I don’t know if it was the inclusion of Bloomie to the debate stage, or the edginess of the Vegas strip, or simply the calendar, but five of the six candidates who made it to the ninth Democratic debate, came out swinging.
Elizabeth, my Elizabeth, stole the show with her first words, “We’re fighting against a man who calls women fat broads and horse-face lesbians.” But she wasn’t referring to the pussy-grabber. No, she was talking about the “other arrogant billionaire in the race” Michael Bloomberg. Senator Warren didn’t let up. She asked Mike to release the women from the sexual harassment NDAs he made them sign. And when Bloomberg sidestepped that altogether and proclaimed that many women work in his organization at equal pay to men, she gave him the side-eye. “So what he’s saying is I’ve been nice to some women,” cracked Warren. She then stepped over Bloomberg’s carcass and turned her sights on Pete and Amy for their crummy health care plans. Warren even went after Bernie for allowing his followers to trash others. Lizzy brought a goddamn ax to this knife fight.
Michael Bloomberg wasn’t shredded by Warren alone. Everybody had a go at him. Yet Bloomberg was inexplicably unprepared, unapologetic and unimpressive. He tried to lash out at Bernie for being a socialist millionaire with three homes, but that fell flat. Yeah, Mike brought a nail file to this fight.
Bernie Sanders had a lot of energy and hit all his favorite topics but, to me, he looked tired last night. Bernie took his first swing at Bloomberg with an attack on his “stop and frisk” policy. Sanders also sniped that Mike had two stents, just like Bernie. Mike pushed back with a barely audible, “Yeah, 45 years ago.” I don’t know why, but I’m always tickled when the camera catches Sanders, and only Sanders, exiting the stage when they cut for the last commercial break. Pee time for Bernie.
Joe Biden performed a little better than he has in the past. He was in command of the facts when he spit out his plan to combat climate change. But Joe was the only candidate who had to look at his notes during his closing statement. He held up two fingers when he was mentioning point number one. And when he went after Bloomberg by reporting it was actually Barack Obama, aka Joe Biden, who sent ‘moderators’ to NYC to address “stop and frisk,” he meant to say ‘monitors.’ I would normally call this nitpicking but I’ve heard him do it before and then correct himself. But after further review, it was neither Bloomberg nor Obama who sent in the monitors. It was Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin. Facts matter, Joe.
Pete Buttigieg is probably the best debater on the stage and did a good job last night. Pete can think on his feet and take a hit gracefully. Buttigieg went after Bernie for the ugly Bernie Bros tweets against the Culinary Union. He got big cheers when he said, “Let’s put forth an actual Democrat,” referring to Bloomberg’s Republican past and Sanders’ Independent status. His assessment of Bloomberg buying the party and Sanders burning down the party was clever. Pete pounced on Amy Klobuchar after the Telemundo moderator called her out for not knowing the name of the president of Mexico, especially, as Pete pointed out, Amy is on the Committee for Border Security. Buttigieg placed a cherry on top of that fried ice cream with an attack on Amy for her vote to make English the official language of the United States when he concluded his comments en español.
Amy Klobuchar was ready to defend her gaffe with a bit of rehearsed trivia. “There are one hundred twenty members of the Israeli Knesset,” Amy proudly announced. And to that, I say what the hell is a Knesset and who the fuck cares? She barely recalled her memorized name of the president of Honduras. And when she sent greetings to Mexico’s president, Lopez Obrador, she had to refer to her notes. Look, forgetting a name is not a deal-breaker. But when she went after Pete with such contempt, “Are you calling me dumb, Pete? Are you mocking me?” It felt to me like she was playing the damsel in distress card. And Klobuchar did nothing to break the highest, hardest glass ceiling with her Mean Girls sneer, “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.” When it came to her hokey one-liners, Amy did not disappoint. She anticipated comments about Bernie’s health and snickered that the president in the White House doesn’t even have a heart. Sticking to that theme, she claimed her blood pressure might even be lower than Pete’s. And she waxed unpoetically, “when you see troubled waters you don’t blow up the bridge, you build one.”
Really? Kamala is gone and Klobuchar is still here? Really?