Thoughts about the Democratic Primary Food Fight so Far

First of all, nobody stole the show in last night’s first “debate” in my opinion.  Other than Elizabeth Warren, those doing best in the polls battle tonight, so she was the favorite in the betting, so to speak.   As such, she had the most to lose, and I think she held up well enough.

This is mostly a wait and see for me.  Wait and see who the polls show got a bump and who got a trip, like to stumble.   The long shot candidate that caught my eye (as well as that of my friend Tom located at a separate viewing site) was Tulsi Gabbard.  She had a confident presence on the stage, especially when Middle East policy came up. Deployed twice in the area when in the National Guard, the Hawaii congresswoman looked formidable despite only getting about seven minutes of talk time (Cory Booker got the most, 10 minutes).

I wanted to hear more from her, which wasn’t my reaction to most.

As it turns out, the sample size impressed by Gabbard was much larger than Tom and I.   According to Fox News she was the most googled of the candidates nationally after the show, while Warren had been most googled prior to the performance.

Another point of interest was how much more male candidates interrupted others to speak.    That gave the boys more speaking time, which prompted David Leonardt of the New York Times to criticize the panelists for letting the men get away with it.

It makes me ponder how much we interpret rudeness and bullying as strength (anybody in particular come to mind?)  I also wonder how Kamala Harris, a former district attorney not shy to interrupt, will handle that tonight.

As for this evening’s round of candidate promos, Charlie Sykes, a conservative with a conscience, sums up the likely plot with admiral succinctness:

“This is Joe Biden’s debate and race to lose.   He must come off not doddering, not vague and not defensive.”

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Could Mayor Pete Become President Pete?

I am not much interested in the 2020 election yet.  I figured I’d wait until the Democrat herd of candidates thinned out enough to fit the survivors onto one debate stage.   I just want someone able to beat Trump and I don’t know who that might be yet.  We have months to sort it out.

But Mayor Pete has caught my attention, just as President Obama did 10 years ago or so.  Obama did not have the background that would appear to give him a chance in hell to become president, but lo and behold he became.  Mayor Pete seems to have even less of a chance – a 37 year old two time mayor of a city of 100,000 in Indiana who happens to have a husband.  Yes, he’s gay.

But he has that confidence and authenticity Obama had and, so far, the more I look at his life and watch his  speeches, like the one today announcing his run for the presidency, the more I believe he has “the right stuff” to be president.

He is different than the others, like Obama was and, I would add, Trump.  One of the more interesting elements of that last presidential election was how many people would have voted for Bernie Sanders had he won the primary, but took Trump in the election.

They wanted something different, they took Trump but they might have taken Bernie.   By the time of the election I think we’ll be tired of Trump’s divisive version of different and Mayor Pete’s unifying vision will look very inviting.

Obama was able to be elected because he really was half black and half white.  He had black skin, but he was nurtured by white relatives.  Enough whites believed he would give everyone a fair shake, so as not to worry about his blackness.  Mayor Pete’s gay, but that seems but only one of many aspects of his concerns.


P. S. –  One of my favorite Obama stories came from his autobiography.   In courting Michelle, he came to dinner at her parents’s house for the first time.   Chatting with her brother on the side, he was asked about his future plans and Obama told him that eventually he would like to run for president.   Michelle’s brother was startled, suggesting Barack not tell his parents as they would think he “was crazy.”