Impressions from last night’s Democratic debate

Democratic presidential candidates Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar (Patrick Semansky / AP Photo)

With an almost-reasonable number of Democratic candidates taking the stage last night, I decided I’d force myself to watch the “debate.” I’ve been ignoring the race for quite a while, only catching a few headlines, and decided I should finally take a first-hand look. After all, I’ll be voting for one of these candidates.

Tom Steyer. How did he even manage to get on stage? Nevertheless, he had some worthwhile things to say about the urgency of climate change, his number one issue. Whether he knows anything at all about international affairs is quite another thing.

Bernie Sanders. Still touting his pie-in-the-sky ideas, including immediate Medicare for all, without the faintest idea of how to pay for it. Ditto free college education for everyone.

Elizabeth Warren. At least she’s softened her stance on Medicare for all, admitting it will take longer to transition to it. And while she may (or may not) have a more thought-out plan for paying for it, a “debate” is no place to try spelling it out in detail. And I’ll admit I’ve watched too many Saturday NIght Live impressions of her; she seems a little bit too hyper, too excited, in a distracting sort of way. Nevertheless, she’s obviously very smart and very well-informed.

Pete Buttigieg. So well-spoken (rehearsed?) it hurts. Logical, reasonable, deep thinking seemingly beyond his years (he’s only 37). His plan is still Medicare for all who want it. And he admits it will take time to gradually implement it. Notably, this time he also admitted those who don’t want any insurance will still have to pay a small fee. And he’s right. Insurance pools don’t work unless everyone is in. He also qualified the “free college education for all” proposal by saying of course he doesn’t mean free for rich people.

Joe Biden. So likable, so reasonable. Maybe too much so. He’s not as well-spoken as most of the other candidates and that, unfortunately, makes him look older. He favors building on the existing Obamacare, adding a public option to help people afford insurance. His closing statement was based on intangibles — but still of paramount importance — about America’s values. Nice to know somebody still remembers and respects those things.

Amy Klobuchar. Once I got past the harsh (strong?) make-up, I was very much in agreement with what she had to say. She was intense in a calm sort of way. Well-spoken in presenting her moderate ideas. She had the presence of mind to pitch herself to the audience of Iowa voters who will be among those voting in March. I was favorably impressed with her ideas and presentation, and could see her as president, although at this point she looks like a long shot.

So who won and who lost? To me, no one really stood out for any reason. Except Steyer who, although earnest about climate change, really has nothing else to offer. And I’m liking Klobuchar better as I see her more.

14 thoughts on “Impressions from last night’s Democratic debate


    I like it because it should save me from paying for supplemental coverage under Medicare. As in eliminate the HUGE profits that the insurance companies soak people for. That’s the thing that isn’t being discussed in the Mainstream Media. How, once you eliminate all the $$$ going to insurance companies and the clerks swarming your doctor’s offices, we can reduce the far greater (than any other country) amount of money we spend for health care and getting worse outcomes in the bargain.

    You don’t lose your doctor because single payer is the only game in town. You don’t worry about pre-existing conditions. You can even hopefully retrain some of those insurance folks into being nurse practitioners or PAs to help with the health care professionals we are so short of ( the boonies where I live!)

    I believe in both Sanders’ and Warren’s platforms because this country can’t continue to run the middle working class into the ground (and bury them.) It’s what’s happening with our Centrist policies since the Reagan era that have slid downhill with his trickle down. Funny, how that never seemed to work.

    We can afford wars and tax cuts for the disgustingly wealthy, but not to take care of infrastructure or we the people. Sorry… but that’s not my idea of what this country used to stand for.

    End of rant (for now)! 😀

    1. You can rant all you want here and I respect what you say. I just think first we should try adding a public option to Obamacare and see how that goes. (After all, it was in the original plan.) Go at it stepwise rather than trying a massive one-time overhaul/change that will inevitably hit a lot of snags along the way.

      And looking at the biggest picture I can think of, wouldn’t Medicare for all put all the big health insurance companies out of business? Not that I’d mind that, but I just can’t imagine it happening. That’s a big chunk of the American economy, hundreds of thousands of jobs. How would that work?

    1. I don’t know that I’m necessarily right, but I’m sure as hell not optimistic. Even if all in Congress were on the same page, I don’t think they could implement a whole new health care system overnight.

  2. johnthecook…As I see it, all of these candidates want to turn America into a Socialist Country and severely limit the “free enterprise” way of life. Any Government that can supply our basic needs and wants is not good for America.Read our Constitution and you will find out it does NOT support or even hint that a Socialists form of Government is what our “Founding Fathers” envisioned for America. On another note, the biggest problem I have with Obama Care is that our Government made it MANDATORY for everyone to enroll ,or pay a fine for not doing so.

    1. You see even Biden as socialist? He strikes me as about as middle-of-the-road as you can get. Or is it that he is a Democrat? Trump’s wannabe monarchy is certainly not what the founders intended either. They set up a three-part government with checks and balances to prevent that. If you could vote for anyone, who would you choose?

      As for Obamacare, it was broken before it started when the public option was removed. It did do some good things, however, such as disallowing exclusions for preexisting conditions and by allowing kids up to age 25 to stay covered under their parents’ insurance. You can bet the insurance companies wouldn’t cover those things if Obamacare didn’t require it. The Supreme Court ruled the individual mandate was constitutional but Congress eliminated it with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in January 2019.

      1. johnthecook…in reality nobody knows what Biden would do as POTUS.He was fairly silent as VP and in light of his sons Political and Financial dealings with UKRAINE when Biden was VP and his political platform and the Democratic debates,the jury is still out. The way I see it Trump is NOT a politician,he is a business man.When was the last time we had a businessman as POTUS? He is not an Islamic sympathizer or one who will stand by while America is being taken advantage of by foreign Governments. He suffers greatly from “foot in mouth” disease and forgets that we have a three-part government with checks and balances. We have a bunch of politicians in Congress and The House who have forgotten they work for US and not them selves. America does not need a “monarchy. We need someone who will fix what is broken in Washington DC and follow the Constitution as written.

  3. In these debates, all I could think is the serious lack of understanding. I was watching a “show”, which is all it was. As always, I listened, looking for substance, but finding none, or very little with a couple. All too often, we saw copies of one another, just in different bodies. And we realized, more and more, over the years, two things: how all too many are not following the foundations of this country but also how all too many Americans are not educated with the ability to see rhetoric, incorrect cause and effect relationships, and the real answers that a strong background in history would help provide. And they know this. That’s clear. Some are banking on it. And that’s sad.
    In the White House, we want someone who understands the Constitution, the foundations of this country, what the federalists discussed, and the real solutions. A strong economy through freedom and independence in a representative democracy. Kids starting lemonade stands with cookies in their front yards. Freedom of discussions and thought: real debates. People arguing without worrying about all the words they use. Individual freedoms with responsibility. And more. And in this, we know who to vote for. No candidate is all. That’s where the American people, taking on responsibilities for themselves and their families comes in. Not looking for others to pay for them. Help? Yes. And handout. No. Positive.

    1. Ah yes, the good old days. Back in my youth. Back when you still got a good education in any public school. Back when I still believed the President of the United States wouldn’t lie to the American people. Back when the Supreme Court decided cases based on the Constitution rather than their personal political beliefs. Back when we still had checks and balances and separation of powers in Washington, as specified by the Constitution. A handout is temporary and doesn’t really help in the long run. A hand up, on the other hand, is something we can all support.

... and that's my two cents