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Burn it down or buy it out: Dems debate

Just a few impressions from last night’s Dem debate in Las Vegas. Nothing substantive.

Mike Bloomberg did terribly. He was awful. He failed to answer questions adequately and came across as a thoroughly unpleasant individual. Warren’s take-down was masterful as he tried to explain why he wouldn’t release from NDAs those women with complaints about sexual harassment at his company. He certainly didn’t look like the man in all those expensive commercials he’s been running. He should have known his billions wouldn’t protect him at the debate.

Bloomberg got eviscerated and offered very little defense.

Liz Warren was active and on top of everything. Yet it wasn’t in the same way that annoyed me so much in the past. She seemed less flighty, more grounded. And was obviously very well informed.

Sanders was Sanders, on full display. Puffed up and pontificating as though he’s the only one with all the answers. (Does he ever talk about anything besides “Medicare for all”?)

Biden was back, more or less. He still speaks rather haltingly, but at least this time he seemed awake and engaged.

Buttigieg was his usual well-spoken self. I still worry sometimes that he’s maybe a bit too slick with all his memorized lines. But still, he’s so smart and likable. I think his military service can be credited for the maturity he shows.

And lastly, Amy Klobuchar. Not quite as much to say as before, and she had one unpleasant little spat with Buttigieg that hurt both of them.

So here we are. Bloomberg and Sanders are non-starters with me (although polls keep saying Sanders is going to lead the pack all the way to the convention and that really has me worried). Biden may be clawing his way back in. At least he looked a lot better this week. Warren has become quite the cheerleader and attack dog and does make a lot of sense — except perhaps for her Medicare plan. Buttigieg remains the same — calm, intelligent, reasonably moderate. Klobuchar did not do as well last night as in the previous debate, but she’s solid and level-headed. Maybe everyone is overlooking her because she’s not threatening to do anything drastic.

You get free healthcare! And you get free healthcare! And you get free healthcare! And don’t worry, I’ll figure out how to pay for it later.

I enjoyed good lines like Mayor Pete’s “We shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out,” even though they make me worry about the candidate being too scripted. And I still don’t understand how Sanders’ and Warren’s freebies for all will be paid for. I think it’s dangerous to contemplate completely destroying and then rebuilding our health care system (and the immense, intricate economy that goes with it) in a very few years when it took decades to get where we are. As a doctor’s daughter, longtime medical association employee, and Medicare recipient, I simply don’t believe Sanders’ approach will work.

With Super Tuesday rapidly approaching, I still don’t know who to vote for. Maybe Buttigieg or Klobuchar. Maybe even Biden if he does reasonably well in Nevada and South Carolina. He was, after all, my first choice once upon a time.

22 Comments »

  1. That was the first debate that I have watched and I came away with much the same impression as you. Although I think some sort of universal healthcare will cost less OVERALL, the burden of big medical bills are carried by only those who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to pay for them. It’s hard for those of us who haven’t (yet) experienced the horror of having bills we cannot pay to understand that spreading the costs between everyone – and therefore also eliminating a lot of the non-medical costs of healthcare – is actually fiscally sound. So much of the true costs of healthcare are invisible to most of us. And, yes, changing our current system will be extremely difficult, if it’s even possible. Best just to move to Canada where everything is already set up (and the people are so nice 🙂 ).

    • I don’t deny for a second that the profit-taking, by pharmaceutical companies in particular, is horrendous and inexcusable. And the insurance companies are getting a huge piece of the pie too. Fining the CEOs, as is often done in other industries, is pointless and accomplished nothing. For the super-rich, fines are just part of the cost of doing business. Prison time, on the other hand, might get their attention.

      I’ve often thought if I were to leave the country, Canada would definitely be my destination. But I’m 76 now and have sworn to move again only under great duress. There are a lot of other places I would like to be, but the mere thought of having to move again makes me ill.

  2. The one thing that makes my choice a no-brainer is that Warren and Sanders are the only ones on that stage who aren’t beholden to anyone with deep pockets. That’s a HUGE issue for me. All that money in politics is what got us to this awful predicament.

    Bernie doesn’t want to burn the party down, he just wants to bring it back to its roots when it stood for the average joe (not Biden) instead of the billionaires. Socialist policies like Social Security, Medicare, school lunches, even free PUBLIC higher education. The rich still get to pay for the Ivy Leagues. Pretty scary stuff, eh?

    Have you checked Pete’s military “experience” at all? If my memory serves, it was a short stint in the reserves with some sort of desk job or something like that…. his big $$$money backers are there waiting for him to support more tax cuts so they can get their money back, and then some. I’m sure the Medical Industrial Complex is sucking up to him big time.

    I finally found the piece that backs what I said about Klobachar’s thing about LNG or fracked fuel being a transition…. National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/02/super-potent-methane-in-atmosphere-oil-gas-drilling-ice-cores/

    But I’ll quit bragging on Bernie, we’ll just cancel out each other’s votes. 😀 I think Bernie will win anyway. Have you seen the massive crowds he’s gathering at his rallies. I’m thinking they’re bigger than the current clown’s (in the white house). And they’re even voting. He is the ONLY one having huge, massive rallies.

    • Damn, I just accidentally deleted several paragraphs of scintillating prose in response to your comment.

      I said something along the lines of Bernie having to stop railing against “millionaires and billionaires” because he has become a millionaire himself and is now one of the 1%. So he just talks now about billionaires. Please let’s not forget billionaires aren’t all bad. They aren’t all out buying politicians and taking over Washington. Many, maybe most, are out buying and building schools, clean water, and technology for third world countries. Or manufacturing clean electric cars. Or building rockets for space exploration. Or funding Nature Conservancy projects. Etc., etc.

      Pete served two years in the Naval Reserves. Six months of that time he was on active duty in Kabul, Afghanistan, as an intelligence analyst. I mentioned it only as a possible explanation for his seeming maturity.

      As I’ve noted before, fracked fuel or any fossil fuel is “transitional” in that it will take time to transition completely to renewable resources like wind and solar. Right now they are more expensive to produce than fossil fuels. That will have to change.

      Yes, we’ll probably cancel out each other’s vote, although I still can’t say where my vote will go.

      • So, I listened to the debate. (Can’t stand to watch.) You’re right. Amy did say she’d fiddle with the fracking thing. I still don’t like her. 😦

        I could vote this very moment, but I’ll bet it’ll be all over before I get a chance… stinkin’ early primary states! &%## 😦

        • I saw a clip from an earlier debate yesterday. One of the few I watched. It reminded me that Amy forgot a name then, too. Someone she called a friend. Makes me wonder if she has a problem with names or maybe a problem with pressure. Neither would be good in a president.

          Even if it’s over before you get to vote, it looks like Sanders is cruising anyway.

        • Could never put my finger on it, but I think you’re right. Amy seems to be nervous in interview situations or pressure.

          Seems as though our state’s primary vote doesn’t count for much. We’re down near the end of the list for primaries. Things are often decided by the time ours comes around.

          It’s not in the bag just yet… Super Tuesday has yet to be decided. That’s you, right?

        • Yep, I have my ballot right here in front of me. It’s got to be in by March 3, Super Tuesday. I’m debating whether to wait till after the SC vote is in, but I’m not sure how that will make any difference.

  3. This was the first debate I’ve watched entirely; I thought it was quite informative of the personalities on stage. They are all decent people. You know, a case can be made that any of them would make a fine president for one great reason: none is Donald Trump. That, and the fact that none of them is going to radically change the country, not even Bernie, simply because Congress. Even some Democrats have conservative constituents.

    • I used to console myself with the idea that even the worst president would be reined in by Congress. Not anymore. But fortunately, as you said, none of these candidates is Donald Trump.

  4. Oh, and one more point if you will. The most likely factor that could lead to Trump’s re-election is the splintering of the Democratic Party into factions. Russia knows this well, as does Trump.

    • The party already looks pretty splintered, especially the moderates. Much of what I’ve read this week suggests that if the moderates don’t unite behind one candidate (with the others dropping out), Bernie will easily take the nomination. I am not happy.

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