When it was time to call the candidates on stage for Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, did one of the moderators yell “send in the clowns?” If not, someone should have. What a bunch of buffoons.
We don’t use that word lightly. One definition of buffoon is “a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior.” That’s a description that fits every candidate on the stage. Each was hilariously solicitous and comically transparent.
Almost before the game show applause had settled, Beto O’Rourke launched into a juvenile Spanish-language hustle that left Sen. Cory Booker wide-eyed and most everyone else rolling their eyes.
Moments later, Booker found common ground with Friedrich Engels, grousing about how the economy wasn’t working for everyone, a common thread throughout the “debate.” Still later, he too resorted to Spanish, competing with O’Rourke to show he is the most Hispanic candidate, even more Hispanic than someone named Castro and far more Hispanic than the Irish guy.
A few beats after O’Rourke’s first foreign-language outburst, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the media’s pre-selected winner, made the brave declaration she wanted to return government to the people — while pointing at herself. Well done, Senator. Now we know who she wants to vest the power of government in.
In English, former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro resorted, to no one’s surprise, to identity politics, insisting the country “pass” — hey, how about taking a remedial class in constitutional process before running for president — the Equal Rights Amendment.
When it was her time to speak, Tulsi Gabbard, one of two congressional representatives from Hawaii, looked as if she was going to be the only serious person on the stage — then she yammered on about a “green economy” and “good-paying jobs,” empty Democratic talking points without depth designed to elicit applause.
With Gabbard now sidelined, former Rep. John Delaney from Maryland became the most rational-appearing candidate in the group. But he sounded like a Bill Clinton Democrat, which means he has no chance in Bernie Sanders’ party.
Meanwhile, in great moments in pandering, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee promised to resurrect union power. And, we suppose, the corruption, violence, and economic distortions that will come with it. Nice try, but he’s still in the “who is that guy?” category. Though he said the right things, he could have been replaced in the second hour by any other Democrat and few would have noticed. His only hope is that some will recall that it was he who said Donald Trump is the biggest geopolitical threat to the U.S. But he still looks like that other guy, whose name no one can remember either.
For all the closet tyrants on stage, none represented today’s Democratic Party better than New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who yet again said there is plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands. But forget it, Jake, it’s the Democratic Party and he can get away with threats of naked theft. Because that’s what the “progressives” want — a return to tribalism where the most savage among us subjugate the rest.
Every candidate lined up in Wednesday’s debate is living in a fantasy world where they are convinced their decrees can yield a utopia just because they say so. They don’t understand economic realities, their god complexes are puffed up enough to make doctors jealous, their need to acquire raw power is pathetic (and alarming). There was no respect for human dignity, nor human life, no regard for liberty, no room for private-sector solutions to all the problems that were discussed.
But there was plenty of shallowness. Anyone expecting depth is occupying the same fantasy world as the candidates.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt
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