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Issues & Insights

Dems’ Debate Leaves One Big Question Unanswered: Why?

Joy: the contracting crowd of Democratic candidates just held yet another debate.

CNN moderators dug deep for questions to fill 90 tedious minutes. But the one question that really needed answered is: why?

Why another debate in the first place (for anyone other than those having trouble sleeping or preferring this particular variety of torture to, say, waterboarding or having bamboo shoved under their nails)?

After all, anyone who’s suffered through any previous event could practically answer the questions for the candidates.

All opposed the war in Iraq, except for Sleepy Joe Biden who was for it before he was against it – then single-handedly brought all the troops home – and wishes he had been against it before he was privately against the surge in Afghanistan which his then-boss was publicly for.  And Uncle Bernie Sanders who was for and against the war at the same time.

All favor renewing the Iran nuclear agreement – that Sleepy Joe was “part of” – which Iran was also for but now is against. In contrast to President Trump, who being against it “is taking us pell-mell toward another war” (even though he didn’t respond to the mullahs’ latest provocation of lobbing missiles in the direction of U.S. servicepersons).

Not to mention the president’s “trade wars,” which are as always “hurting” Iowa farmers (who are being deluged with offsetting aid) and workers and manufacturers (although the Wall Street Journal acknowledges that most of the economy came out “largely unscathed”).

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s experience cosponsoring unenacted legislation and enduring committee hearings is always more valuable than anyone’s on any issue – along with the virtuous worker/farmer/small business owner she just met or her grandfather who saved coins in a coffee can for her father’s college. “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg – who, lest we forget, deployed to Afghanistan as a cloistered intelligence analyst and part-time driver and courageously insists that “God does not belong to a political party” – begs to differ.

Sleepy Joe was, of course, “part of” the coalition that defeated ISIS (which wasn’t defeated when he was Veep) and met with China to contain North Korea (whose nuclear program wasn’t contained when he was Veep).

Miss Lizzie Warren has three brothers in Oklahoma, which, like Senator Amy’s rampant cosponsoring and committee attendance and grandfather’s ever-present coffee can, is somehow relevant to every issue. In contrast to Billionaire Tom Steyer, desperately trying to be relevant on any issue – except for climate, which he, remember, is the only one to make the number one priority. Even though everyone agrees it is, in Uncle Bernie’s words, “the greatest threat facing this planet” and must be addressed in the context of national security, trade deals and somehow or other, health care.

Which is why Sleepy Joe introduced the first climate-change bill in 1986 (when no one was even aware it existed) and “headed up the Recovery Act, which put more money into moving away from fossil fuels to solar and wind energy than ever has occurred in the history of America.” (Solyndra, anyone?)

Senator Amy and Mayor Pete (again) challenge Uncle Bernie and Miss Lizzie on Medicare for All being too expensive and unrealistic, and Uncle Bernie insists $30 trillion is actually cheaper than current expenditures for health care. Miss Lizzie, who was all for Uncle Bernie’s bill before she was kind of against it, and insists that a wealth tax was the way to pay for Medicare for All and free universal child care (which everyone is also for) and university tuition (which Senator Amy doesn’t think is big enough thinking). Billionaire Tom, still desperate for relevance, was for the wealth tax before anyone was for or against it.

And of course, Sleepy Joe participated in the biggest breakthrough on health care, the Obamacare plan he and all the other candidates basically want to supplant. And needed child care when (stop me if you heard this one) his wife and daughter were killed and he commuted to Delaware every night.

On top of all the familiar positions and salami-slicing disagreements (and recitations of everything Sleepy Joe was “part of” for the last 50 years) comes the usual ginned-up, choreographed confrontation. This time about reports that Uncle Bernie told Miss Lizzie that a woman couldn’t win the presidency, even though he vehemently denied it and was once on video insisting one could – which didn’t stop a moderator from asking Miss Lizzie what she thought about Uncle Bernie saying that.

Sleepy Joe, who campaigned for all the women who won election in 2018 and has the broadest coalition of women and minorities and children admiring his hairy legs, would naturally never say such a thing.

All of which brings us to part two of the “why” question: why are Democrats putting forward three out-of-touch septuagenarians (four, if you count the electric Michael Bloomberg who, mercifully, wasn’t on stage); a chronically over-scripted and under-imaginative Senate backbencher; a smug, callow small-town mayor with a mixed record of accomplishment; and a one-note multibillionaire to labor so to come up with reasons we should elect one of them president?

Even insomnia and a penchant for self-torture can’t explain that one.


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Bob Maistros

Bob Maistros, a messaging and communications strategist and crisis specialist, is of counsel with Strategic Action Public Affairs, and was chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, three U.S. Senators, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at bob@rpmexecutive.com.

3 comments

  • Even if the press finally agree that Bernie didn’t mean what they’re suggesting he might well have meant when he said that the Oval Office is no place for a woman, there’s still a niggling suspicion in my mind that Sanders doesn’t like the voters much.

    After all, if someone doesn’t get to be POTUS because she’s a woman, that’d be the result of voter misogyny.

  • The “debate” along with the moderators were horrible. Where were the questions on how do we throttle this economy back to Obama levels? Besides free health care to undocumented citizens where is the plan to pay for health care for the citizens not currently in this country. San Salvadorans who have not yet had occasion to illegally enter our country need health care as well. Obviously education is a human right so what is the plan to educate Haitians desiring a US degree, what is the plan for that?

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Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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