Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Sparks And Laughs Fly At Democrats’ December Debate

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 20, 2019

MA Senator Elizabeth Warren – D

The Democrats’ 6th debate Thursday, 19 December 2019 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA proved to be their best yet.

With just days before the Christmas holidays, Democrats continued their appeals to voters by touting their prospective policies, doubling down on defeating the President, and realigning core American values which have sorely suffered under the incumbent Trump.

Despite the fact that the Democratic field had been winnowed considerably from the initial 20 candidates spread over 2 nights of debate, the 7 remaining on the island were up for the match, with plenty of interaction between front-runners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Bernie Sanders.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders -I

Candidates Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, and Amy Klobuchar certainly had their moments, and for the most part, Steyer and Yang steered clear of any attacks directed at other candidates, while Klobuchar proved herself up to the task and took a mediator’s role to redirect candidate’s passions away from each others’ prospective policy ideas and campaign practices, and toward the Democratic party’s goal – make Donald Trump a one-term President.

All the candidates expressed a disheartening sense that there was not more ethnic, racial, and sexual diversity among them, with only 2 women, and candidate Andrew Yang being the only non-Anglo candidate on stage.

Debate participation rules established by the party included escalating demonstrations of public support as evidenced by by public polling and campaign finance contributions. Neither California Senator Kamala Harris nor New Jersey Senator Cory Booker appeared on stage, though Booker remained in the race, while Harris had announced the end of her bid in November.

Former Vice President Joe Biden – D

Much like a football game, most of the lively exchanges occurred in the last quarter of the debate, with candidates Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Steyer in that order, weighing in on disagreements over campaign finance reform. Candidate Yang remained completely silent on that subject, and no moderator invited his remarks.

Bernie and Biden had their moments, as one might expect, though it was congenial, rather than adversarial.

Toward the conclusion of the debate, candidate Biden had been asked by Moderator Alberta about the differences between his healthcare plan and Senator Sanders’ plan with respect for how it would potentially benefit children and adults with developmental delays. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bernie, who stood to his LEFT side, wave his hand signaling to the moderators, that he wanted an opportunity to respond. The following light-hearted exchange ensued:

Biden (looking straight ahead toward the moderators, lowering his left arm): “Put your hand down for a second, for me, okay?”

Bernie (waving his hand and gesturing at Joe): “Just waving at you, Joe… to say ‘hello’!”

Biden (holding his hands apart in gesture): “I know. I know.”

The audience went silent for a moment, then lightly chuckled at the tête-à-tête between former Senate colleagues.

There were also moments in which candidates Biden and Warren insisted on completing their thoughts, despite interruptions by the moderators, presumably because they had overrun their allotted 90 seconds to respond to direct questions, and 45 seconds for rebuttal. One such memorable exchange was when Senator Warren bemoaned “$5000 selfies,” which presumably was an oblique jab at Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who smiled while he looked down at his podium, and responded in part by saying, “I can’t help but feel that might’ve been directed at me.”

He continued by saying, “And here’s the thing: We’re in the fight of our lives right now. Donald Trump and his allies have made it abundantly clear that they will stop at nothing – not even foreign interference – to hold onto power. They’ve already put together more than $300 million dollars… this is our chance. This is our ONLY chance to defeat Donald Trump. And we shouldn’t try to do with one hand tied behind our back.”

October 26, 2016; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Senator Warren was given an opportunity for a rebuttal, and said that, “So… the Mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals, and served $900-a-bottle wine. Think about who comes to that. He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open-door, but this one was closed-door. We made the decision many years ago, that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next President of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next President of the United States.”

Pete bellied up to the debate bar by saying, “Y’know… according to Forbes magazine, I am the – literally – the only person on this stage who’s not a millionaire or billionaire. This is important. This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.”

The audience response – which sounded mostly like females – was loud with gasps.

MN US Senator Amy Klobuchar-D

He continued in part by saying, “If I pledge never to be in the company of a Progressive Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here.”

Senator Warren was given an opportunity to respond, and she said in part, “I do not sell access to my time. I don’t do call time with millionaires and billionaires.”

At this point, Pete attempted to interrupt, turned toward, as he stood directly alongside her, asking, “As of when Senator?,” though she continued without skipping a beat, and saying, “I don’t meet behind closed doors with big dollar donors. And look… I’ve taken one that ought to be an easy step for everyone here. I’ve said to anyone who donates to me, ‘if you want to donate to me, that’s fine; but don’t come around later expecting to be named ambassador.’ Because that’s what goes on in these high-dollar fundraisers. I said ‘no,’ and I asked everybody on this stage to join me. This ought to be an easy step. And this is the problem: If you can’t stand up and take the steps that are relatively easy, can’t stand up to the wealthy and well-connected, when it’s relatively easy when you’re a candidate, then how can the American people believe you’re gonna’ stand up to the wealthy and well-connected when you’re President, and it’s really hard?”

At that point, Moderator Alberta attempted to regain control of the debate, and pitched to Senator Klobuchar who forcefully made her way into the verbal fray by saying, “I did not come here to… listen to this argument. I came here to make a case for progress, and I have never even been to a wine cave – I’ve been to The Wind Cave in South Dakota, which I suggest you go to. So what is making a case for progress about? That is what unites us up here instead of what divides us, which is campaign finance reform. That means passing a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United. It means making the first bill we pass when I am President will be HR-1, which is the ethics reform passed in the House, which is currently sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk, along with 400 bills.”

Candidate Tom Steyer’s prescient remarks about Trump’s campaign track followed closely on the tail end of those lively candidate exchanges.

Businessman & Democratic nominee candidate Tom Steyer

He said in part that, “We know how he’s gonna’ run. He told us last week. He looked at a group of Americans and said, ‘I don’t like you, you don’t like me… it doesn’t matter, you’re gonna’ support me ’cause the Democrats will destroy the economy in 15 minutes.’ We need to go after this guy – he’s a different breed of cat – and we need to beat him. And we need to talk about prosperity.”

Fear has long been an effective campaign tactic and tool, most prominently used by Republicans, though historically, Democrats have used it as well, most notably as LBJ’s 1964 television ad popularly known as “Daisy,” which depicted a young girl picking petals from a daisy flower, followed by a mushroom cloud from an atomic test explosion.

⬇︎–Article Continues Below “Daisy” Video–⬇︎

Following a question asked by Tim Alberta, Chief Political Correspondent of Politico, to MN Senator Amy Klobuchar to comment upon a remark recently made by former POTUS Obama that “if women were in charge, you’d see a significant improvement on just about everything,” he then asked Senator Elizabeth Warren essentially the same thing, adding that, “Senator Warren, you would be the oldest president ever inaugurated. I’d like you to weigh in as well.”

Senator Warren retorted that, “I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” which elicited a laugh from Moderator Alberta, smiles from the candidates, and applause from the audience.

Before that, Moderator Alberta addressed Mr. Biden saying, “If elected, you would turn 82 at the end of your first term. You’d be the oldest president in American history.”

Referring to the late British Prime Minister who, from 1951-55 guided England to victory during WWII, Biden interrupted saying, “What about Winston Churchill? American history?” At the outset of that time, Churchill was aged 71.

There was a little jovial back-and-forth between Biden and Alberta, and Biden continued saying, “I was joking. That was a joke.”

After much audience laughter, Biden added that, “Politico doesn’t have much of a sense of humor,” to which Alberta replied, “Oh, we’ve got a great sense of humor… they wouldn’t have put me on stage otherwise.”

Of course, the matter that Mr. Alberta was obliquely raising was one of age. Ageism continues to be a practical cudgel, and not-so “secret weapon” the media is beating the candidates with.

Of course, it started in the 1984 Presidential Debate with Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan, when Reagan, who was campaigning for re-election and then aged 73, was asked about his age and famously replied, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” At the time, Mondale was aged 56.

As they race toward the June 2020 Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Fiserv Forum July 13-16, the candidates can likely be expected to increase their oblique attacks upon their opponents’ positions as they jockey for position.

The next scheduled Democratic debate will be:

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register at Drake University.

Mark your calendars!

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