I did not watch the first night’s Democrat Presidential Candidates debate. Why did I not?
Well, why should I have? I may not be the single most important in the world, but my time has value, too. Thus, for example, I write my articles with deep respect for my readership because readers’ time has value. When I write longer, rather than shorter, it is because I respect those readers who find the longer exposition worthwhile. Sometimes I write less because, well, that is all I have to say.
But time has value. All because others spend millions promoting an event does not mean that the event has time-value to me. I have stopped watching Mets games; they no longer have time value. Even Yankees games — I usually go to my MLB.com account after the game and just watch the innings when they scored runs to see how they did it, sort of like watching the old “Columbo” TV show. You know who did it and who will figure it out, but you wonder how. So I skipped the first night because no one on that night’s stage is going to be elected President of the United States, probably not even selected as Democrat nominee. Princess Speaking Bull was the strongest of that crowd, and she ain’t going nowhere, except maybe to Cherokee, North Carolina. O’Rourke is a joke, a kid born into tons of wealth, with White Privilege and a skateboard, who used that head start on life to hack computers, break in to facilities, drive drunk and then speed away from the scene of the accident, and fake suckers into thinking he is Mexican. “Beto,” my petoot! More like Play-Do O’Rourke. So I skipped the first night, but I did read that a bunch of them spoke in Spanish, even without the moderators having to “Dial 2.”
I watched the second night on Thursday because I wanted to see how Joe Biden would hold up under the lights and whether Swalwell finally would admit on the national stage that his campaign is just a goof. Gillibrand disappointed because she pandered only to women — not a single mention of “Gay Rights!” or how she was the first to say that Clinton should have resigned the presidency, albeit years after endorsing him, campaigning with him, having him campaign for her, and taking Clinton money. She did not even have the guts to wear that tight T-shirt that she wore to the gay bar: “Love Is Brave!”
She probably avoided “Gay Rights!” because she knew that Pete the Squirt would call her on it:
“Gay Rights, my buttigieg! You are not getting the gay vote, pal. I am. If ‘Beto’ and Castro are gonna speak Spanish to get that vote, I can out-gay you any day of the week to get that vote. So just stick with your ‘women need to run the world’ thing, and see whether Kamala can deal with that.”
I guess Gillibrand stayed away from “Love Is Brave!” because we had some chick named “Williamson” on the stage, running for a 30-minute daily talk show on MSNBC. Basically, whoever she is, her closing message was: “I will win with love.” That recalled for me some prostitute who ran for governor in California two decades ago, and others of that ilk. They all run on a platform — or was it a pole? — of solving all the world’s problems with … love. Ilona Staller, aka Cicciolina, the porn actress elected to the Italian Parliament, who delivered her campaign speeches topless. Kristin Davis, the brothel madam for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, ran for New York Governor after his term in office was spent. Margo St. James, a career hooker, ran to serve on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, alongside Willie Brown.
But Williamson is not of that sordid sort, though it is not clear who she is or why she is there, other than hoping for an MSNBC gig. Yet there she was telling us that she will change the world, if elected, with love. And she said it with such a mean, angry stare. Love, dammit! I far prefer Andrew Lloyd’s way of conveying that love changes everything.
Aside from love, the other main theme often seemed to be: “Existential Threat.” Trump is an existential threat. Climate change is an existential threat. The border crisis that they all tell us is no crisis is an existential threat. We lock children in cages, an existential threat. Obama created those cages — not an existential threat. Vacuuming and suctioning the body parts of fully formed fetuses in their ninth month — not an existential threat. Mitch McConnell — an existential threat.
No one spoke Spanish all night. Not even a commercial for tacos or burritos. I was disappointed because I had practiced understanding Spanish all day by calling the utility company and dialing “2.”
Bernie Sanders managed to promote his Stalinist Communist platform without speaking a word of Russian. I know only four words of Russian: Da, Nyet, Sputnik, and Vodka. My wife knows four Russian words, too: Get. Moose. And. Squirrel.
And Andrew Yang, searching the stage for his Yin to run as his vice president, managed to be the candidate who did not find China to be our Number One adversary. Even Biden now finds it an existential threat.
Kamala Harris came to the debate with the best prepared line. We all knew that, with ten people struggling for air time — and, frankly, just for air — there would be moments of everyone talking over each other, interrupting and fighting to be heard above the din, sort of like a drive in a Manhattan taxi with the windows open. So she came ready: Hey, we did not come here for a “food fight” but to put food on people’s plates! That was a good line, probably drafted by one of Jon Stewart’s former gag writers among the two dozen he employed to make it seem each night that he was clever, witty, and spontaneous.
Joe Biden probably wished he had thought of that line first. No worries — he will plagiarize it soon enough. And truth to tell, he did better than I expected. It is easy to take pot shots at a guy who is so adept at pot-shooting himself, but really he stayed awake all two hours, did not really gaffe at all, did not melt under attack. For those of you not from The Homeless State, we Californians all just knew that, at some point, Kamala Harris was going to do her famous “I was bused to school in second grade” shtick. And when she would do so, she was going to leverage it into an attack, on the verge of carefully practiced near-tears, against Biden for trying to pass bipartisan legislation in the Senate on non-racial issues with senators who also happened to be racist. An existential threat.
Since it takes 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate, either you work with the others, or you get nothing done. So he worked with the Senate racists and bigots of his day, and those haters really were racists and bigots, not like today when you call someone a “Racist!” if you disagree with his or her politics, views on culture and music, favorite sports team, or even preferred flavor of ice cream. The interesting thing, of course, is that all the racists with whom Biden worked, all the bigoted, segregationist racists in the Senate were Democrats. Slavery always belonged to the Democrats. And indeed Biden, too, was overtly racist in his day. Heck, he even let it slip in a previous Democrat presidential campaign when he complimented Obama by noting that, despite Obama being Black, he also was clean. Would a non-racist mind think that way?
It is hard to predict how the polls will move after the two nights of debates. I think Bernie probably dropped a bit, not much. The others are catching on to him. I think Biden did pretty well but will drop about five points, maybe eight, because the others stood alongside him for two hours and showed that he does not offer much different from what they do. Swalwell went nowhere. Williamson probably will find her email inbox swamped with sexual solicitations from perverted people, men and women and “non-binary,” who offer themselves up for love. Harris probably goes up three to five points because I think she scored by confronting Biden directly with well-studied near-tears and that line about the food fights. Yang will need to create a new algorithm to detect who his remaining voter is. Hickenlooper and Bennet can share an Uber back to Denver; they both tried moderation and focused on how Trump is the cause of all the world’s problems, but no one warned them that all the others on stage already had the same playbook. If I left anyone out, I guess they left no impression. So at least none of them will be an existential threat.