ChrisWeigant.com

Snap Reactions To The Seventh Democratic Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 00:12 UTC ]

To use a sports metaphor, we're right at the end of the pre-season and about to start the actual games that count. Tonight was the last presidential debate between the Democratic candidates before Iowa votes in its caucuses. From now on, in each subsequent debate, we'll know not just who is up in the public opinion polling, but who has done better at the actual polls, where voters cast their ballots for the Democratic nomination.

Tonight's debate was the smallest yet, as only the top six candidates qualified. In order of their current poll standings, we had: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, and Amy Klobuchar. I was a little surprised that Steyer ranked above Klobuchar (mostly because he almost didn't qualify for tonight), but he's recently seen a surge in state-level polling due to running ads in states the other candidates have been ignoring, so I suppose that's what put him above Klobuchar.

Some general comments about tonight are in order before I break down what I thought about each candidate's performance. We had a much more substantive debate all around because there were only six people on the stage. Each candidate got a lot more time than in any previous debate, and was thus able to cover more ground about their own platforms and agendas.

The audience -- and the general tone of the debate -- was a lot more subdued than on previous nights. Now, this could be due to multiple reasons, I admit. CNN could have issued harsher instructions to the crowd beforehand, for instance, which cowed them into being quieter. But I think that the real reason the whole night seemed, well, politer was that it was held in Iowa. It's a polite place. I think the candidates realized this also, which was why we saw very few actual fireworks tonight, as none of the candidates really went on a full frontal attack against any of the others. This could also be due to the fact that the field was smaller, because we didn't have anyone on the stage who was in that stage of desperation where "anything goes" seems like the only idea left. So, like I said, there are probably a number of reasons why things seemed calmer tonight than on previous nights.

The moderators, however, tried their mightiest to make the sparks fly. Mostly to little effect, as almost every extra-snarky prepared question was pretty much blunted by the candidates' refusal to take the easy bait and attack their rivals. Sometimes this extra-snarkiness got pretty annoying, in fact, but then it did seem like CNN was running their "B team" of moderators tonight. Wolf Blitzer, for one, has never impressed me much before, and he didn't change that perception tonight at all. I also thought the moderators weren't really listening to the answers to their questions at all, or were simply incapable of going with the flow and changing their next question on the fly to deal with something that was just said.

I predicted a few days ago that the debate would be heavy on foreign policy, and it was. The better part of the first hour were taken up with military and trade questions, with a heavy emphasis on Iran. This was a welcome change, because previous debates haven't touched upon the Middle East much at all.

I did think that all the candidates had a pretty good night. I didn't see anyone go down in flames, and even the minor stumbles were pretty subdued as well. This is likely due to the fact that all of these candidates are now veteran debaters, having previously survived six previous debates. They're getting better at it, in other words, and it shows.

OK, that's enough generalities, let's dig into each candidate's performance individually. I listed them from lowest poll numbers to highest this time around, for no particular reason (maybe next time I'll do them in reverse-alphabetical order, which was always my favorite back when I was in school, for one obvious reason). Oh, and as usual, all quotes are from my own hastily-jotted notes, so they may not be word-for-word perfect.

 

Amy Klobuchar

Senator Amy Klobuchar had an OK night, but I doubt she changed many voters' minds one way or the other. As usual, she had some canned jokes, and as usual she landed some of them and flubbed the landing on others. She didn't come across nearly as angry or desperate as she's seemed in earlier debates, but then again if anyone knows what Iowa voters want to see it would be her, just on geographical grounds alone. When she talks of her father working in the Iron Range in Minnesota, it's a pretty good bet that most Iowa voters know where she's talking about.

Klobuchar appeared to be trying a slightly different strategy tonight, which was to train all her fire on Donald Trump rather than her fellow Democrats. She pulled this off pretty well -- better than Biden did, in fact. She got very animated in describing how she'd take on Trump, which was pretty refreshing from her. But she was still rather weak in terms of providing specifics of her own agenda, beyond rehashing the healthcare reform debate once again.

Klobuchar also personalized her stories more than before (or perhaps I just noticed it more tonight?). She told Iowa voter stories and tried to make a personal connection with the voters. I have no idea if it will work or not, but it was done fairly well.

Some of Klobuchar's prepared jokes worked, as when she talked about getting 14 GOP votes on a bill to lower drug costs: "It was at midnight, so they might not have known what they were voting on." Even some of the other candidates laughed at that.

Klobuchar's worst moment came when she tried to name-drop some women in office and she absolutely flubbed remembering the name of the governor of Kansas. She could have just referred to the woman by her office, but instead specifically tried to name her... and couldn't remember what that name was (shades of Rick Perry's "Oops" moment, in other words). This was pretty awkward. She got a little testy towards Warren on the healthcare subject, in trying to make the case that her plan was "big, too," but the line didn't really work the way she wanted it to.

She also tried to get in several gambling references, perhaps in a bid to win Nevada voters? Her first such reference she introduced with "as I said in Las Vegas recently," but then she flubbed her "number on a wheel" line so it fell worse than flat. Later, she talked about "poker chips" (perhaps in reference to Trump casinos?) but these attempts also fell pretty flat.

Klobuchar also resumed her "I've got a plan not a pipedream" and she was actually asked about it towards the end of the debate, in the context of "how is that going to inspire the voters to turn out?" I cringed at plenty of the questions tonight because of how they were framed, but this one was actually a very interesting way to ask Klobuchar a question. Her answer was one of the choppiest ones of the whole night for Klobuchar, as she stumbled in trying to take the fight to Trump.

All around, Klobuchar did better than in some previous debates, but mostly because she was much less inclined to directly and provocatively pick fights with the other candidates on stage with her. She flubbed some of her prepared lines, but I would say she did a better job delivering them overall than she's done before.

 

Tom Steyer

I personally find Tom Steyer to be a pretty boring speaker, but maybe that's just my own bias talking. He had his moments tonight, mostly when asked questions that were firmly in his wheelhouse. My wife noticed one thing about Steyer that I hadn't (due to feverishly taking notes) -- he knew more than anyone else how to look directly into the camera, rather than looking slightly off-screen at the moderators or the in-house audience. This sounds like a little thing, but it communicates "I'm talking to you" to the viewers back home more than you might think.

Steyer was at a distinct disadvantage when talking about foreign policy, because he just doesn't have the experience of many of the other candidates on the stage. He tried to equate this lack of experience with Barack Obama, without any notable success.

Steyer was at his best when asked about climate change and impeachment, both of which he does have some experience with. His climate change answer was one of the best of anyone, and he played to the Iowa audience by promising that "on Day One" he'd overturn the Trump waivers on ethanol -- a minor issue nationally, but an enormous issue in corn-growing Iowa. On impeachment, his answer to a question about whether it "was worth it" to have spent all that money on the impeachment movement if Trump will not be removed from office by the Senate. Steyer framed it as a moral issue, and ended with: "Standing up for what is right is always worth it." This was easily his best line of the whole night.

Steyer's worst moment of the night wasn't all that bad, but I'm going to save it for the section on Buttigieg, because his response was more notable.

Steyer's best line of the night came when talking about healthcare, when he was agreeing with Elizabeth Warren about how the healthcare industry corporations dominate the issue: "This is cruelty for money." That's a great line, and it was well-delivered.

Steyer's best performance overall, though, was on how eager he was to "take Trump on on the economy." He quite correctly pointed out exactly how Trump is going to run against Democrats: "Democrats will destroy the economy in 15 minutes," and laid out how he would counter such attacks. "Trump is a fake and a fraud on the economy," said Steyer, and he seemed genuinely eager to do battle with Trump over the issue, which was very interesting to see. Other candidates will have to start picking up on this concept sooner or later, but Steyer led the way tonight.

 

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete did OK tonight, but not any better than he's done before. Not much worse, either, to be fair. He tried to equate serving as a soldier with foreign policy experience, but even though he did a fine job of personalizing it (telling a story of leaving family at home), it somehow didn't work all that well when stacked up against the other candidates' experience on the stage.

Like others on stage, Buttigieg seemed content to train most of his fire at Trump, which did actually work fairly well for him. During the Middle East debate, he correctly pointed out that Trump campaigned on getting out of endless wars, but is now actually sending more troops to the region instead. He got in one good point on the subject of Congress and the president as well, when he said he'd redo the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and require a 3-year sunset clause, which would force Congress to reauthorize it every three years. This point was kind of lost in the fray, but it's a great idea.

Buttigieg tried to have it both ways on trade deals, though (again, to be fair, he wasn't the only one on stage to attempt this). He spoke of all the promises back in the 1990s which were made to Midwestern towns that were ultimately not kept, but then he came out in support of the new U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement trade deal -- which would seem to be just more such promises, in a way.

Buttigieg didn't get nearly as many incoming attacks from the other candidates as he did the last few times, but this is likely due to the fact that his numbers have never really taken off the way they were supposed to. He's seen as less of a threat by the others, although Mayor Pete is still polling pretty strongly in Iowa and other individual states. There was a testy exchange between him and Warren, after the moderator asked another well-framed question on healthcare reform. Pete was asked why he presented his "Medicare For All Who Want It" as totally optional when his own plan would automatically sign people up -- and charge them -- for health insurance if they didn't have any. Buttigieg has never really been asked about this before, and he made the case that there can be "no free riders" and that everyone has to be on a plan -- either the public option or private insurance. This was a distinction that none of the previous moderators or the other candidates have pointed out, so it was interesting. Warren put Buttigieg's plan down, after which he insisted "It's not a small plan!" In the end, Warren got the better of the exchange.

Buttigieg did have one amusing moment, when Tom Steyer tried to hit him for working for McKinsey -- to which Pete responded: "You demoted me -- I thought I was an associate." I didn't jot down exactly what Steyer had said to prompt this (sorry), but it was a pretty funny response, and the audience loved it. It also defused the issue entirely, as Buttigieg merely said his McKinsey experience was a small part of his life and pivoted to attacking Trump.

The African-American woman moderator seemed to be the worst in terms of adding extra snark to her questions, and her question to Buttigieg on why he didn't have much black support was no exception. Buttigieg's answer was pretty good ("The black voters who know me best support me"), but it doesn't erase the fact that this is indeed a weak spot for him.

Buttigieg's best moment came when he jumped into the fray on how to take on Trump, stating he was eager to hit Trump with his "bone spurs" draft deferment as well as his support from religious voters. This was his best line of the night: "God does not belong to a political party," and it got a big Iowa hand from the audience.

All in all, Pete Buttigieg didn't do much to hurt his chances in Iowa or nationally, but it's also doubtful whether he did much to help his chances, either.

 

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren had a great debate, at least to my eyes. Just like with Buttigieg, Warren's poll numbers have slumped over the past few months, which makes her less threatening to the other top candidates, so she faced fewer direct attacks from the other candidates.

Warren did a good job of personalizing her answers, as when she talked about her family and her upbringing. Her brothers served in the military and while two of them are Republicans and disagree with her on some things, there are others (like corporations paying a fair amount of taxes) where they do agree. Warren spoke of how hard it was to raise children and get child care, and of growing up in Oklahoma. These humanizing stories are mostly ignored by the pundits, but they do go over well with the voters.

Warren admirably kept pivoting back to her campaign's main theme, which is fighting corruption in the way government works. She tied all sorts of issues to this broad theme, as she has done before. In doing so, she showed the most discipline in messaging of anyone on stage. She was even more focused on her theme than Bernie, which is saying a lot.

Warren, like Klobuchar, had some scripted lines which she deployed well. On the Middle East she recounted hearing in Senate committees the generals telling her "we're going to turn the corner soon" so many times that "we're going in circles." Hokey, but it was delivered pretty well.

Of course, what everyone was looking forward to -- because the media (CNN in particular) had been hyping it so much -- was a gigantic deathmatch between Warren and Sanders. Even though the moderators tried to goad this into exploding, for the most part it just did not happen. Once again, the questions were posed as snarkily as possible, but neither one took the bait enough to directly attack the other. Nobody said: "But you told me to my face..." directly to the other, and in fact neither one really showed much interest at all in validating the media's "big battle between Warren and Sanders" storyline.

Warren didn't back down from her assertion that Bernie did tell her this, but again, she did so in a very non-confrontational way. She then immediately moved on to pointing out how the women on the stage had a better record than the men -- "collectively, the men have lost 10 elections while the two women have won theirs." Warren then pivoted to answering a point from Bernie's call sheet, stating that she was the one would could "excite all parts of the Democratic Party." But that was it. In the end, there weren't fireworks, although Warren did lay a trap for Bernie that he walked right into (more on this in his section).

To me, the scene was reminiscent of two gladiators shoved forcefully into an arena filled with deadly weapons, and then both refusing to pick them up and fight each other. The media really, really wanted to see the fireworks, but they never happened. Too bad for them.

What the media really didn't understand in ginning up this fake fight was that both Warren and Sanders are competing for the same voters -- the most progressive people in the Democratic electorate. If either one of them had gone for the jugular tonight, it might have caused so much resentment that it created a permanent grudge. In Iowa, please remember, if your candidate in your caucus doesn't get 15 percent support, then you have to immediately decide who your number two pick is. So why would either one of them jeopardize that?

Warren did take a potshot at Pete Buttigieg over healthcare reform, stating baldly: "Pete's numbers just don't add up."

Warren's best moment came in an answer she's given before, on why she'd be OK with not means-testing free tuition for all. She reminded everyone that her wealth tax will bring in far more from millionaires and billionaires than their kids will ever use in public college tuition. This effectively undercut the argument Pete Buttigieg has been trying to make about giving a free ride to the "kids of millionaires and billionaires."

Warren's closing statement was interesting, because it sounded rather ad-libbed. She ran down a list (that she said she jotted down during the commercial break) of all the subjects that hadn't been debated tonight. It was an impressively long list, and it had some key items on it. Again, the list itself might have been prepared beforehand, but Warren did a good job of making it sound at least partially ad-libbed, which I don't think I've ever seen in a closing statement before (they usually sound pretty over-scripted).

Warren had a good night, all around. She took the battle to Trump several times, and she stood her ground on other issues as well. She didn't brutally attack anyone, but then again she didn't have any brutal incoming attacks to deal with either.

 

Bernie Sanders

As I've already said, Bernie also refused to take the bait on the whole "feud with Warren" media obsession. Although he did fall into a verbal trap. But his initial answer was a strong endorsement of the idea that a woman can indeed become president, and that he was in no way sexist about the issue. I had heard one snarky line from someone on Bernie's team heading into the debate ("Bernie was a feminist back when Elizabeth Warren was a Republican"), but he wisely chose not to use this tonight. In fact, in their initial statements after being goaded by the moderators, I thought both Bernie's and Warren's answers were strong and specifically designed to put the whole non-scandal behind them.

But back to that trap. I'm going to have to check the tape (or the transcript) to verify the exact language, but when Warren was making her point about the women on stage having a better win record than the men, she said (very specifically): "I'm the only one on this stage who has beaten a Republican incumbent in the past 30 years." Bernie jumped into this trap by not listening to the final clause (again, I have yet to verify this exact language). He stated that he too had beaten an incumbent Republican, when he won his House seat, back in the late 1980s (or was it early 90s? -- that's another thing I'm going to have to check). Warren let him try to boast and "correct" her, then she asked when he had done this... after which she counted off how long ago it was and dropped the boom: "That's right -- you did so 30 years ago..." before repeating the "...in the past 30 years" qualifier. This was a cheap shot, and one obviously preplanned, but it was nowhere near the fireworks that the media was expecting. Bernie essentially laughed it off when he realized he had become ensnared in the trap, and both candidates immediately moved on.

Bernie did a fairly good job of making the case that his views on foreign policy had been proven correct over and over again, to contrast his experience with Biden's. The two never really got into any serious head-on confrontation on the issue, but they did both forcefully make their own case, I thought. Bernie did get off one funny line while Biden was speaking, but he was laughing with Biden, not at him, and the audience loved it. But I'll save that for the Biden section.

Bernie was strongest when he spoke of his record against trade deals, and why he would not support the U.S.M.C.A. even though the biggest Union in the country does now support it. Bernie's case -- as it always has been -- is that "we can do much better."

Bernie's best line of the night was essentially a reframing of a point he's made many times before. The wording of Bernie's answer tonight was much better, though. When asked about the high price tag for Medicare For All, Bernie accurately pointed out: "It will cost substantially less than the status quo." Short, snappy, and to the point -- this is the thing that the other candidates trying to scare the voters with high price tags are indeed ignoring. This led to a little back-and-forth between him and Biden, but the facts and numbers they were tossing around in the weeds weren't anywhere near as effective as the "substantially less" line.

Bernie got several inane questions (served up with extra snark), but the best question he got was from the CNN audience (read by a moderator). It was from a guy in "an insurance town" who asked what will happen to the people who work for the industry if Medicare For All destroys all their jobs. That is an interesting question, and it was posed in a way that nobody's yet asked -- even though we've had the "Medicare For All" segment in every single debate. Bernie promised federal support for those displaced for "up to five years" which was interesting -- because, as I said, the subject has never come up before.

Sanders was also pretty good on climate change, challenging some of the other candidates' plans. Bernie admonished them that we had to act "not by 2050 or 2040, but now!"

Overall, Bernie had a pretty good night. He wasn't as shouty as previous debates, but then again there were fewer fireworks all around. He did a fine job of expressing his willingness to take on Trump, and he also largely kept to his favorite theme of inequality and the rigged system that the ultrawealthy have made our government into. Bernie's been on the rise in some very recent polls, and I could see tonight's performance boosting him even higher.

 

Joe Biden

Joe Biden may not have had as good a night as some of the other candidates, but he held his own. This was mostly due to their being fewer direct confrontations between the candidates, because in previous debates Biden has always gotten his feistiest when fending off such attacks. This time around there weren't many, and they were much less hard-edged as before.

Biden stumbled in his answers a few times and made a few minor misstatements (as when he started off his answer on the Iraq War by stating that "13 years ago" he was against the Iraq War? In 2007? Perhaps my notes were wrong, to be charitable. Biden did go on to fully admit that his Iraq War vote had been a mistake. Biden also had some moments of stuttering, but it's hard to say what effect this will have on the viewers.

When asked if he would meet with the leader of North Korea without any preconditions, Biden answered no, and then went into a riff on the fact that Kim Jong Un had recently called him "a rabid dog who should be beaten with a stick," which was where Bernie Sanders jumped in with a joke: "Other than that, though, you like him!" Biden and the whole audience got a pretty good laugh out of that one.

Biden, as usual, tends to get into the weeds of many issues he is asked about. This isn't necessarily a negative, because he usually shows what a deep understanding of such details he has. But with only limited time, he never has long enough to explain what he's actually talking about, which happened a few times tonight. Also as usual, Biden made some fun out of the fact that he was the only one on stage actually following the rules by shutting up when his time was up.

Biden did make one good point that was mostly lost on the moderators. In doing so, he was actually answering a criticism that has been levelled at him previously. Biden's campaign theme revolves around a return to normalcy, where he can reach across the aisle and get things done. He's been hit over being too naive on this issue, when people point out the fact that the GOP that opposed Barack Obama was just as intransigent as they are now. Biden addressed this by pointing out that he "knows what Donald Trump and the Republican Party are now like" because they've tried to savage both him and his son throughout the whole impeachment saga. I though this was a point well-made, although nobody picked up on it (neither the moderators nor any of the other candidates).

Biden did pick up on Tom Steyer's eagerness to take on Trump over the economy at the very end, stating that he too was equally as eager to do so. But Biden's best moment came in the closing statements, where he got more animated and more believable than he had been for most of the night. "Character is on the ballot" he started with, then running down why decency is worth fighting for in the age of Trump. He ended with his "Restore America's soul" campaign line, and the whole speech was much better than anything else he said all night.

 

Conclusions

Tonight's debate was Iowa-nice. Whether you think that's a good thing or not depends on how much you like to see debate fireworks, really. But unless you live in Iowa, you weren't really the intended audience.

This is the final debate before the Iowa voters will be the first to actually register their support for the Democratic candidates. So all the candidates were pretty cautious tonight, never going over the line into anger or ugliness. There were some disagreements, but they were on policy issues and were nowhere near as personal as they've been in previous debates.

I don't know how much anyone's mind will be changed by tonight's debate, but then again I'm not an Iowa voter either. There is a lot of late movement among the electorate (as there almost always is), meaning there's still a fair amount of voter uncertainty out there. This was probably helped by the debate we had tonight much more than if they had all been at each other's throats. Again, the fact that there were only six on the stage meant there were no gadflies or desperate candidates with nothing much to lose launching vicious attacks at the frontrunners.

One final thing worth noting can either be seen cynically or hopefully. Iowa farmers got a lot of mentions tonight, in all kinds of different answers (climate change, trade, etc.). This is a good thing, and something I've been begging the candidates to pay more attention to. Trump's trade wars have hurt farmers more than anyone else, and quite a few of them are probably ready to be persuaded to try someone new. Again, you can be cynical and say "they'll forget all about it once the campaign moves on from Iowa" but I for one hope not.

In any case, the final pre-season debate is now over and we won't have another one until the break between Iowa and New Hampshire. The dynamic for the next debate is going to heavily depend on the Iowa results, so it should be a lot more interesting. The candidates won't have just polling to brag about, a few of them will have good results from the caucuses under their belts. Which way the chips fall will likely determine who will have a target on them then. But tonight, I thought everyone had an acceptable night without anyone really standing out all that much from the others. As I said, Iowa-nice.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

43 Comments on “Snap Reactions To The Seventh Democratic Debate”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    I did think that all the candidates had a pretty good night. I didn't see anyone go down in flames, and even the minor stumbles were pretty subdued as well. This is likely due to the fact that all of these candidates are now veteran debaters, having previously survived six previous debates. They're getting better at it, in other words, and it shows.

    Well, I *DID* say my prediction was likely wish-casting, eh? :D

    Sanders was also pretty good on climate change, challenging some of the other candidates' plans. Bernie admonished them that we had to act "not by 2050 or 2040, but now!"

    And yet, the FACTS don't support the urgency..

    Why is that??

    He did a fine job of expressing his willingness to take on Trump,

    With ALL of the candidates, their willingness to take on President Trump is not the question..

    The question is, can any one of them take on President Trump and WIN...

    And the answer to that is a simple -NO-...

    All in all and as before...

    The biggest winner of this debate was President Trump..

    Because NONE of the candidates showed ANY capabilities of beating President Trump...

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sen. Ted Cruz floats idea of 'witness reciprocity' for Senate impeachment trial
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/witness-reciprocity-trump-impeachment-senate-trial-ted-cruz-mitch-mcconnell

    What an awesome idea!!! Stupendous!!! Excellent!!!

    I wish I had thought of it..

    Oh.. wait.. I *DID* think of it!!! :D

    So, if Democrats want witnesses, then the GOP will get witnesses..

    Whistleblower.. Schiff-head... Joe Biden... Hunter Biden...

    Keep in mind, since the GOP is running the show, the GOP's witnesses will come first..

    In other words, we'll find out BEFORE the Dem's witnesses that this whole thing was a setup from the word go... This will likely provide the impetus to dismiss all the charges even before the Dem witnesses are called.. :D

    What ya'all think??

    Do ya'all STILL want witnesses?? :D

    "I love it when a plan comes together!"
    -Hannibal Smith, THE A-TEAM

    :D

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Warren ignored Bernie's offer of a hand-shake...

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1217299743854026752

    Yep, there are some hard feelings there.. No doubt about it..

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apparently, things in the debate were not as cordial as ya thought, CW...

    Warren-Sanders clash ‘very dispiriting,’ Dems' debate like 'cold oatmeal,' CNN’s Van Jones says

    Tuesday’s Democratic debate clash between Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders may have stemmed from their respective election strategies as next month’s Iowa caucuses draw closer, but it left CNN’s progressive commentator Van Jones shaking his head.

    “To see those two have that level of vitriol was very dispiriting,” Jones said during a network panel discussion after the debate in Des Moines, Iowa, less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

    It also left him thinking Democrats were unlikely to defeat President Trump in November, he said.
    https://www.foxnews.com/media/warren-sanders-clash-very-dispiriting-little-hope-dems-can-beat-trump-cnns-van-jones-says

    And another prominent Democrat sees the writing on the wall..

    If ya'all don't curb your enthusiasm yer in for a world of pain come 4 Nov 2020....

    Don't worry.. I'll be here to help ya'all thru it.. :D

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    And for Trump haters.....

    Federal judge rules in favor of Trump administration in family separation case
    https://www.foxnews.com/us/judge-rules-trump-administration-within-rights-in-separating-children-at-border-from-parents-deemed-unfit

    The hits just KEEP ON COMING...

    Once again, Democrats lose in the courts... :D

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all just HAVE to marvel at President Trump's uncanny ability to create jobs...

    Iran is in need of a new military general..

    President Trump even creates jobs in Iran!!! :D

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yunno, ya really have to feel for Pelosi and the Democrats..

    They are grasping at straws...

    Too bad they banned straws..

    Ba Da Da...

    :D

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    PELOSI CAVES!!!! :D

    Nancy Pelosi gambled and lost on the impeachment delay

    CNN)Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement Tuesday that the full House would vote on sending the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate this week -- a move that will formally trigger the start of the trial against the President in the upper chamber -- amounts to a stark concession that her plan to delay that action for nearly a month failed.

    When the House passed the two articles of impeachment against Trump -- one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress -- in mid-December, Pelosi pointedly refused to transmit the articles to the Senate. In explaining that move, she said this at the time: "The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we'll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward and who we will choose."

    Pelosi's goal was simple: To try to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's hand. Pelosi wanted to use her possession of the articles of impeachment to yield promises and/or compromises from McConnell -- most notably on the issue of witnesses being allowed to be called in the Senate trial.

    Except that McConnell wasn't playing ball.

    "There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure," McConnell said earlier this month. "We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats' turn is over. The Senate has made its decision." And McConnell backed up that no-negotiation position with a show of force: Announcing that he had secured the support of a majority of the Senate to begin the impeachment trial without any decision on witnesses.

    Which left Pelosi hung out to dry. The leverage she imagined she possessed to get McConnell to accede to her wishes didn't exist. McConnell was perfectly happy waiting while Pelosi held on to the articles of impeachment, probably believing rightly that these sorts of delaying tactics would look like just more Washington funny business to the average person. And he knew that whenever she decided to send the articles over, he had a majority waiting to open the trial without any promises made on witnesses.
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/14/politics/nancy-pelosi-mitch-mcconnnell/index.html

    Poor Nancy...

    She tried to play nth level 3D chess but found out all she could master was tiddlywinks.. :D

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, if Democrats want witnesses, then the GOP will get witnesses..

    Whistleblower.. Schiff-head... Joe Biden... Hunter Biden...

    OR.....

    Or the Senate can do what the House did and JUST call GOP witnesses and deny Democrats they ability to call THEIR witnesses..

    That would be fitting, considering how House Dims ran their part of the impeachment.

    Yea.. I can be on board with that...

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Warren-Sanders feud just got way worse

    (CNN)Someone is lying. Or, at the very least, badly mis-remembering.

    That's the only possible takeaway from the ongoing back and forth between Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts over whether the former told the latter that he did not believe a woman could be elected president in 2020. And the feud got worse, not better, during -- and after --

    Asked directly about Warren's statement that Sanders had told her in a December 2018 meeting that he didn't believe a woman could win, the Vermont senator said this:

    "Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't say it. And I don't want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody who knows me knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be President of the United States."

    Warren was then asked what her reaction was to what Sanders had said back in 2018. "I disagreed," she said. "Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it's time for us to attack it head-on."

    And that was it -- until the end of the debate. Sanders and Warren approached one another and he stuck out his hand. She did not shake it. What followed was a brief but clearly uncomfortable conversation. As Sanders' campaign co-chair Nina Turner put it on CNN: "I'm not sure what she said, but you can read the body language. Obviously, their conversation was not pleasant."

    Uh, yeah. Watch it for yourself.
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/15/politics/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-debate-2020/index.html

    I disagree with President Trump..

    I could easily see Bernie saying something like that...

    But, someone is lying.. Not "paraphrasing".. Not spinning.. LYING...

    My money is on Bernie..

    As an aside, I guess my prediction wasn't so much "wish casting" after all.. :D

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's take a closer look at Bernie's denial..

    "Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't say it. And I don't want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody who knows me knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be President of the United States."

    You see how he sidesteps and deflects..

    NO ONE is accusing Bernie of thinking or not thinking.. I am SURE Bernie doesn't believe a woman CAN'T be POTUS...

    But the question before is, did Bernie **SAY** that a woman can't win in 2020...

    As a way to try and dissuade Warren from running, I could easily picture Bernie saying it..

    The issue is not what Bernie believes..

    The issue is what Bernie SAID in 2018...

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Then the fight turned to social media. As of Wednesday morning, the hashtag "#neverWarren" was trending as Bernie allies took to Twitter to attack the Massachusetts senator as a lying snake. (Not kidding; snake emojis were everywhere in the anti-Warren tweets.) "Lie or mischaracterize your 'friend's' comments, double down, refuse to shake his hand," tweeted Kyle Kulinski, a prominent liberal and YouTube host. "Are you watching America?" tweeted liberal activist and Sanders supporter Shaun King: "When @BernieSanders beat a Republican to win his congressional seat 29 years ago, Elizabeth Warren was still a Republican. One reason she never lost to a Republican is that she was a Republican for the first 47 years of her life."

    On the other side of the argument, Third Way senior vice president Lanae Erickson tweeted this of the Sanders-Warren handshake-that-wasn't: "That moment when the dude who called himself a "feminist" on his profile shows his true colors on date 5...You hate to see it."

    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died

    -Don McClean, AMERICAN PIE

    :D

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    JL,

    Question for you, unrelated to any politics..

    The "poet" in your moniker.. Is that a factual representation or just how you fancy yourself..

    I am not setting you up for anything.. I have a sincere reason for asking unrelated to ANYTHING political...

  14. [14] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I only saw a few minutes when the moderator asked Bernie how he would pay for medicare for all.

    He then explained it would eliminate many costs now borne by individuals and employers and would cost less than what we are spending now to deliver more.

    Klobuchar's and Buttigieg's responses sounded like Republican talking points.

    Are they really running or are they just there for the other candidates to practice debating Republicans?

    Klobuchar was particularly funny because right after Bernie explained how he would pay for medicare for all she said that Bernie would have to explain how he would pay for it.

    When Buttigieg talked I just kept saying "That's a lie". So I guess if Bernie or Warren can beat Buttigieg (mini-Trump?) they can beat Trump.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Steyer's best performance overall, though, was on how eager he was to "take Trump on on the economy." He quite correctly pointed out exactly how Trump is going to run against Democrats:
    "Democrats will destroy the economy in 15 minutes," and laid out how he would counter such attacks." Trump is a fake and a fraud on the economy," said Steyer, and he seemed genuinely eager to do battle with Trump over the issue, which was very interesting to see. Other candidates will have to start picking up on this concept sooner or later, but Steyer led the way tonight.

    This was the key moment in the debate last night and economic policy should be a critical part of the Democratic strategy in 2020.

    The last three decades provide stark and ample proof of which political party offers the best stewardship of the economy. Republican economic policy and ideology have been anti-growth except for the top income tier, bad for the overall health of the economy and almost always lead to disaster, great and small.

    Democratic economic policy and ideology, on the other hand, have been pro-growth, good for the economy as a whole with some caveats and generally mitigate against disaster.

    Why Democrats can’t develop a winning message around these facts that overwhelms the Republican economic narrative is beyond my comprehension.

    You know, the last person in a Democratic administration who could make this argument in a clear and concise manner was none other than Senator Elizabeth Warren's perceived nemesis and President Obama’s first treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, the guy who merely spearheaded the effort to save Main Street from the most destructive global financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    And, now in this election cycle, it seems like Democrats are falling into a familiar trap as they continue to harp exclusively on the fact that the real economy is not as good as some number might suggest. Sure, they should start from that premise but then move on to what will get them elected.

    And, that is to finally, at long last, develop a message that can persuade voters that it’s the Democrats who have, time and again, implemented the kind of tax and fiscal policies that are pro-growth and that the vast majority of Americans can see and feel.

    If Democrats can’t do this, then I’m ready to make a prediction right here and now that president Trump will indeed be re-elected and Democrats will have deserved to lose.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Biden also had some moments of stuttering, but it's hard to say what effect this will have on the viewers.

    What affect has this had on viewers who watched previous debates?

    I think most voters know the history of Biden's stuttering and it has no effect on their analyses of Biden's debate performances.

    In fact, I would wager that debate performances do not generally rank high in the factors that impact voters' preferences. Because, if they did, Biden wouldn't still be the frontrunner.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Biden stumbled in his answers a few times and made a few minor misstatements (as when he started off his answer on the Iraq War by stating that "13 years ago" he was against the Iraq War? In 2007? Perhaps my notes were wrong, to be charitable. Biden did go on to fully admit that his Iraq War vote had been a mistake.

    I think it's important to be precise about Biden's vote for giving President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq under certain conditions. Biden did not say that his actual vote was a mistake. What was a mistake was thinking that Colin Powell had any influence with the Bush administration and believing that Bush/CHENY et al. were being truthful in his meetings with them about Iraq in that they would exhaust diplomatic efforts to get UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq in a serious effort to avoid war, and that America's allies would be on board if it came to war. Biden also insisted in his meetings with president Bush that no foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people.

    The AUMF in Iraq inspired a complicated debate in the Senate and it should not be given short shrift and rendered down to who voted for or against war. That only serves to obscure that debate and the context within which it occurred.

    Biden was critical of the war in Iraq soon after it began when the Bush administration proved unable to win the peace.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Biden, as usual, tends to get into the weeds of many issues he is asked about. This isn't necessarily a negative, because he usually shows what a deep understanding of such details he has. But with only limited time, he never has long enough to explain what he's actually talking about, which happened a few times tonight.

    Precisely!

    Which is why these fake debates are no way to choose a presidential nominee. Full stop.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Biden did pick up on Tom Steyer's eagerness to take on Trump over the economy at the very end, stating that he too was equally as eager to do so.

    Well, he should be eager!

    Biden is the best positioned and equipped to make the argument I noted above and expose Republican economic policy for what it is - bad for America and for most Americans.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Elizabeth & Bernie have appeared in my films. I love them both. Why Elizabeth chose to stick a knife in Bernie’s back is beyond me. At a time when job #1 is to remove Trump, how did this help? My new RUMBLE podcast “The Sad Downfall of Elizabeth Warren.”
    https://twitter.com/MMFlint/status/1217446338784309249

    Apparently, things weren't as milquetoast as first thought, eh? :D

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's hilarious to hear Dumbocrats whine and cry about the Senate being 'fair' and 'impartial'..

    Were House Dumbocrats fair and impartial when they ran their faux impeachment coup??

    HELL NO..

    As I said.. The Senate will be just as fair and impartial as House Dumbocrats were...

    If Dumbocrats don't like it.. They can shove it up their collective arses...

  22. [22] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [6]

    Michale wrote...

    Ya'all just HAVE to marvel at President Trump's uncanny ability to create jobs...

    Iran is in need of a new military general..

    President Trump even creates jobs in Iran!!! :D

    That's truly funny,Dude! :D

  23. [23] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [15] -

    I agree this was a pivotal moment... or should be, at any rate. I sat up when he said this and responded: "He's right!" I don't recall doing that at any other point during the debate (although I'd have to check my notes).

    I largely agree with the rest of your post, but would have said "Robert Reich" instead of Geithner, personally. He explains things pretty clearly most of the time and makes the case other Dems should be making.

    [16] -

    I hesitated to bring up the stuttering, but last time around a conservative (forget which one) tried to slam him for it, then learned he had an actual stuttering problem, then had to apologize. Maybe Huckasands? Could be.

    Because the problem had arisen, I thought someone on the right might try to bring it up again, and wondered if it would have any effect. What I should have added: "I think making fun of a speech defect will backfire on anyone who tries, personally." Sorry I didn't add that, because that's what I really think.

    [17] -

    Personally I think the whole Iraq vote thing is fading in voters' memories and isn't nearly as big a deal as Bernie tries to make it. As Pete said, many voters alive today weren't even born when that vote happened (or if they were, they were still in diapers).

    [18] -

    After I wrote this, I heard a very good comment from someone on the teevee: "With fewer candidates, they really need to lengthen the time for each response, and give them 3 or 4 minutes." That's a great idea, and I think it might benefit Biden in two ways: he could get to the end of his thought, and he wouldn't be as rushed in making it.

    -CW

  24. [24] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [7] -

    OK, credit where it's due... that straw rip was pretty funny!

    [21] -

    So you're still pretending you don't know the difference between a grand jury and a trial? C'mon, dude, you DO know the difference, you're just pretending you don't.

    -CW

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Personally I think the whole Iraq vote thing is fading in voters' memories and isn't nearly as big a deal as Bernie tries to make it.

    Well, I sure hope Bernie stops trying to make it a big deal because whenever he does I have to stop and think what year we're in and then get jolted back to the present. Heh.

  26. [26] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Listening to Geithner or Reich spewing corporate Democratic bullshit as a way to understand the economy is even funnier than Klobuchar and Buttigieg running as Democrats.

    While I can't speak on Geithner's writings, Reich has been re-writing the same basic article over and over many times a year for the last decade.

    If you're listening to those people it's no wonder you are so confused about the economy and the big money Democrats' economic plans.

  27. [27] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    [since my head exploded when I read this, I'm standing back, just in case yours does too... heh]

    Even Trump thinks the whole thing is a media-created non-story. Here's a quote from his rally last night:

    "She said that Bernie stated strongly that a woman can't win. I don't believe that Bernie said that. I really don't. It's not the kind of thing Bernie would say."
    -Donald Trump

    Whaddya think 'bout them apples, huh?

    -CW

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    So you're still pretending you don't know the difference between a grand jury and a trial? C'mon, dude, you DO know the difference, you're just pretending you don't.

    I know the difference between a grand jury/trial and impeachment, if that's what yer asking.. :D

    The simple fact is, House Democrats had their chance to call the witnesses they wanted.. Why didn't they?? The bullshit excuse of urgency doesn't hold water in light of Pelosi's bone head play..

    So, why not wait for the witnesses if Dems wanted them??

    Because they know that, even with the witnesses, they don't have a case...

    OK, credit where it's due... that straw rip was pretty funny!

    Thank ya... I have my moments... :D

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all just HAVE to marvel at President Trump's uncanny ability to create jobs...

    Iran is in need of a new military general..

    President Trump even creates jobs in Iran!!! :D

    That's truly funny,Dude! :D

    Moments x 2.. :D

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Whaddya think 'bout them apples, huh?

    Way ahead of ya, my friend.. :D

    I disagree with President Trump...
    -Michale, http://www.chrisweigant.com/2020/01/15/snap-reactions-to-the-seventh-democratic-debate/#comment-151705

    :D

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Jonathan Turley: Pelosi 'played into' McConnell's hands, 'destroyed' her own case for impeachment

    Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley laid out a sweeping indictment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arguing that her impeachment strategy backfired and gave Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the upper hand.

    "The delay now seems largely driven by a desire to preserve the image of Pelosi as a master strategist despite a blunder of the first order," Turley wrote in a column titled, "Pelosi's Blunder: How the House Destroyed its Own Case for Impeachment."

    His comments came as Pelosi prepared to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate, roughly a month after the House approved them. She initially withheld them in an apparent attempt to draw concessions from McConnell. On Wednesday she announced the seven lawmakers who will serve as impeachment managers to prosecute the case against the president at his Senate trial.

    "There was no reason why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would make concessions to get an impeachment that he loathed," Turley wrote.

    Turley similarly suggested that Pelosi pushed impeachment out of "vanity" and would pay a "high price" for doing so.
    https://www.foxnews.com/media/jonathan-turley-pelosi-blunder-impeachment

    Pelosi really scroo'ed da pooch...

    As I said.. NOT Nth level 3D Chess...

    Tiddlywinks...

  32. [32] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Ya'all just HAVE to marvel at President Trump's uncanny ability to create jobs...

    Iran is in need of a new military general..

    President Trump even creates jobs in Iran!!! :D

    Not just Iran! Think about how many hackers have been employed by China and Russia since Trump has requested their assistance in getting him elected!

    There will be a huge need for more oncologists in our country after Trump’s EPA stopped providing tracking of corporate dumping of toxic chemicals in our country...leaving communities completely in the dark about if they are at risk and making it easier for corporations to cover up their criminal activities!

    And based on the documents that Lev Parnas provided the Intelligence Committee, it looks as if Trump created a few jobs in the Ukraine — spies to monitor our ambassador and possible a hitman or two! And Trump and his administration will definitely be in the market for LOTS of defense attorneys in the coming months.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/01/15/four-big-takeaways-explosive-lev-parnas-documents/

  33. [33] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    I don't get cable channels on my TV, and I don't watch Democrat political debates even when they come on public TV, but as of the current moment, it appears to me that the Dems don't have a candidate who appears to be a likely winner, meaning the 2020 election is Trumps to lose.

    It is however worth noting that that was pretty much the exact situation in 2016 - Hillary was destined to win unless she screwed up, and contrary to all the Weigantian rationalizers' claims that "The Russians screwed her" "Comey and the FBI screwed her", in fact, Hillary screwed up all on her own, so who knows, maybe the Orange Moron will somehow manage to emulate her!l

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russ,

    Not just Iran! Think about how many hackers have been employed by China and Russia since Trump has requested their assistance in getting him elected!

    False equivalency..

    I have FACTS to support my claim..

    You have none..

    And based on the documents that Lev Parnas provided the Intelligence Committee, it looks as if Trump created a few jobs in the Ukraine — spies to monitor our ambassador and possible a hitman or two! And Trump and his administration will definitely be in the market for LOTS of defense attorneys in the coming months.

    Yer source is WaPoop..

    'nuff said..

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't get cable channels on my TV, and I don't watch Democrat political debates even when they come on public TV, but as of the current moment, it appears to me that the Dems don't have a candidate who appears to be a likely winner, meaning the 2020 election is Trumps to lose.

    Yep.. That's the consensus, even amongst Left Wingers..

    It is however worth noting that that was pretty much the exact situation in 2016 - Hillary was destined to win unless she screwed up, and contrary to all the Weigantian rationalizers' claims that "The Russians screwed her" "Comey and the FBI screwed her", in fact, Hillary screwed up all on her own, so who knows, maybe the Orange Moron will somehow manage to emulate her!l

    President Trump is way smarter than Hillary.. :D

  36. [36] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Not just Iran! Think about how many hackers have been employed by China and Russia since Trump has requested their assistance in getting him elected!

    False equivalency..

    Yeah, it is...I couldn’t agree more! Iran only has one job opening thanks to Trump...China and Russia have countless hackers working to fulfill Trump’s orders.

  37. [37] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    How did that happen? It appears as if I didn’t end the bold command, but yet it stopped the bold type. Only thing I can think is that I flipped the order of the end command and did italics before bold instead of bold and then italics.

  38. [38] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Yer source is WaPoop..

    'nuff said..

    Actually my source was the 35 documents the House Intelligence Committee released, I just linked the article to give context to my comment.

  39. [39] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    I don't get cable channels on my TV, and I don't watch Democrat political debates even when they come on public TV, but as of the current moment, it appears to me that the Dems don't have a candidate who appears to be a likely winner, meaning the 2020 election is Trumps to lose.

    So you are saying your comment is not based on anything that you have witnessed, yourself, but on....,what? A hunch? Psychic reading from Ms. Cleo?

  40. [40] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    ListenWhenYouHear [37] -

    You didn't close the "end bold" command with an angle bracket. The "end italic" one was OK.

    I have no idea why it actually performed the "end bold" though, I have to admit.

    Either way, I went back and fixed it for you. You're welcome!

    :-)

    -CW

  41. [41] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Oh, new column up too. Check it out.

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2020/01/15/two-amusinghorrifying-suggestions-to-update-the-debate-format/

    Be prepared to be horrified, though...

    -CW

  42. [42] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    Mostly on what I've read (Magazines and newspapers), along with TV talk shows (Sunday morning type, not late-nite). That pretty much qualifies as something I've witnessed, does it not?

    P.S. Oh, and I almost forgot, also on the anslysis of sheep entrails.

  43. [43] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS

    Do the sheep ones work? I had always been told to use chicken entrails, but they just made a mess without saying much. I’ll try sheep the next time we have a full moon, thanks!

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