On the Campaign Trail – 1

I haven’t been paying that much attention to the Democratic Presidential Campaign. It’s way too early, and there are far too many candidates. The need for the Democrats to not only unseat El Presidente but retake the Senate and keep the House is too important to worry about who wins the eventual nomination – especially when any one of them is good enough to win. There’s strong reasoning behind the “Vote Blue – No Matter Who” slogan.

Of course, that’s not going to stop me from having opinions.

We can roughly divide the candidates into a couple of groups. The Leaders (Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, and maybe Buttigieg), the “Dark Horses” (O’Rourke, Booker, Klochubar….) and the “Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here?” group (Hickenlooper, Yang, everyone else whose name no one can remember). One has to seriously hope that the people in the latter group will drop out sooner rather than later. They don’t really have a chance here, and would be better off running for some other office rather than confusing the issue.

I’ve written about Bernie Sanders before. I see him as the crotchety old uncle who always complains about everything, but you have to be nice to him because he’s family – and he’s rich…. In that line of thinking, Joe Biden is the old uncle who is nice, behaves properly, and gets along well with everyone, but you have to wonder if his mind is starting to go because he has a habit of saying the wrong thing every now and then. You don’t want to have to send him off to a home just yet; he can still take care of himself and there’s nothing obviously wrong with him.

Do Elizabeth Warren’s supporters understand that while it’s good to have a policy plan for everything, none of them will survive getting through Congress intact? Presidents direct policy and suggest laws, but they don’t write anything. You tell them “I want bratwurst”, and keep your fingers crossed that you’ll get something that at least superficially resembles bratwurst on your plate.

Speaking of policies, I’m not sure I get the whole “Medicare For All” thing. I know what it is and why people want it. But isn’t pushing for it a tacit admission that you believe the Affordable Care Act (the singular achievement of the Obama administration; something that presidents have been dreaming getting for over a century) is – even without the sabotage of the Republicans – a failure? Is the ACA really so bad that we have to scrap it completely and start over?

Do any of them have any ideas on immigration reform? Right now, they’ve let the GOP take over that topic with their screams of “OPEN BORDERS!” What’s their response to that accusation?

A lot of the Democrats ideas – Medicare for All, the “Green New Deal”, student loan “refinancing” – are going to cost a good deal of money. Which, it’s said, can be raised by just a teeny bit of a tax increase on the wealthy. But what happens when you put all of these together? What’s the total tax bill going to come to? If you can’t raise the funds to cover everything on your Wish List, what are your priorities? What gets done first, and what will be put aside for later?

Are we going to start hearing the candidates talk about things where the president does have the authority to actually make things happen – like foreign policy? I’d like to grill the candidates on how they’d respond to China’s increasing aggression in southeast Asia. Or what they’d do with Iran. Or if they think the US should get involved in the Kashmir dispute. Hopefully they’ll get to these questions when the herd has been thinned a bit.

I do have to wonder what it is about the Iowa State Fair that requires the candidate’s attendance. The whole showing yourself as one of the “regular folk” is as corny as the food there. I can see the point of doing things like eating a corn dog as a reminder of both your humility (no one can look dignified eating a corn dog) and that as president, you’ll have to do a lot of silly things that are unpleasant or at least uncomfortable, so you might as well get used to it. But Iowa? Who decided that this was The Place To Be?

Anyway, wake me when we’re down to just four or five candidates.

One thought on “On the Campaign Trail – 1

  1. A lot of the Democrats ideas – Medicare for All, the “Green New Deal”, student loan “refinancing” – are going to cost a good deal of money. Which, it’s said, can be raised by just a teeny bit of a tax increase on the wealthy. But what happens when you put all of these together?

    You get something close to what just about every other developed country in the world (and I’ve just been trying in vain to think of a counterexample) is able to afford.

    So far as immigration reform is concerned, it’s a permanent stain on this country’s history (and, although among the worst in this respect, it was far from alone in the west) that in the 1930s it bounced shipfuls of Jewish refugees seeking solace from Germany. sending the luckless occupants back to the barbaric slaughter of the Nazi death camps: it was a sort of Trump/Cuccinelli immigration-reform policy of the 1930s. In that context, any Dem immigration-reform policy is an improvement.

    But, that said, your statement that

    The need for the Democrats to not only unseat El Presidente but retake the Senate and keep the House is too important to worry about who wins the eventual nomination

    should be challenged! The short-term need right now for both the country and the world is a president who can tackle the climate crisis urgently and effectively: otherwise we’ve basically had it. “Third-way” candidates like Biden and a few others among the Dem pack are essentially as bad as Trump in this respect: a compromise is as bad as a capitulation. It might seem like an option to be given the choice of being shot through the brain with a .45 or a .22, but . . .

    In other words, it’d make sense to vote for a Trump clone who espoused all his other premium policies — racism, compulsive dishonesty, nepotism, rooking of the poor, you name it — but who prioritized climate action, if the Dems didn’t offer that last option. We as a species could survive another Holocaust; we almost certainly will not be able to survive the collapse of stable climate that’s going to happen unless we get our act together in the next couple of years.

    It’s something that people like Biden and Hickenlooper (and their supporters) just haven’t been able to get into their skulls: they fail to understand that the status quo ante simply isn’t going to cut it. I disagree with Jay Inslee about many things, but he’s absolutely right on this issue.

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