Debatable: The Slog in South Beach Part 2


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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111 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    So with Kamala Harris, we see the final evolution of “but I’M SAD, I’M SAAAAAD” as an argument.

    Biden: “there was absolutely nothing at all that I could have done about you having to take the bus”
    Harris: “but it made me sad to have to do that!”
    Watchers: “truly, this is the moment when Harris decimated Biden.”Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to DensityDuck says:

      She grew up in Berkeley and started school there in the late 60’s.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DensityDuck says:

      I would also add that the very policy she is upset for him not supporting was struck down by SCOTUS in 2007.

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to DensityDuck says:

      And she was either lying or misremembering Berkeley.

      She was born in 1964. Here’s the 1949 Berkeley High School yearbook. Already fully integrated, as is the 1959 yearbook, the 1963 yearbook, and the 1964 yearbook.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to George Turner says:

        I think she’s correct about busing. It was continued in Louisville long after the schools were actually integrated, hence the SCOTUS case. Harris implied that Biden was essentially Wallace standing in the doorway of the school. That was not the case. She was talking about continual social engineering of the liberal variety that has (unfortunately) been already proven to not work. Biden should own that shit.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          The Ninth Circuit desegregated California schools in 1947. Thurgood Marshall was part of the case.

          But Berkeley didn’t start busing elementary school children till 1968.

          Harris was only in school there for two years, and then moved to Canada, where she stayed through high school, far from Joe Biden’s evil clutches.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to George Turner says:

            That’s what I am saying. The federal government never mandated busing like they did in Berkeley for good reason. Berkley didn’t really have a South-like segregation problem. They only implemented busing locally nearly a decade later as a social experiment i.e. black kids will benefit from being in classrooms with more affluent white kids. In light of the data and the SCOTUS decision that actually makes Biden look better IMO.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Eugh… I would say Trumwill needs to go back and repudiate his post about Warren getting screwed. Being able to be in the first debate was an unvarnished blessing for her. What a muddle. Biden clearly took some hits from Harris; we’ll have to see if the voters are impressed by them or not. Buttigieg did fine and Harris did well. Everyone else just kind of was there at best.

    The upside? Bernie is clearly done. He has only one schtick and it’s not going to work with this field of candidates. Best of all he’s got the money and the orneriness to stick it out which should hobble anyone else trying to run hard in the left lanes which is good news for the centrist and moderate candidates.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to North says:

      I agree that Sanders was exactly the same person last night that he was in 2016. The difference is that Kamala Harris hasn’t got the baggage that Hillary Clinton did.

      I mean, they are the same person. They both grew up with the idea that the way for a woman to succeed was to be a man with tits, and they lived it, except for the moments when turning on the waterworks was what worked, although Harris is kinda better at that than Clinton (with Clinton you always were expecting her to turn to the side camera and tip a big wink; Harris does seem to genuinely feel the feelings she’s yelling about.) They’re both “tough” on the people most directly affected by government (criminals and the operators of companies in highly-regulated industries), they both give the attitude that they’re willing to Make An Example Out Of You, they both seem like they honestly believe that they’re nice people and in private, to their loved ones, they probably are.

      My closest personal experience with anything Kamala Harris did was when she negotiated the arrangement with Wells Fargo to force them to apply principal and rate reductions to the mortgages of homeowners who were underwater. Except that they didn’t read the fine print on that agreement and made it with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which didn’t actually own many loans and had sold all the underwater ones years ago to Wells Fargo Mortgage-Backed Securities, and that latter entity hadn’t signed any agreements with anyone at all, so underwater homeowners could go eat a fat dick.

      Oh, on that last: Much was made on Twitter of Yang saying “ass”. It was not seen as an expression of folksy tough-talkin’ strength.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

      It must have drove Bernie nuts to have so many of the candidates openly borrowing from him and even acknowledging it aloud. The funny thing is, he could embrace the idea that he has shaped the conversation and pushed the party further Left but holding on to the idea of winning just seems like vanity.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        That’s my take. He moved the discussion to the left in 2016. Rest on those laurels rather than changing his party affiliation every four years so he can run for President.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Agreed. There is a long tradition of candidates doing just that, but most of them know what they are doing the second or third time around. Bernie thinking he can actually win (and should) is just sad.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            I’m pleased he’s in the race. He’s got the money to go all the way to the convention and while he parks there he’ll suck up oxygen on the left side of the spectrum that a more viable leftist candidate would need to mount a challenger to Biden or whatever centrist succeeds him. With Bernie in the race the odds of a centrist candidate increase even further than it already is.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to North says:

              I do find it annoying that he’s only a “Democrat” when it’s convenient for him, and immediately after election day he changes his party registration. This morning, the print media are still writing, “At last night’s debate, Sanders (I-VT) said…”.Report

    • Avatar Trumwill in reply to North says:

      We’ll see, but I am actually feeling better about my post than I was before the debates. The real action was on the second night, and she wasn’t there.Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I also think someone needed to tell Marianne Williamson that you should wait until you’re actually nominated to do the “this is my poster slogan” speech.

    I’m glad that we didn’t have as much of El Complaciendo last night, because that was what the kids these days are calling “cringe”. (And, as has been pointed out, since most Hispanics are antiabortion and anti-immigration and don’t care much about trans issues, it’s not a form of outreach that’s likely to go anywhere.)

    I think that the people who came at Biden didn’t really have a plan for a no-sell. They were expecting angry denials, or laugh-it-off silliness, but just straight-up blank-faced “huh?” was not what they expected.Report

  4. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Harris had a great line — delivery *and* timing — with “food on the table, not a food fight”. I wasn’t looking at the screen and thought that was one of the moderators.

    I thought it was a moderator because somehow everyone else’s mike cut out and she was very clearly heard, but it was still a good line.

    I also noticed that the room EXPLODED when she finished her big I’m Sad bit. Like, far more applause than ANYTHING ELSE in that whole night.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I was surprised that Buttigieg said “yeah, I failed” in response to the question about the South Bend shooting. I think that he definitely failed in that he didn’t have a quick answer ready for “if this investigation isn’t getting done in a timely manner then why aren’t you firing the people responsible” (that’s my restatement of “you’re the mayor, why don’t you fire the chief?”)

    I mean, something like “South Bend has its own Constitution, a rule of law that we have to follow, and I’m not allowed to just go around that because I’m angry or I’m scared or I feel really sad. If we don’t like how this turns out then we need to change those laws, but Donald Trump is showing us what happens when leaders just do whatever they feel like doing, and nobody can trust a leader who acts that way”.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to DensityDuck says:

      But nobody’s running for president anymore, they are running for the “Holder of the Executive Order Pen” which is a near if not exact quote from more than one candidate last night.

      (In before the “Trump started it, no Obama, no Bush…)Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine says:

        …Holder of the Executive Order Pen…

        For over a hundred years now, since the Supreme Court decided Congress could delegate the details of legislating, more and more authority has been ceded to the executive branch. Somewhat more recently, Congress has become almost totally dysfunctional — the fiscal year ends in just over three months, there’s not even a budget resolution yet, but a significant subset of the Democratic Senators have time to attend dozens/hundreds of events all across the country.

        We know where we are, but it seems unlikely that we’ll fix it. Absent executive orders (and memos issued by department heads) the government would have ground to a complete halt.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Yes? Its when we all say it out loud that the rules of the game change. I also think that you are underselling the change… it is one thing to apply prudence to the execution of laws, it is another to legislate as the Executive.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

      “Do you see what is possible when Trump acts like Trump? Do you hear the lamentations of the women? When I am president, you will hear their women lament and it will be louder!”Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DensityDuck says:

      When Salwell was chastizing Buttgieg on that front I actually exclaimed, “Oh fuck off!” Pete just stared him down and was probably thinking about how awesome it would be to snap his neck on live TV. I have to say, I’m not sure how much I line up with Buttgieg politically but I am really starting to like the guy. My wife knows someone who knows someone that served with him in the military and they said he’s a very genuine person and what you see on TV is the real deal. When he was explaining the police shooting and just said, “It’s a mess,” that felt like something I would have said. I don’t know how much of a shot he has but I find myself rooting for him. Gabbard-Buttgieg or Buttgieg-Gabbard in 2020 for me so far.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        my caption this moment:

        Mayor Pete: You haven’t confiscated all the AR-15s yet, MF’er.

        I thought Swalwell’s “just fire people” was rhetorically effective against both Mayor Pete and Swalwell… Mayor Pete because he froze with the unexpected challenge and Swalwell becuase it illustrated why lawyerly congressmen types make poor executives.Report

    • That really upped my opinion of Mayor Pete. It’s extremely rare to see a politician admit failure and take responsibility. I, for one, liked it.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Uncle Joe and Mayor Pete managed to say right thing about undocumented immigrants contributing lots of money to the economy and contributing to the coffers of Social Security, Medicare, etc.

    I think your line about a lot of these candidates is true. They want it to be a Democratic Party of ten or twenty years ago. This might win state-wide elections but the national mode is more to the left.

    Williamson is still a weirdo grifter but lots of people hunger for her spiritual woo.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Ten or twenty years ago Democrats were dominating national elections, coming off Bill Clinton and electing Barack Obama, both campaigning largely as centrists.

      Has the electorate really changed or have the online activists only created the impression a rising hunger for a shift far to the left?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        Well let’s see.

        Right here, on OT, we have Republicans- Republicans, mind you- who write long posts angrily denouncing structural racism that keeps black folks in ghettos. We have Republicans tell us that there exists a wealthy elite of crony capitalists that preys upon the working class. And Republicans are now calling for the government to directly intervene to break up the oligarchy of tech companies.
        The Republicans also sneer at the puritans and prigs who don’t take a relaxed view of sexuality.

        And no one, anywhere, is speaking positively about “free market capitalism”.

        So yeah man, America is definitely moving very far to the left.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I never heard the name “Marianne Wilson” until last night and kept wondering why Tina Fey was on stage during the real debate.

    There were many others on stage — both nights — I had literally never heard of.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

      For some of us of a certain age MW was a very familar figure… if not my mom, definitely one of my friend’s moms. She was as comfortable as Jane Fonda workout videos, canned foods, and a breezy sort of love that brushed past you but never actually landed anywhere.

      ASMR candidate for GenXReport

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Do you mean MW herself? Like you knew who she was? Or her presence offered that effect?Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

          Sorry, I mean she was a type of person I knew very well in the late-70s/early-80s, not her personally.

          I was one of the people who googled her to see what her background was, and honest to goodness I still don’t know because I just started clicking on links in classic Google Rabbit Hole fashion.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        She gave me what I was hoping to get from Andrew Yang.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

          Apparently some of the candidates had their mics turned off unless they were called upon.


          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

            Are you sure? She’s not at all what I was expecting from Yang… I thought Yang was young start-up Exec with a vision, data, and a willingness to throw down planks as he was running across the bridge. I know that type. Instead I got the SVP who outsourced R&D to Ireland and Bangalore. I know that type too.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

            I call BS. Or rather I call “audio engineering doing his job imperfectly, and someone trying to gain martyr points off it to boost their visibility” (Yang is polling like, what, somewhere around “Wait, there’s really a guy named ‘Yang’ running?”).

            What was it, 10 mics? Half the people there, despite being politicians, probably have no mic discipline (too close, too far, etc), which means the poor slobs in the booth are constantly have to jump on their feeds to keep them from causing feedback, sounding wet, or not being picked up.

            I sincerely doubt someone there was like “Yo, turn Yang’s mic off — we can’t let that guy speak unless spoken to. I mean everyone else, sure, but not Yang. He’s a danger to the plan!”.

            But playing victim on Twitter probably gets you some donations.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

              Fair enough.

              Dude’s not ready for prime time anyway.


            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

              I’d buy it. You could hear Gillibrand and others trying to break in on other people at the start, until they figured out they weren’t on mic and gave up.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Didn’t Yang cough a few times at one point? If I had to lay down money, I’d say someone turned his mic down so it wouldn’t pic up his cough, and was slow to turn it back up.

                And Yang gave up trying to talk before the audio engineers noticed.

                The instant jump to conspiracy theory is….well, let’s say that doesn’t really endear him as a candidate to me. “I could acknowledge that life is imperfect, mistakes happen, and deal with life as it comes. Or I could claim it’s all the fault of my unnamed enemies. Let’s go door number 2”.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Morat20 says:

                Yang knows that even if he isn’t, his fanbase is largely weirdo rationalists and NEETs who will totally buy into a conspiracy theory.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

              That’s been standard practice for audio engineers ever since Darth Vader started attending sessions of the Imperial Senate.

              “Can someone turn Lord Vader’s mic off? We’re trying to debate the bill before us and all I can hear is constant, threatening breathing sounds.”
              “If you object to breathing, Senator, then so be it.”
              *force choke*Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

      One question is whether they should have chosen to have her on stage instead of someone like the governor of Montana, who didn’t make the cut.

      She only ran one race for a House seat and she came in fourth.

      But I suppose either her polling or fundraising maybe met their criteria.Report

  8. Avatar George Turner says:

    Instapundit quoted one of his Facebook friends:

    “My biggest takeaway from the candidates in the Dem debates is there doesn’t seem to be any joy in any of them. They all seem to live in a perpetual state of anger, resentment and envy that absolutely poisons their lives. Those aren’t attractive qualities in political candidates. Say what you want about Trump but he rarely looks like he’s not having a good time. Optimism can be both attractive and contagious.”

    That might be the most fundamental observation I’ve seen.

    Most of the noise on the far left, for which so many candidates to try and outflank Sanders, comes from the Youth Brigades of the Perpetually Outraged and Extremely Angry. Biden might be the only one who seems happy with life. If Kamala Harris, Booker, and the rest managed to destroy him, all that will be left standing are very angry candidates, running against a candidate who fills arenas for his speeches that basically go “Aren’t we great? I love this. Is this a great country or what? And we’re doing better than ever! Black unemployment is at its lowest level ever. So is Hispanic employment. I am having so much fun!” Across town will be some Democrat rally where the message is “Millions of children are dying because Trump is a Russian Nazi spy who should be in prison for treason!!!”Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to George Turner says:

      Gleefully chanting “Lock her up!” and taking joy in offering a carnage-tinged description of America during major speeches is a weird thing to celebrate in a human.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to George Turner says:

      Heh, Trump occasionally manages to be spitefully gleeful but his default state seems to be constipated ire. If you’re gonna try and slot him into the happy warrior mold it’s going to be amusing as hell to watch.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to North says:

        Trump is a comedic genius. He had a major network reality show for 14 seasons. Arnold Schwarzenegger took over for a 15th season and had trouble getting half of Trump’s ratings.

        Is there any Democrat in the race who could come close to having the personal and political presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger? No. And Trump is twice that.Report

  9. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Yang was a disappointment because he seems to believe in his policy proposals like the VP of R&D for one of my software solutions believes in the features of his products. Completely authentic in the most useless possible way.

    Which is to say that he was so on brand for Silicon Valley I could feel stock deflating everywhere.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    If I don’t get a Democratic candidate that I am jazzed about (80/20 odds at the moment) then I’m hoping for the candidate that has the best ability to clown Trump for the entire general election. Several provided their chops in that department this week. I don’t think Warren or Booker can do that. Some of the B-tier (Klobuchar, Buttgleig, Bennet?) can almost certainly get the job done as well. If I were him I would fear Harris the most. If they get on a stage together, she’ll treat it like a trial and pick him apart. I expect him to try to avoid that altogether with some talk about how they are unnecessary.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    An important reminder:


  12. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    Don’t see right now who beats Harris. Who in this field? How? So I expect concern-trolling from the right and gotcha-picking from the further-left to increase.

    She’s by no means wart-less, and her priorities aren’t mine, but in addition to being, to paraphrase Ezra Klein, the most plausible unity candidate for the DP as it is today, she channels the urge of the broad anti-Trump center and left to prosecute the Beast and his minions – or qualifies as “charismatic” in somewhat the same way Trump does.* Warren also possesses that quality to an extent, but she’s not as comprehensively the anti-Trump.


    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      Biden. “How?”

      Old people. Donors.

      I don’t KNOW that that’s going to happen… but if someone can, it’s him. And if you want to know how, that’s how.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

        What’s going to be interesting is seeing whether, after Harris wins, people Suddenly Realize that Biden is an old molester jerk who goes around touching women inappropriately, and that’s why it’s OK that he didn’t get the nomination.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Jaybird says:

        So you don’t think that donors and even old people will come to see him as a pathetic and embarrassing figure on the basis of performances like last night’s? I found myself wondering if he even can stay in the race.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          Well, this is where they get to reading the tea leaves, kind of like making a stock pick where you figure out what other people think the market will do, etc.


          Cons: The last time he ran, in 2008, Joe Biden dropped out before Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel did. He’d normally be second or third tier, but in this crowd he’s a stand out. Or is he still second or third tier, and now stale?

          Harris’ line of attack does reveal some serious flaws in an older, non-Bernie candidate given how the Democrats have all shifted over time, from going to war to preserve slavery, to implementing and running Jim Crow and building Northern ghettos, to opposing gay marriage and illegal immigrants, to where they are now.

          The younger candidates were probably just in sync with those positions at the time, they just aren’t on the record about it because they weren’t in office in the earlier days. Fritz Hollings didn’t leave the Senate until 2005, and he’d given his all to keep blacks out of South Carolina universities back in the 60’s. He’s the governor that raised the Confederate Flag over the capitol, the one Nikki Halley removed.

          So Biden has some baggage, but he also was Obama’s Vice President and there for all sorts of transformation changes. To smear him as a racist or white supremacist is in effect to smear Obama with the same brush, and that probably won’t work very well.

          He’s also very friendly and likable. When he was catching flack for talking about compromising with two unrepentant segregationists last week, Lindsey Graham delivered a fiery defense of Joe Biden, saying he doesn’t have a single racist bone in his body, and that the attacks on him were vicious, juvenile, and stupid. Lindsey Graham said that.

          Kamala Harris:


          She’s delivering the kind of attacks that Lindsey Graham was decrying. But she’s had a long history of viciously attacking innocent people to destroy their lives. It’s what she does. She did it to minorities in San Francisco, she did it to Judge Kavanaugh, and she’s doing it to Joe Biden. She also does it to anyone who is in her way. Voters pick up on that kind of behavior, especially female voters. They might well decide that she’s one of those vicious, venomous, toxic women that should be avoided like the plague, in which case Trump won’t just win among white women this time, he might win among all women.

          The other candidates mostly look weak in comparison, although that may be due to their possession of at least some modicum of self-respect, humility, and a sense of fairness.

          Yeah, I’m pretty weak on her pros. But I’d still have to rate her as a vast improvement over Hillary. I’d sum her up as “All the bile without the corruption!” Or at least the monetary corruption, since trying to convict people with known false confessions does probably fall toward the corrupt side of the ledger.

          Is it still too late to get Tom Hanks, George Clooney, or Robert Downey Jr to run?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          I am saying that my ability to predict how the hoi polloi (doesn’t that have “the” twice) will go was pretty much proven to have been crap 4 years ago.

          And I am not saying that Biden will get the nomination.

          But if you want to know how he has a path to the nomination? That’s how I see him having one.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

            The Official Ordinary Times Numbers Guy says this:


              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod says:



              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yow! I’m rather surprised. Biden’s unfavorable rating ticked up slightly but his favorable barely budged down. I’m utterly baffled by that one.

                Harris got a 10 point favorable bumb; that’s cause for campaign in the Harris campaign. Damn. Buttigieg too. Though… looking at it all… almost everyone got higher favorable ratings and higher unfavorable ratings.

                The next debate with the more stringent entry requirements should help but I’m wondering if we won’t see some of the bottom tier start dropping out?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                almost everyone got higher favorable ratings and higher unfavorable ratings.

                Moving from “photogenic blank slate” to “photogenic personality” will come with both costs and benefits.

                I went out to eat with Fish today and we talked about the problem the Democrats have.

                There are a large number of policies where if the Dems show up and say “WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT X!”, 10% will say “well, shit… that’s it, then. I’m out.” and refuse to vote. If, instead, the Democrats came out and said “WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY OPPOSE X!”, then a completely different 10% will say “THIS IS NOT WHY I VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS!” and, yep, not show up. And if the politician in charge of navigating said “X IS COMPLICATED! YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE SUBTLE NUANCES!”, a smattering of democrats, will find a reason to say “this shit again…” and not show up. Maybe 4-5%.

                There are a number of Xes.

                We touched on several of them during the debates.

                Everybody who comes out and gives a position will gain in popularity. Their unfavorables will also go up.

                They gotta figure out how to phrase their statements so that as few people as possible move from “man, I hate Trump!” to “Man, I hate that this person isn’t going to represent me (even if they are going up against Trump)!”

                Obama could pull that off something special.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah Obama was good at doing the whole blank canvas, say nothing let people project their wishes onto him thing. But then again he wasn’t tackling 19 other candidates.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Do any of the Democrats have something similar to a blank canvas charisma?

                Other than Biden, I mean.Report

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