I’ve been continuing to read, listen to podcasts and generally catch up on the post debate commentary. A couple of things have popped into my head.
- The House passed a resolution condemning Trump’s pull out from Northern Syria. I often think that, like the proverbial blind squirrel, Trump happens upon the right idea. Very often it’s for the wrong reason, like his fighting with China over trade, which I think he does for self-aggrandizement and enrichment. And he almost certainly ends up botching the execution. Again, see China trade policy. I think pulling troops out of Syria is the right thing to do. I think if we weren’t already there and we were looking at a situation where Turkey was going across the border into Northern Syria and slaughtering people, the right response would be diplomatic, rather than sending in troops. The problem here is that we ARE there, and have been for a while. So, pulling out with no plan is the worst possible way to handle things. Then you pile on top of that the fact that we have solid allies in the area who have helped us in multiple armed conflicts in the region and you’re betraying them completely. You end up destroying what little reputation the U.S. has with people in the region and around the world.
- I’m still stuck on my growing problem with Mayor Pete. I’m sticking with him as my number two options for the reasons I said here. From a pure politics standpoint, going after the frontrunner makes sense. And the question of how to pay for a Medicare for All program, along with Warren’s reluctance to admit that taxes will go up, is the obvious way to draw a distinction with her. But as I’ve been reading more, I see things about Pete that I didn’t realize from back in the spring before he really came on my radar. Evidently, he has previously said he thought Medicare for All was the compromise position. Now he’s saying it’s too far to the left. So I think my problem with Pete comes from the fact that I’m just realizing he is less authentic in his beliefs than I previously knew. Yeah, I understand they’re all politicians and they’re going to tend to spin and change their viewpoints depending on the audience. Aside from Bernie, I think all of the Democratic candidates do it to a greater or lesser degree. Yes, even Elizabeth Warren. But compared to Warren, who is remarkably consistent in her attacks on corruption in government and how we have to take on big corporations, Pete seems to have stuck his finger in the wind a little more than most. He had three big moments in the debate that got him some positive attention. His exchange with Tulsi Gabbard on Syria was outstanding and genuine. He’s right on that issue and I have no quibble with what he said. But he also had an exchange with Warren on healthcare and with Beto on guns where I’m thinking less of him now that I’ve been thinking about it. I heard this elsewhere, on a podcast I think, but his criticism of those candidates on their issues didn’t really amount to a disagreement on policy. Not that his policy ideas were better, or even their policy ideas are bad, but their policy ideas go too far and they’ll be divisive and we shouldn’t try to go THERE, when we can settle for this thing I’m proposing. This from the guy who has previously said that we shouldn’t worry about what Republicans will say about our policies because they’re going to call anything we propose socialism. I contrast him with Amy Klobuchar, who has been proposing more moderate policies from the beginning. She’s not my favorite, but I give her points for consistency. Pete seems to have tried to play in the progressive lane, found it was too crowded, so he decided he’d play the moderate card and hope for a Biden collapse. So I think more and more Warren’s line fits this pretty well – dream big and fight hard, don’t dream little and quit before you’ve started.
- I also heard something on a podcast this morning that sounds about right to me, especially in light of MadDoc’s view of Tulsi Gabbard. MadDoc said she looks like a Russian sleeper agent. And it looks like Gabbard might be getting some push on Twitter from Russian bots, so maybe she’s the candidate that the Russians prefer to mess with the Democratic primary election? But, obviously, Gabbard isn’t going to get within cheating distance (as Pete likes to say about Trump) of the Democratic nomination. Could she be primed to be the spoiler independent candidate who will claim the process is rigged and try to take a percentage point or two off of the Democratic nominee’s numbers in the general? If the election turns out to be a close contest, a robust 3rd party vote – Jill Stein and others – could take enough away from Elizabeth Warren to give Trump another 75,000 vote margin in 3 states and give him the electoral college. I haven’t considered Gabbard in any meaningful way to this point, but I guess she’s on my radar as someone I’m actively pulling against.