Here’s what we learned from the first democratic presidential debate last week. Do not fraternize with those you disagree with and never refer to a fellow politician as son, boy or anything similar. It’s just not “politically correct.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden was roasted for talking about trying to find common ground with conservative southern senators when he served in the U.S. Senate. “At least there was some civility” Biden said about working with segregationists like former Mississippi Senator James Eastland. He should not have been so “civil” says a number of other democratic candidates.
I’ll tell you this. These presidential wannabes have never spent time around the Louisiana legislature. When I was elected to the Louisiana State Senate back in 1972, I sat in the Senate chambers shrouded by older senators who had served in that body for a number of years. They included Harvey Peltier from Thibodaux, Jackson Davis from Shreveport, Jesse Knowles, who survived the Baton death march in World War II, and J.E. “Boysie” Jumonville from New Roads. They all were quite conservative, more so than me.
Many of these senators had served through the segregation era and had opposed any legislation involving civil rights. When I took office, we often disagreed and I did my best to bring them around to my point of view. But we were always civil and we often socialized and shared a meal when the legislative day was done.
Should I have scorned those who disagreed with me as Joe Biden is accused of not doing. Of course not. The whole focus of a democracy is to confect workable solutions where a consensus can come together. Failing to confer with those you disagree with is, in my opinion, a dereliction of one’s oath of office.
I was affectionally referred to by these elder senators, as “the new kid” and “young Brown.” Boysie Jumonville, who sat right next to me, often called me son or boy. I never took offense, nor did I think his term of “boy” had any racial connotations. A far cry of the onslaught of criticism Biden is facing today.
Let me tell you how bad the racial tension could have become. With much humor and gusto, Louisiana’s first black representative, Dutch Moriel from New Orleans, relished telling of his first day at the state capitol in Baton Rouge as a new legislator. Representatives have seat-mates, with their two desks sitting side by side. As chance would have it, Dutch sat right next to Representative Jesse McLain, who represented an archconservative district in southeast Louisiana that had been a hotbed of Klu Klux Klan activity. Now Dutch was from a Creole background and quite light skinned.
Dutch told me that when he took his seat, Jesse leaned over and whispered: “Where’s that N…..? (Yes, the N word.) Dutch said he just smiled, looked around the room for a minute, then leaned over to Jesse, got right up in his face, and said: “You’re looking at him.” Then he burst out laughing. A flustered McClain excused himself from the legislature for the rest of the day.
McClain came back the next day and apologized. Dutch told me that they became friends, and that he worked on McClain for the next four years to make him more enlightened on a number of social issues.
Of course you have to reach out when you are in public office. We will never agree on all matters, but there is a middle ground on a number of social and economic issues that both make sense and serve the public interest. For some current presidential candidates to argue otherwise is bad policy and bad governing.
Peace and Justice
Well, this is going to be easy to write. Wednesday night’s Democratic debate (that wasn’t a debate) was pretty tame and stuffed to the brim with a whole lot of “meh.” Last night’s Democratic debate (that was slightly more of a debate) had more fire. Not, much - but a bit.
And here’s the thing. It was so painfully, clearly obvious that Senator Kamala Harris came out on top that I don’t actually have anything quippy to say. I mean, when the issue of race came up, Harris beat Joe Biden down like he was an amateur. (Editor’s note: This is the same link as the one on the front page).
Just like Warren on the previous evening’s debates, Harris was razor sharp across the board and was, again (as we always say) … presidential. I think Biden, Warren and Sanders have been the obvious front runners but that’s simply because they’ve raised a lot of money and get a lot of press. Which is important.
And, while it’s true that I don’t think you can have much of a “debate” when you only allow each candidate 60 seconds to answer questions (because you’re not really going to get to the meat of the deal.) That being said, when you put ten people up on the stage, sometimes it does become clear - “who is out of their league?”
And, there was a whole lot of “this candidate is out of their league.” Andrew Yang, who is mainly an “automation is a huge problem” candidate (he’s right); self-help author Marianne Williamson, former Gov. John Hickenlooper; Rep. Eric Swalwell (who had a nice “pass the torch” exchange with Biden); Sen. Kristen Gillibrand; and finally Sen. Michael Bennet - all of which, performed well (except, perhaps for Williamson) but are clearly just “out of their league.”
Which brings it down to Harris, Biden, Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Frankly, Biden kind of bungled it. Harris clearly got under his skin and it showed. After her beat down exchange, Biden awkwardly tried to explain his positions but it didn’t matter. From that point on he was stony faced and submissive. He, quite literally, lost - and he knew it.
Sanders was … well, he was Sanders. He didn’t offer anything that he hasn’t been consistently saying his entire career in politics - free health care, go after wall street and big Pharma, end student loan debt. His usual playbook. BUT THEN, he said something that I thought took guts. When asked if he would “raise taxes on the middle class,” he told the truth. He said, “Yes.” Because - that’s how government pays for things.
I mean, politicians usually say “no” to that question (and then raise taxes on the middle class anyway). So, at least Sanders is consistent and truthful. And I do like Sanders but, compared to the youth on stage he really did stand out as … old.
So, I wouldn’t say Sanders lost the debate in the same way that Biden did; however, Sanders, I feel, probably didn’t win over new voters.
Which brings us to Pete Buttigieg, or “Mayor Pete” as his constituents know him. He’s still not mainstream well known but is considered a rising star on the left. And he is. He’s incredibly smart. He’s extremely well spoken. He’s a veteran having served in Afghanistan. He has governing experience (several years Mayor). And, to be honest - he’s just flat out likable. I don’t see him as a front runner though. He’s just too unknown. But, perhaps a VP pick or a cabinet position?
Anyway, it all comes down to this. Biden has the money. He has the reputation. But he got his butt handed to him by the fiery Senator Harris. Who also has money. Primary’s are still a long way away and anything could happen, but after two nights of hearing twenty candidates, it really does look like these folks are at the head of the pack:
Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders and VP Joe Biden (even though he lost big time last night, I wouldn’t count him out just yet). Then I would add both Julian Castro and Mayor Pete near the top of the race as they appear to be exceptionally good candidates … that probably don’t have a chance to make the top of the ticket.
After a weekend full of Lucy Flores, the time has come to ask why the former gang banger, Nevada Assemblywoman and two time Nevada political loser found it necessary to wait four and a half years and then come after Joe Biden for alleged hair sniffing. Or alleged back of head kissing. Or alleged shoulder holding.
All while Biden, then the Vice President of the United States of America, was lending his support to what would soon become her massive loss in 2014 for Light Gov.
And, did I mention that it was four and a half years before she trotted out Biden’s “crime?”
“I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before,” she (or someone) wrote in New York Magazine.
You mean the abortion you had when you were gang banging at age 16 was perfectly appropriate? The fact that your solution to becoming pregnant was to kill the baby? That was appropriate?
Or does it mean you have a very short memory?
Let me refresh it from your own website:
“By 15 I was on juvenile parole and by 17 I had dropped out of high school.”
Now, Lucy. I’m NOT kicking you when you are down. In fact, the exit you made from that life is impressive. It shows that President Trump is on the right path with his criminal justice reform efforts—which, thankfully, your Democrat buddies seem to be supporting.
Also, I’m not here to make Joe an example of who I would like to see as President, since we already have a perfectly good President in Donald Trump.
But, he is, at least, the sanest of the Democratic candidates so far and is a decent man who doesn’t deserve the negative publicity you and the lamestream media have whipped up, presumably at the request of one of the other crazed Democrat candidates. Further, you seem just a tad too concerned with your political relevance which is actually somewhere between that of Jussie Smollett and Hillary Clinton.
And as far as this #MeToo crap goes, count me out.
As I have said in this space before, my Father took me aside when I was about 13 and told me that I had a Mother and two Sisters and I had better treat women the way I expected others to treat my Mother and two Sisters. Left unsaid was what would happen if I violated those strictures but it wouldn’t have been pleasant.
Somehow, given your gang banging background, if you had been all that offended at the time, Biden might have suffered a groin injury (although the Secret Service might have been upset). Something tells me you didn’t say a word at the time because you are full of crap.
You appreciated his trip to attempt to bail you out of a horrible campaign back then and you feel like there’s nothing he can do for you today.
In short, madam, cut the crap.
You don’t deserve any of the time the lamestream media has wasted on you and, if you want to be an example to troubled youth, maybe you should endorse the President’s First Step Act and get on with it.
Or you can continue to act like Jussie Smollett and become even more irrelevant than you are now.