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.
Five people were injured when a gunman opened fire on lawmakers practicing for an annual congressional baseball game. The gunman was killed in a shootout with police.
The shooting took place at about 7:00am at a park in Arlington, VA, during practice for the annual event that pits Republicans against Democrats in a baseball game that raises money for local (Washington D.C.) nonprofits. The gunman has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a previous volunteer for Sen Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Hearing this news, Sen. Sanders immediately issued a statement: “Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”
A profile for Hodgman began to emerge -- a Facebook page believed to be Hodgkinson’s includes a lot of damning rhetoric against President Trump, including posts like, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
Who was injured during the attack?
First of all, thankfully, Hodgkinson was a terrible shot and no one was fatally wounded in the shooting. Secondly, police were close enough to get to the event before Hodgkinson was able to get closer to the victims.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, shot in the hip, is in stable condition after undergoing surgery. Zachary Barth, a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) and two police officers were injured and are all in stable condition.
Mike Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, was also shot -- the company released a statement saying, “Mr. Mika has been taken to a local hospital and we’re awaiting word on his condition.”
Sen. Rand Paul, who was at the practice, describes the scene as it unfolded, “After the gunman fired 50 or 60 shots, hitting Scalise and others … Everybody probably would’ve died except for the fact that the Capitol Hill Police were there, and the only reason they were there is because we had a member of leadership on our team … If Scalise wouldn’t have been on the team — unfortunately he was hit and I hope he does well — but also by him being there it probably saved everyone else’s life, because if you don’t have a leadership person there, it would’ve been no security there … (and) … if the shooter’s got several hundred bullets, and we had no weapons, and no place to hide ... he would’ve advanced on the rest of us, there would’ve been no chance. The only chance we had was that the shots were returned by the Capitol Hill Police.”