It was boring.
The whole world tuned in…
And then the whole world tuned out.
This is why Roger Ailes succeeded, he knew it was all about showbiz, and the only person on stage who seemed to know this was Julian Castro. Yes, he was the big winner of the night, even though he called out Biden and was half-wrong. You see Castro came to win. A back of the pack softie, Castro demonstrated his fighting spirit, he stood up to Biden, laughed and rolled his eyes when somebody said something he thought was stupid or irrelevant. Now we know who Castro is. He certainly replaced Kamala Harris on the leaderboard.
Never pay heed to the analysts. By attacking Trump and nobody on stage, Harris took herself right out of the picture. She seemed like she really didn’t want to be there, like a prosecutor on Friday who wants to wrap up and get out of court. She’s toast.
As are the rest of the seven dwarves, other than the aforementioned Castro.
Beto O’Rourke, he even said some good stuff, but who cares? He was last year’s flavor, now he’s just another young guy trying to make a name for himself.
Klobuchar? A strict mother who was pissed with the shenanigans who kept telling us she knew better and to trust her, that she could bring the whole country together…huh? Forget plans, just meet me in the middle.
Cory Booker? Okay, you’ve been there and done that, but what have you done for us lately? You didn’t solve the problems in Newark and now you want us to give you the keys to the Oval Office because..? I can’t figure out a reason why.
And Andrew Yang, who triumphed by speaking English as opposed to political-speak, blew his whole candidacy by turning it into a game show. Yup, he was gonna give a grand to ten families every month…and then let’s see what happens? Everybody else laughed. And when he said he knew about doctors because he was Asian, implying that the profession was filled with Asians, he demonstrated that he’s living in a bubble, that he doesn’t know the rules, that there are certain things you can’t say, but he did! Over.
Mayor Pete? He said some good things, he appeared wise, he regained some luster, but not enough to recover from the police problems in his hometown.
Which leaves us with the three real candidates…Joe, Bernie and Elizabeth.
Warren avoided the question. Which was especially bad since Bernie answered it. Will Medicare For All make taxes go up? Of course it will, own it and move on. But she waffled to her detriment. And by time she found her voice again, even spoke, deep into the debate, when she was hitting them over the fence with no problem, nobody was watching.
Bernie killed, but his voice was shot, you couldn’t stop thinking he’d yelled so much that he’d worn himself out. One thing you can say for Bernie, and Elizabeth too, is that they’re passionate. Actually, they were the only two on stage who were. They were convinced what they were saying was true, they uttered it with emphasis, this stuff was important to them. The others? You wondered why they were on stage, because they certainly have no chance.
Other than Joe.
I’ll tell you, he’s from another era, with those teeth. As fake as can be. Bernie’s are yellow, Elizabeth’s imperfect, yet Joe’s look like Jim Carrey’s in “The Mask.” And he’s constantly fake smiling. Hell, that was the playbook in the last century, today we’re looking for authenticity and credibility, and the way Joe acts you just don’t buy it.
And he was creaky. He always seemed on the verge of forgetting something, a name, what he was talking about, it was uncomfortable watching him, you were willing him to get it right.
And he also came from the “trust me” school. Been there, done that, I’m the man. But Castro killed him by pointing out his selective embracement of Obama, saying he was with Barack when it suited him, and distancing himself when it didn’t. You can’t have it both ways. And the truth is Obama’s been out of office nearly three years, and the time has changed. Hell, we all like Obama, except for those who believe he was born in Kenya, but that doesn’t make him a great President. Hell, no one’s been a better ex-President than Jimmy Carter, he’s been on the right side of everything, advocating, unafraid of standing up to those who are wrong, but his term in office? Not so great.
Let’s see, Obama lost both houses of Congress and many governorships and state houses, to the point where he couldn’t get his agenda through. And as soon as he was gone, Trump and the Republicans eradicated/overturned almost all of his policies, clean water just today. But this is the guy we’re advocating and adoring? I don’t think so. Obama’s closer to a boy band. Hell, late twenty and thirtysomethings are going to see the Backstreet Boys, but today’s chart is dominated by Drake and Post Malone. We ain’t going backwards folks.
And after the candidates argued over health care, they became so lovey-dovey, team-like, that the debate was impossible to watch. Once again, the pundits had said not to have a circular firing squad and everybody agreed. The end result? The audience tuned out.
And there were few specifics, other than trumpeting their CVs. That’s why Bernie and Elizabeth stood out, there were some hooks in what they said. I mean when you talk broadly and say you’re gonna throw fifty mil at this or that…no one believes it, it’s too general, it doesn’t affect me if it even happens.
But Warren owned public schools. And someone else, either Yang or Castro, said that charter schools are not better than public ones. And Warren essentially came out against vouchers. Like I said, there was some substance there. But most of it was uttered after the audience had tuned out.
So what it came down to, assuming you watched, was emotion and image. Who was the most likeable, who was the most sincere, who had the best delivery.
Trump pushes the envelope every damn day and tonight everybody but Sanders bunts. Got to give Bernie credit, he stays true to his ethos, he’s always the same guy, it’s appealing, but tonight with his gruff voice he wasn’t.
As for moving the needle?
Not amongst the headliners, the big three, Bernie, Biden and Warren.
Like I said, Kamala is history, she killed her chances tonight, put a stake right through her own heart. Can Castro make hay from his appearance, be the new Harris? Possible, but doubtful.
So what we want is the three leaders on stage, sans kumbaya, a no holds barred cage match that reveals the true identity of these people, who they really are.
Biden will be overwhelmed and fold. He’s not good with direct attacks, he’s too busy going through his mental Rolodex, trying to figure out how to come back.
Sanders will fight hard. But we’ve seen this act before, back in 2016, it’s hard for him to generate heat today, even though so many of his positions are right and he’s got the aforementioned passion.
Which leaves us with Elizabeth Warren. She’s the candidate by default.
We want to be led forward, which Biden certainly won’t do, he’s too much of an insider inured to the past.
Bernie’s Metallica. All rough-edged, delivering his message with emphasis, hammering it home.
But Elizabeth Warren is closer to Ariana Grande. Someone who has a backbone who is the flavor of the moment. Warren’s not Taylor Swift, she’s not that devious and manipulative, she’s playing for her positions, not herself, and that’s appealing.
But this show was not. Makes you want to give up on politics.
One thing’s for sure, Trump was speaking English, he made the debates his own, he owned the stage, he defined the game.
And that appealed to people.
Very little appealed to people tonight.