The debate and the diagnosis

It was only a week ago when we were talking about his tax evasion.

From the CDC
She knew I didn’t want to watch it. I had announced to the family that I was going to opt-out, and catch the reviews on the news the next day. But her history teacher recommended that my daughter watch the first Presidential debate. Since I’m the poli sci major, and no way my wife makes it to 10:30 p.m., I agreed.

You don’t need me to tell you what a disaster that Tuesday night was. Among other things, the incumbent’s claim that ballots Were found “in a river” is not substantiated. Generally, he showed how he is trying to derail the election. His denial of his call-out to the Proud Boys was disingenuous. The performance may have played to his base. But who did he sway?

A buddy of mine was happy they didn’t need to transcribe the dialogue for closed-captioning in real-time. It would have surely been, quite literally, a headache. Lots of people wished that moderator Chris Wallace had a mute button available. And it was the incumbent who interrupted the former vice-president by at least four to one. Borowitz joked that
Biden will do the remaining debates by mail.

Business as usual

The disruptor’s political rally in Duluth, MN tapped “into the white grievance of his political bubble,” the Boston Globe noted.

Then I awoke Friday morning to the news that IMPOTUS and FLOTUS had tested positive for COVID-19. This after months of encouraging his supporters to flout health and safety guidelines. The night before, aide Hope Hicks, who had been traveling with the campaign this week, tested positive.

As is his wont, IMPOTUS had mocked Joe Biden face-to-face for wearing masks, which have been proven to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And he attended a New Jersey fundraiser while awaiting confirmation of Hicks’ COVID-19 test. It’s ironic that “she was one of the few West Wing staffers to wear a mask in meetings, which her colleagues chided her for, according to Vanity Fair.

Of course, he announced the illness on Twitter late at night. Again. Since more than 208,000 people in the US have been killed by the virus, the news sent shockwaves across the country, the financial markets, and the world.

Short-sighted, indeed

The generally right-wing Hot Air understood. “If he knew [Hicks was sick] and decided to hold the [MN] event anyway, it would be emblematic of his short-sighted, self-sabotaging approach to COVID from the beginning. Reopening early instead of focusing on containing the virus risked sustained community spread, which would lead to a longer economic slowdown, but he couldn’t wait.

“Going onstage if he knew that there was a chance he was infected risked a terrible PR backlash because it would prove that Trump was once again taking the virus too lightly, unwilling to self-quarantine to protect the people around him. But again, he had other priorities.”

Everyone from Hot Air to the Daily Kos noted that aides thought he seemed unwell Wednesday, but he kept exposing people Thursday. Well, that was the cavalier attitude then. How will the regime respond moving forward? It is imperative that they do better, including for their Secret Service detail.

At 11 a.m. Friday, Mark Meadows, chief of staff, was being evasive about the timeline of the illness. And of course, he wasn’t wearing a mask. It’s 1) the nature of this cabal, but 2) the absolute wrong message. Meadows was wearing a mask when he accompanied The Donald on Marine One to Walter Reed Hospital Friday night.

Fortunately, Joe and Jill Biden tested negative for coronavirus. Unsurprisingly, Joe wished the infected couple a swift recovery. This after IMPOTUS said Tuesday night, “There’s nothing smart about you, Joe.” Biden’s so stupid that he actually advocates wearing a mask.

Whereas the other guy said at a rally a couple of months ago to “slow the testing down.” That’s how you have a garden party for Amy Coney Barrett on September 26 and end of having at least eight people, including Chris Christie and Kellyanne Conway, end up with coronavirus.

Will getting sick make him a believer?

You may recall that COVID denier Boris Johnson in the UK had very mild symptoms at first, but was later was debilitated and almost died. He went from the announcement on March 27 to hospitalization on April 6 to going back to work on April 27. We don’t know the trajectory of the disease for IMPOTUS, although the medical community has learned much in the past seven months.

His COVID-19 diagnosis is an indictment of his handling of the pandemic. The case “is exemplary of our failure at the federal level,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. And it worries U.S. officials and national security experts, who fear aggressive moves from foreign adversaries.

Can it be a teachable moment? Some see “an opportunity to course-correct. The question is whether he will see his illness as a way to change his own narrative.” I genuinely hope so. But frankly, I doubt it.

Democrats debate: so MANY of them

Clorox the White House

2020 Democratic presidential candidates
Democrats debate. I don’t watch, either in June or July. This is a terrible admission for a political science major to make. As I said six months ago, I’m not ready to commit to a candidate until the list of candidates has been winnowed down.

Some of my friends are grousing, “We’ve got to cut this roster NOW!” I’m thinking, “All in good time, grasshopper.” The Republicans had their 17 candidates – and THAT’S the best they could come up with?

You will remember that LOTS of folks believed, not without cause, that the 2016 democratic party process favored one candidate (Hillary) over another (Bernie), and some of the latter either stayed home or incredibly, voted for the other guy. This tedious process is the result.

Of course, I read ABOUT the debates I’m not thrilled with the format of these things. When NBC wanted a “show of hands” about complex issues, I cringed. CNN sought conflict, even when there was none.

The candidates

I was GOING to write about each of the candidates, but – and this is true -I see a few of them on the screen and say aloud, “Which one is he, again?” And I was going to redo this online poll, which I did in February, but it reflected only about half the candidates. Still, the percentages listed reflect how much I purportedly agreed with each.

Elizabeth Warren (93%) always seems prepared. Her answer about the aspirational nature of running for President resonated. The bluster of Bernie Sanders (92%) has been fodder for the late-night comedians, but I don’t doubt his sincerity.

Kirsten Gillibrand (92%) is my US Senator. I voted for her more than once for that job. But she will not win and is only still in this race because she got money early. But she can come by and, in her words, “Clorox the White House.”

I’m glad Julian Castro (92%) is faring OK. I liked his answer about the economy: “There are a lot of Americans that are hurting. Just go and ask the folks that received notice they’re getting laid off by General Motors, or ask the folks sleeping on the street in big cities and small towns across the United States.” I’d like him for the Cabinet.

I expected the prosecutorial background of Kamala Harris (92%) to come back to bite her, and, apparently, it did. With Beto O’Rourke (91%), I’m STILL not convinced there is substance there. I gather Pete Buttigieg (91%) overhyped his youth, and the last debate-style did not play to his strength. Tulsi Gabbard (90%) scored points at Harris’ expense.

Amy Klobuchar (90%), er… she also wore a red jacket, like Warren? Andrew Yang (89%) may have ideas other than his one-note giveaway. Cory Booker (87%) was trying to be so nice the first time, he almost disappeared; I gather he fared better in round two.

Joe Biden (83%): beyond being the guy with a target on his back, he’s got to figure out how to say, essentially, “We did the best we could, based on what we knew then.” LOTS of people supported the crime bill that led to mass incarceration. Some seemed peeved at his mentions of personal loss and his Obama connection.

Marianne Williamson (83%) had been so portrayed as a dangerous flake, I was shocked about her cogent comments on race. She was correct that the Flint, MI water crisis would not have taken place in well-to-do Grosse Pointe, where she had lived.

“If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.” In other words, those MAGA hats won’t go away on January 20, 2021, even if the donkeys win.

John Delaney (69%) -meh. Jay Inslee has made his environmental pitch; someone should pick him to run the EPA. Bill DeBlasio and Tom Steyer: I’m annoyed they’re running.
And there are others.

My friends ARE correct that whatever these candidates say about each other, or Obama, the incumbent (15%) will use against the eventual winner. The process will be sorted out soon, with only seven to ten candidates likely to be on stage in Houston in September.

Suggestions: work for/be a candidate

At least two of them are from Colorado

This is what happens when I ask for suggestions for retirement.

Tom the Mayor said: Howz about picking a good person, and making them the next POTUS! Volunteer, My friend! Make a difference!

My problem is that I’m not ready to pick a candidate yet. See all those people pictured? Who ARE they?

Which is what people obviously said about Steve Bullock, governor of Montana; Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar, Florida; and Sean Moulton, congressman from Massachusetts’ 6th district. None of them got enough support to get on the debate stage this week. Neither is 89-year-old Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator from Alaska, but he’s running a different type of campaign.

Beyond them, I know little enough about John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, Michael Bennet, and John Hickenlooper to say, je ne sais pas. I do know the latter two are both from Colorado and that I love saying Hickenlooper.

Maybe after the debates (and maybe not yet). Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Tim Ryan, Bill de Blasio, and Jay Inslee will debate Wednesday, June 26. The second group, who will debate Thursday, June 27, will feature Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Marianne Williamson, Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang, and John Hickenlooper.

Kevin, from my hometown, with whom I went to college, suggested: run for a local office. Show the world what a good politician looks like. Probably not happening. I was going to suggest that I have too many skeletons in the closet, but then I looked at the guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I now realize I have NBO idea what that threshold is anymore.

Alison, my ex-SIL, recommended: Try to see all the annual meteor showers. Now THAT’s a swell idea! Here’s a calendar. “The meteor showers listed are the easiest to observe and provide the most activity. Particular attention should be noted to the time and moonlight conditions. All these showers are best seen after midnight. Some are not even visible until after midnight.”

For reasons too complicated to explain, listen to Midnight At The Oasis – Maria Muldaur.

I’m still taking your suggestions, which, as noted, I can totally ignore.

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