Dean Phillips was right

the debate

I’m sure he’s not gloating, but Dean Phillips was right. You don’t remember him, do you? He’s the guy who engaged in a quixotic campaign to be the Democratic nomination for President in 2023/24.

In October 2023, he wrote: “I didn’t set out to enter this race. But it looks like on our current course, the Democrats will lose and Trump will be our President again. President Biden is a good man and someone I tremendously respect. I understand why other Democrats don’t want to run against him, and why we are here. This is a last-minute campaign, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and courage is an important value to me. If President Biden is the Democratic nominee, we face an unacceptable risk of Trump being back in the White House. I know this campaign is a long shot, but that is why I think it is important and worth doing.”

Of course, his campaign went nowhere and was widely criticized among Democrats for running. I voted for him in the 2024 New York presidential primary, even though Biden had all but locked up the nomination. Heck, I voted for Elizabeth Warren in 2020 under similar circumstances. Warren, who is now 75, and Bernie Sanders, who will be 83 in September, and who I voted for in the 2016 primary, are too old in this political climate. I’ve never voted for Joe Biden in a primary, only in the 2020 general election.

JRB, Jr. v. djt

I hear there was a debate last week. The Democratic candidate didn’t fare so well. Frankly, I’m not convinced of the efficacy of debates in determining the worthiness of candidates for most political contests.

Still, it happened under rules approved by the Biden camp. Beyond the occasional lack of focus and volume, Truthout noted: Biden Offered No Alternative to Trump’s Pro-Policing Authoritarianism in Debate. “Biden did not put forth a progressive or convincing counterweight to Trump’s xenophobic and authoritarian tirades.”

djt didn’t win the debate. As is often the case, the Republican lied regularly, denying things he did and taking credit for things other presidents accomplished.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: “Lost in the hand-wringing was Donald Trump’s usual bombastic litany of lies, hyperbole, bigotry, ignorance, and fear-mongering. His performance demonstrated once again that he is a danger to democracy and unfit for office. In fact, the debate about the debate is misplaced. The only person who should withdraw from the race is Trump.”

The Weekly Sift guy said, They Both Lost. Now What?

But Joe did “lose” the debate. Did cold medications affect Biden’s debate performance, as MedPage theorized? Maybe, but after a barrage of Sleepy Joe memes, it doesn’t much matter.

For some time, there have been calls for Biden to step aside for some other candidate. I don’t need to get into that discussion since so many entities including the New York Times, Joe Scarborough, Boston Globe opinion, Albany Times Union, Frank S. Robinson, and many others have stepped in.

Nearly half of registered voters who support Biden supporters wish someone else were the Democratic nominee. Gavin Newsom, governor of California said, “We gotta have the back of this president. You don’t turn your back because of one performance. What kind of party does that?”

Ezra Klein of the NYT replies: “Perhaps a party that wants to win? Or a party that wants to nominate a candidate that the American people believe is up to the job?” 


The donor class of the Democratic Party is particularly concerned. Newsmax writes:

“A sense of concern is growing inside the top ranks of the Democratic Party that leaders of Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee are not taking seriously enough the impact of the president’s troubling debate performance…

“Multiple committee members on the call… described feeling like they were being gaslighted — that they were being asked to ignore the dire nature of the party’s predicament. The call, they said, may have worsened a widespread sense of panic among elected officials, donors, and other stakeholders.”

But what I’m more interested in is how the Democrats could move from Biden/Harris. Unless Biden decides to drop out of the contest, he will be the Democratic nominee, and the wondering is moot.

If he does leave the race, Kamala Harris is the most logical person to succeed Joe. But she has nearly as many political negatives as Biden does despite the fact that I believe that they’ve done a reasonably good job in office.

She IS the White House’s lead voice as a defender of abortion rights, which may prove pivotal in November. And dumping the nation’s first Black, asian, and woman vice president from the ticket is problematic.


My favorite candidate, should there be an open Democratic convention,  would be Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan. The New York Times, in listing her as one of the likely choices:

She “has risen quickly as a national star of the Democratic Party, helped in part by Mr. Trump’s antagonizing her as “that woman from Michigan.” A two-term governor, Ms. Whitmer led a 2022 campaign that gave Democrats in the battleground state a trifecta — exercising full control of the legislature and state government — for the first time in 40 years.

“She has used that mandate to enact a laundry list of progressive policies. Her national profile also soared during the pandemic, when she was vilified by right-wing media and Republican officials for her lockdown measures. And Ms. Whitmer is a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, a top leadership position in the national party.”

Moreover, she has dealt with the nut cases from the COVID era of crazies, particularly when they try to kidnap her, and she’s come back stronger than ever, getting reelected with more than 54% of the vote in 2022.


In contrast, I’m not feeling a campaign from Newsom. From the same article, “But — California. For one thing, Mr. Newsom would be saddled with explaining the problems California has had over the past decade: homelessness, high taxes, escalating housing costs.”

Ted Cruz repeatedly suggests that Michelle Obama will be the candidate. I believe her when she said that eight years in the White House is enough.

My preference for vice-president for either Harris or Whitmer would be a white guy from the current administration, Pete Buttigieg, the current transportation secretary. I think he has done a very credible job being front-facing in dealing with Boeing, the FAA, etc. He has held the airlines accountable for the bad holiday scheduling of a couple of years ago.

I can’t imagine that Democrats are going to put a gay man on the national ticket in 2024 but I think it would be a lovely idea.

Thugs, supported by the CSPOA


Gov. Gretchen Gretchen (D-MI)

Thugs are usually associated with, er, a certain demographic. For me, when 13 people were charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer,  the term “thugs” came to mind.

In the spring of 2020, folks with guns gathered in Lansing to decry the governor’s stay-at-home order to try to stop COVID-19. Some brought signs that read ‘Tyrants Get The Rope.”
And IMPOTUS egged them on.  “[She] should give a little.” Obviously, this is a different response than his reaction to other protests in America in 2020.

Governor Whitmer said, “When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.” The accused Michigan terrorists also discussed ’Taking Out’ Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

But, wait! There’s more!

Beyond the plot of kidnapping, a mock trial, and possible assassination, there are more disturbing elements. There were additional plans to blow up a bridge near her home to delay law enforcement response. Another idea involved killing “police officers in the hope that Black Lives Matter supporters would be blamed, thus sparking a new civil war.”

The Michigan contingent is “very cozy with law enforcement—including Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.” Leaf, in fact, said, the accused terrorists were within their rights to conduct a  citizen’s “arrest” of Gov. Whitmer.

Take a listen. Fox 17 reporter “Aaron Parseghian caught up with Leaf to get his thoughts” on the men facing charges. He expressed no regrets “appearing on stage with these men at a May 16 rally in opposition to the lockdown orders.

“Leaf belongs to a far-right fringe group who call themselves the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer Association (CSPOA). If that sounds familiar, it’s because some of the whackiest and cruelest sheriffs in the news over recent years all belong to this organization.” This includes “the Trump-loving disgraced former Milwaukee sheriff, David Clarke.” He’s the black guy with lots of medallions who was at the 2016 Republic National Convention.

“In short, they (wrongly) believe the Constitution gives them the ultimate authority in their county and that they can enforce—or not enforce—whatever laws they want. They also frequently espouse anti-government views. Like many of today’s far-right groups, their ideas are founded in white supremacy.”

Of course, the defense says Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot was just ‘big talk between crackpots’. Ah yes, boys being boys. Or thugs.

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