We reprise the best and worst of the debates and offer some commentary on the implications. We also provide a readers’ extremely astute commentary on the debates, the media, Bernie, Biden, Harris, electric cars and more. The comment includes some very subtle observations worth your review..
After a few announcements, we provide analysis of the first two “debates,” and then present a very compelling comment from one of our readers who in about 200 words quite nicely weaves together a string of seemingly disparate thoughts into a concise cogent argument.. I like to offer up reader comments periodically to diversify the voice, so if you have thoughts on this or other posts, please comment away. Comments critical of what Retake presents or with a different slant are especially appreciated. Just keep it civil.
Actions & Events
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday, June 29, 8:30 am – 9 am. I will be interviewing Dana Millen, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the New Mexicans for Health Security Campaign. The show was taped last week and is a very interesting program as we talk not just about what the Health Security Act is, but also discuss the tortured 27 years that it took to finally get it through the Roundhouse. We also talked about the road ahead, as this is only the first of three steps to being the first state to pass a universal healthcare system. We go well over the 29 minute show, so look to the podcast that will be posted on Sunday if you want to hear the full interview. To listen to all of these shows via podcast, go to KSFR.org go to the programs menu, scroll to podcasts and then click on Retake Our Democracy. All 2 1/2 years of shows are there in chronological order. Binge on. Next Saturday, Roxanne will join me in a show where we will preview and debut our 2019 Legislative Report Card that will be published on Tuesday, July 9 and introduced for the very first time, the night before at a Retake Community Meeting in Taos. That meeting will occur at Taos County Democratic Party Headquarters at 729 Paseo del Pueblo Sur from 6:30-8:30pm.
Tuesday, July 2, 6:30-8:30pm at 1420 Cerrillos the Center for Progress and Justice. Retake Our Democracy Organizing Meeting. Join us to find out how you can get involved. Hear about our plans to expand our statewide network and advocate for justice in NM. This is our monthly organizing meeting (first Tuesday of every month). We will discuss plans to advocate at coming Interim Hearings, update you on publishing and spreading the word about our 2019 Legislative Session Report Card (to be published July 9), and to see how you can become involved with one of our action teams: Outreach and Organizing, Media and Marketing, Research, and a developing Climate Action Team.
At our last meeting, climate action team went around the room with each person describing their interests. But there were 30 people and 30 ideas and so on Tuesday we will ask the Climate Action Team to consider focusing a bit by taking on the role of watchdogs for a variety of state and regional commissions responsible for regulating and overseeing use of our land, water, air and natural resources. The group could work closely with the Research Team. Whatever your issue related to climate change and the environment, there is a commission and/or a state department with a role in regulation and monitoring. You can be part of a team that stays abreast of emerging issues from the LANL chromium plume, to plans for Holtec’s nuclear storage facility, to PNM’s plans to build a gas plant in the Four Corners, to efforts to frack in Chaco Canyon. If you can make it to our meeting, please RSVP by writing me at email@example.com.
Santa Fe Pride Gearing Up For Annual Celebration June 29 Hosting a Series of Events leading up to the annual celebration. Santa Fe Pride starts with a parade at 11:30 a.m. June 29 that winds toward the Santa Fe Plaza, where festivities will run until 5 p.m. That night, Meow Wolf, 1352 Rufina Circle, is putting on an after-party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets to the after-party (for ages 21 and older) are $18.50 each. For a full schedule of events or more information, go to pridesantafe.org.
#My Time Is Up Destined to Be a Meme That Sinks His Candidacy
Moderation of Debates Needs to Be Tightened. With 10 candidates on the stage at once and only two hours, candidates did all they could to ensure maximum exposure, including routinely ignoring time limits or requests for one word responses (Gildebrand being the most egregious at this in Debate II). Moderators need to find a way to establish and enforce the limits. Another manifestation of the fight for air time was that beginning after the first hour of the first debate and being prominent throughout the second, candidates interrupted at will with the discussion often devolving into a shouting match to see who could grab an extra 20 seconds of mic time. During one of these spats, Sen. Kamala Harris injected one of the best lines of the night: “Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.” Lastly, the time each candidate was able to speak was even more skewed in debate II than in Debate I. One of the primary functions of the first round of debates is to offer an opportunity for less known candidates to present their views. But in both debates the top tier candidates dominated the time on stage and in the second debate it was even more pronounced than in debate one. In Debate I where Sen. Booker led with 11 minutes on the mic and Inslee had the least at just 5 minutes. But as the chart below depicts, in Debate II the differences were far more pronounced, with Biden having more than four times as much air time as Yang. Ensuring that all participants had far more equal time would possibly reduce interruptions and reduce candidates running right through the time limits for responses.
Kamala vs. Biden. As noted in Thursday’s post covering the first debate, that debate was a pretty substantive, issues-focused discussion that while marred a bit by interruptions, was still devoid of personal or even issue-focused challenges. Not so debate II, where shots were taken at Biden by several candidates with by far the most damaging being served up by Sen. Kamala Harris’ in her challenging Biden on his defense of arch segregationists. This is something that could have backfired as her passionate challenge to Biden stood in stark contrast to the demeanor prevalent throughout both debates. But based upon commentary all over the internet, politicos and pundits felt it would almost certainly boost her polling and hurt Biden.
Harris made it personal by integrating her personal history as an 8-year old girl being bussed in Berkeley with the result being her ability to access a good education and a path to her current Senate and presidential candidate status.. Biden did not help himself with his response, faltering somewhat and then offering as his defense for not favoring federal intervention in desegregation that it was the state’s responsibility for setting race policy. Of course, state’s rights was the policy used by segregationists for decades to fight all forms of civil rights and voter rights legislation and so falling back on that didn’t help Biden a bit. And then to top off his response, as he approached the one-minute limit, he commented, “My time is up, I guess” something that is destined to become a meme that will linger and haunt Biden, especially since, as a NY Times scribe noted, it seemed he had willingly ceded the floor because he had run out of ideas for responding to Harris. Harris didn’t let the reference to states rights slip past, commenting: “That’s why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. Because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.”
What Did We Learn About Who Could Beat Trump. Certainly one takeaway from the first two debates must be that Senators Harris and Warren each demonstrated a presence, a passion and a command of policy that could stand up to Donald Trump. Here, again, the big loser was Biden as he stammered through an ineffective response to Harris. Buttigieg and Julian Castro also demonstrated the kind of quick thinking and composure that could fend off the shotgun assaults that Trump uses in debates. And for years, Bernie has demonstrated that he can command the stage against anyone. I’d actually relish watching Bernie and Trump one on one. Bernie absolutely torched Trump when asked how he could defeat the President. On the other hand, if Biden’s defense against Harris is any illustration of his remaining debate skills, I am guessing many Biden backers must be having second thoughts. Indeed, as reported in multiple outlets, Tom McInerney, a major donor from California withdrew his support indicating that he could not abide his defense of segregationists and states rights, also noting that he felt Biden’s performance was not good. He ended his interview by suggesting: “I am guessing I am not alone.”
Bernie: 2016 Redux. You gotta hand it to Bernie, the guy sticks to his messaging and he sticks to his positions. He had several moments in the debate where he drove home fundamental truths about politics in America whether blasting pharma and the health industry for blocking meaningful healthcare reform, pointing to how corporate money in politics prevents progressive policies from being considered, or describing clearly the gross level of wealth inequality in America. These were the messages on which he anchored his campaign in 2016 and because of this most of the Democratic Party-if not its DNC and DCCC leadership–have shifted significantly to the left. Indeed, another of my takeaways from the two debates was just how far left the discussion has moved with few of the candidates defending the ACA or seeking to improve it and most all favoring some form of Medicare for All. Indeed, policies advanced in relation to addressing student loans, taxing the rich and Wall St, decriminalizing the act of seeking asylum and many other areas represent a quantum shift in Democratic conversation. Regardless of whether Bernie wins the nomination, in terms of impact on American politics, he has already had the most profound impact upon the direction of the party of any Democrat perhaps going back to Roosevelt
Best lines of Round I
Best of the night: This president is literally every single day 10 minutes away from going to war, one tweet away from going to war. And I don’t think we should conduct foreign policy in our bathrobe at 5:00 in the morning.” Klobuchar noted.
Runner Up: “There’s plenty of money in this world, there’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands,” he opined at one point. “[F]or all the American citizens out there who feel you’re falling behind or feel the American dream is not working for you, the immigrants didn’t do that to you. The big corporations did that to you,” DeBlasio declared. This is a point that Democrats need to make over and over. The scapegoating of immigrants as the cause for working family struggles is shameless, inaccurate and distracts from the real culprits: Wall St. pharma, fossil fuels and the 1%.
Click here for a good analysis of the first debate and its implications
Best lines of Round II
Best of the night: “Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.” Kamala Harris.
Runner up: All of the candidates were asked which foreign leader they would call first after their inauguration, with an eye toward repairing damaged relationships. Buttigieg said he could not answer the question, because: “We have no idea which of our most important allies [Trump] will have pissed off worst between now and then.” Mayor Buttigieg.
Click here for an excellent analysis of the second debate from the same source as was cited for Debate I, Electoral-Vote.com
Tomorrow, as part of Sunday at the Movies, I will post a series of video highlights of the debate with headings to identify what is covered, but without commentary.
A Reader’s Penetrating Comments On the Debate, Biden, Bernie, Media, Electric Cars & More
“The advertisements show the real agenda at MSNBC.One Nation, a dark money funded conservative group, has come out attacking Universal Healthcare. BP ran several ads during the debate, about energy from trash, a kinder gentler oil company, that still has not cleaned up the Gulf.
Last night Kamala took down Biden. There is no doubt that he is not capable. This should have people questioning why he was brought out of mothballs. Bernie made a really important point, that none of this change can occur, until we take on the corporations, and build systemic change. Biden wants to “Fix” the ACA, but that ship has sailed, They allowed the corporations to undermine it. On the private insurance, a gotcha, it is clear now that keeping private insurance will only bring a two tiered health system, which is what we have now.
Bernie is right, the oppressive amount of money the same groups that are undermining the discussion and pitting people against each other. The MSNBC talking heads are describing Bernie as a “50’s era Socialist. yelling at people.” The paid media is falling all over each other attacking Bernie, and amplifying Biden, their favorite.
I am sick of the talk about electric cars. Each and every one of them takes a half a ton of rare earth elements. They want to mine the Pecos, a huge multi national mining company, with unlimited funding. Yesterday a republican congressman tried to get rid of restriction on buying conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic Of the Congo . The same kind of powerful company that is killing indigenous people in Central America. https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/environmental-investigations-prompt-killing-and-silencing-of-journalists There are correlations with DAPL, private mercenary armies, with help from Israeli security, protecting mining interests.
We need a public transportation system that works, high speed trains can replace a good deal of air traffic, and keep a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. The mines and deforestation are impacting global warming, funding war lords, and criminals and undermining Democracy. On the local level cars account for so much road building, and even parking spaces, rendering public areas, unwalkable, and housing too expensive. The reliance on cars is destroying or neighborhoods, isolating people. The isolation is adding to the Epidemic of Despair in this country.
I spoke with an old timer out in Las Vega NM, years ago. He told me that back in the day, they took a train to Albuquerque on Friday nights, after work. They did their shopping, had dinner and came home. It was enjoyable and stress free, now this trip is obviously viewed as unthinkable, unless absolutely necessary. People had a lot more mobility back then, even low income people could travel to other cities or regions.
I don’t think a lot of people are truly aware of what is at stake here. I don’t see people catching on! There needs to be a reckoning, before we can move forward.”
Paul & Roxanne