At the outset of Wednesday night’s Democrat debate, host Rachel Maddow proclaimed that ambassador Gordon Sondlund had buttressed the case for impeachment with his “bombshell” testimony in the marathon impeachment hearing earlier in the day. So would the candidates vote for impeachment?
“Of course I will,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who urged viewers to “read the Mueller report” about all that obstruction of justice. Why, president Trump “broke the law again and again.”
Amy Klobuchar cited Trump’s “impeachable conduct” and how he is “sucking up to Vladimir Putin every minute of the day” and “leaving the Kurds for slaughter.” But it’s all “really about our Democracy.”
Maddow then wondered what the candidates thought of the president’s conduct.
“Sadly we have president who is a pathological liar,” said Bernie Sanders, adding that Trump was the “most corrupt” president of all. But then, Sanders added, the whole political system was corrupt and the economy “rigged” for billionaires and such.
A rather shaky Joe Biden said “Trump doesn’t want me to be the nominee” and “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president,” which seemed to work for the studio audience.
Kamala Harris blasted the “criminal living in the White House,” whose presidency was a “criminal enterprise,” including the vice president, Secretary of State and “chief of staff.” Therefore, Harris said “Justice is on the ballot.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg told the audience it would be a “tender moment,” when Trump was gone. And the mayor said he was the “right person to take on Donald Trump,” a view shared by all on stage in the Atlanta, Georgia, debate.
Elizabeth Warren warbled that she would “defend the Affordable Care Act from “sabotage by Trump.” Not to be outdone, billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer decried the “criminal in the White House” and charged that he was “a fraud and a failure on the economy.”
Andrew Yang took an indirect approach when asked what he would say as president in his first call to Vladimir Putin. “Sorry I beat your guy,” Yang said, drawing applause. And he would tell Putin, “the days of meddling in American election are over.”
Candidate Tulsi Gabbard blasted the “Bush-Clinton-Trump policy” of regime-change wars, which might have left some puzzled. Gabbard also went after Pete Buttigieg, who recently announced he would send U.S. troops to fight drug cartels in Mexico. Mayor Pete claimed “I was talking about US-Mexico security cooperation” and not an invasion of Mexico. And he told Gabbard he would not have sat down with a murderous dictator like Assad.
Like POTUS 44, none of the candidates mentioned radical Islamic terrorism and saw the biggest threat as “white supremacy,” which Yang said should be classified as “domestic terrorism.” Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, denounced the “brutal dictatorship” of Saudi Arabia, which was “not a reliable ally.” Sanders claimed he was pro-Israel but lamented conditions in Gaza, which were “unsustainable.”
Tom Steyer saw the primary threat as “climate change” and several other spoke of making the battle against climate change a priority. The socialist Bernie Sanders spoke of criminally prosecuting the fossil fuel industry. The debate included no climate statistics or analysis. Likewise, the current state of the economy went unmentioned, and the only candidate to argue for “growing wealth,” as opposed to just raising taxes, was Cory Booker.
Elizabeth Warren touted her wealth tax and said that the wealthy got rich through the efforts of others who built the roads, bridges and so forth, an echo of POTUS 44’s “you didn’t build that” argument. Warren did not cost out her Medicare for all plan, or all the other government programs she wanted.
Bernie Sanders, sometimes moving his hands like Beto O’Rourke, issued a plea for “health care for all,” with no deductibles, no copy and no out of pocket expenses. No other candidate challenged Sanders and Warren to show how they would pay for it all.
As Tom Steyer noted, all candidates on the stage supported “progressive policies,” all supported abortion, and they all thought they were the one to defeat President Trump in 2020. Several said they had experience “bringing people together,” and that would be the ticket to victory.
The closing statements had the sound of a barrel being scraped, except for Amy Klobuchar, who invoked the gallant Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the impeachment hearings this week. So the debate ended where it started, with impeachment, but also left some loose ends.
The questioners seemed to favor Sen. Elizabeth Warren, on a role of late, but nobody wondered why she was in the debate at all. Elizabeth Warren confirmed that a person can falsely claim to be a Cherokee for decades, basing a career on a falsehood, and still contend for the presidency with Democrat Party. As President Trump says, we’ll see what happens in 2020.
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