Biden Bashing

I like Joe Biden. I think he’s a cool guy and all. I went to school and was friends with his late son Beau. My father is good friends with him.

But guess what? I 100% do not want him to run this time around. He would probably be an OK president, but you know that I don’t want someone who is an establishment person, someone who is a centrist. Joe Biden is not a candidate for our times. He hasn’t been for quite a while. He is very much everything that I didn’t like about Hillary: Pro-Iraq war, connected to giant money interests, a DC player. Medhi Hasan lays it out quite well in his piece “Joe Biden Is Hillary Clinton 2.0 — Democrats Would Be Mad to Nominate Him

The Democratic establishment is all about him, he polls very well (due probably to name recognition), but guess what? He will get crushed by Donald Trump.

And that’s not counting the fact that women are kind of skeeved by him and he’s had a few credible accusations about inappropriate behavior. If you look into his record in the Senate you will find someone that was not really too good on woman’s issues over the years. Remember Anita Hill for example? There are dozens of reasons why women should not support him. Many are outlined in this incredibly thorough look at him.

Here is what I want to say about Joe. If he jumps into this, he’s going to be a terrible distraction and he’s going to take away a ton of the glorious progressive energy in the race. If he doesn’t loose the nomination, he will loose in 2020. I’m sure of it and you should make yourself aware and be sure of it too!

Um. No.

I’ve been an early fan of Tulsi Gabbard as you can see in the early posts of this very blog. And since then I’ve liked her a lot. Along the way, however I’ve heard a number of people complaining about how her positions were kind of anti-American and some went as far as calling her a Russian agent. I was fairly certain that this was a reaction to her anti-war stance and her anti-establishment progressive views.

That was until I saw this video:

 

In it, she maintains a position on Donald Trump and the Mueller “findings” even though not one of us has seen the report yet. She even goes further and suggests that we were maybe on the brink of a civil war.

This video reeks of propaganda and I have to say that it seems really suspicious. What the hell is she talking about? Is she a Russian agent? I mean, it’s possible she’s been compromised in some way or even complicit. In either case, I get a super weird vibe when I watch this video and my support for her has dropped by a lot.

What do you think?

I’ve been a bit lax in writing lately. It’s hard to keep up when one doesn’t have many readers. I think I may have 3 at this point. Also, I’ve been caught up in the Mueller report drama. I just can’t believe all the media generated around something almost nobody has read yet. It’s a sign of how messed up politics has become these days.

My old blog crashed and I haven’t spent the time trying to recover it but if I could, you would be able to read back 15 years or so now. I was a writing maniac during the Bush years (W not HW) and I considered that period to be pretty much the worst in terms of damage done. All the judges they confirmed, all the corruption, all the lives lost due to 9/11 and Iraq. Ugh, it was terrible.

And then we elected Barack. I was a hard core supporter in 2008. I was out there knocking on doors, I was making phone calls, I was talking to all my friends and neighbors. I was convinced that Obama was going to right the ship. In some ways he did but in many others he didn’t and in even other ways he made some things worse. President Obama wasn’t the same guy as Candidate Obama.

I became a bit more disillusioned with politics after that letdown and in 2012 I actually voted for Romney because in my mind Barack didn’t deserve another term. Generally I vote out incumbents unless someone really shows me they aren’t part of the Bullshit DC politics class. Many of our current Congressman and Senators are.

I made a conscious decision to not let this blog be about current politics so I won’t get into how I feel right now about the world but it does touch in this one way: We have to keep fighting for change until we get someone who actually will try and do what they say they plan to do.

I’m not a fan of establishment candidates who preach that we need to get along with the Republicans (although we have do to something about the gridlock in congress). Democrats who are centrists and are old school elites are inherently defective in my mind. They truly are getting played left and right by the GOP. This is why I was excited by Sanders in 2016 and I’m excited by him again now, as well as others like Mayor Pete and Elizabeth Warren (who I like a lot more than Bernie).

This is why you won’t see me throwing much praise to Kamala since she’s proven to be very much an establishment candidate (recently she hosted an AIPAC summit at her office, bleh).

So I’m watching, and I’m paying attention to things and soon we will dig into campaign finance results (coming after the March 31 deadline).

Oh. And a PS. Pete Buttigeig is pollling 3rd in Iowa..

Pete makes $500

In looking at the blog history it would seem this is becoming the Pete Buttigieg fan blog but I assure you its not.. Its just that he is capturing the zeitgeist right now and I’m pretty excited about it because he’s one of the few candidates I really like in this race so far.

By capturing the zeitgeist, I mean that he is gaining traction every single day and everybody seems to be talking about him and when he talks to interviewers he blows them away. Every Single Time. It’s fairly incredible.

The most recent interview (a great one) was with with Mehdi Hasan on the Deconstructed podcast. I urge you to give it a listen.

Anyway, all this energy has ignited his fundraising (which, weather you like it or not is a great way to tell who is making headway) and they just blew away their March 31 goal of $500,000 which is a big deal. They are hiring new staff and building a lot of institutional foundations. I urge you to drop him a few dollars if you can.

Anyway I just want to reinforce to you how crazy it is that we show support for candidates by giving them money. At high dollar levels (for rich people and businesses) this makes complete sense since their money buys them access (read : bribery). But at our level it essentially means: “I want this person to be president and I want to help them get there so I’m throwing them a few of my hard earned dollars”. Think for a second how crazy that is. That our voting system is so messed up that we can’t expect the best candidate to win on their own so we are putting up our own money to help them. Why do we do this??

Mayor Pete

Nobody so far has captured any kind of real energy this election cycle than Mayor Pete Buttigieg. This guy is pretty incredible. As an example, just read this interview with the Washington Post from the other day and tell me that he doesn’t make you feel like “oh, this guy knows what’s up and I have total faith in his leadership”.

The sad thing is that even though everyone I speak to totally loves him, none of them think he can win.

It seems to me that mostly they feel this way because he’s not got name recognition or because he’s gay and America isn’t ready for a gay president or because he hasn’t raised a lot of money or because he’s a small town mayor and not a Governor or Congressman.

I say all those reasons are stupid and short sighted. If the Trump election taught us anything its that people can beat odds as long as their message resonates with people and Buttigieg _resonates_ with everyone who hears him speak.

I will say that he is at a significant disadvantage when you consider the way we vote. I will continue to say this over and over again until you become outraged enough to speak out about the evils of plurality voting yourself when talking with others about this election. Of course if you haven’t read about it, see my post here.

Warren Town Hall

So I watched the Elizabeth Warren Town Hall last night on CNN. Here’s the deal.

I thought it was ok. Nothing special, but just ok. I really like Warren and I think she would make a fine president and I agree very much with many of her views and her plans. However, there is something odd about her that I can’t put my finger on yet. I think it has to do with genuineness. There is something kooky about how she comes off.

First off, know this: I firmly believe she is a genuine person and she believes in what she’s saying. But still, she seems like she’s trying to get across her points and all her interactions with the people asking questions are just stepping off points to get to where she wants to be. It’s like she’s a politician, even though I trust her.

This was demonstrated perfectly with her “I’m gonna go get a beer” moment. I mean, I think it was genuine? Maybe? I don’t know. But if it was staged, why do it? She doesn’t need to pretend to be a regular person because she already is. What’s going on here?

Like I said, I love her and I’d love to see her win, but I feel she needs to just drop the act and be herself because she’s coming off fake. It this is the way she is (also possible) then its a bit kooky and I need to get on board with it I suppose.

As an aside, one thing she talked about yesterday was the repeal of the Electoral College. This is a great idea and something I’ve been begging for for quite some time. Interestingly, it’s not very hard (relatively) to do since it doesn’t actually require a constitutional amendment. There is an effort underway that has currently passed in 13 states including New York and California (in PA where I live the bill is stuck in committee and has been for a 2 years now). The effort is called “The National Popular Vote interstate compact” and the way it works is simple. States pass a bill saying that if a point comes where enough states (equaling 270 electoral votes) pass bills, then they all will immediately switch to allocating their electoral college electors based on the proportional vote tally of the popular vote. This is because the constitution allows the states to determine how to allocate their electors.

So, if you want to know more you should head to the NPV website here.

Biden and Beto

I just finished reading an article about the impeding entrance the the 2020 race of Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke. My initial impression is this : Please No.

Three reasons:

First, both of these candidates are going to be running as Centrists and I feel that a Centrist as president will get nothing accomplished (the landscape is totally different than the Regan years) and anything they do accomplish will not be anything I care about (since I’m a very strong Progressive).

Second, I think that a Centrist will get crushed by Trump because he senses ad preys on weakness and lets face it, a wishy-washy “lets all get along” Centrist is inherently weak.

Third, the electorate (I’m convinced) does not want to be led by a white man (with the exception of Pete Buttigeig). My own fiancèe tells me this daily but her view is indicative (I believe) of many younger voters, especially women.

I will say this, if one enters the race, I very much hope that the other does too so they will cancel each other out. I’m already stressed that the next nominee will be someone who gets like 16% of the vote in the early states and that’s sad.

Mayor Pete

Last night something incredible happened. It was a totally unexpected moment that I think changed my personal direction and finally gave me some hope that there was a way to save our democracy.

I was watching the triple billing CNN Town Halls and it was the third one that surprised me. It was one featuring a guy who I knew was running but I didn’t take at all seriously. I mean, I couldn’t even pronounce his name (still can’t… working on it). It was a town hall featuring the mayor of South Bend Indiana. A 37 year old guy by the name of Pete Buttigieg.

Here is a link to the Town Hall. I hope its still around when you read this because if you haven’t seen it, you should take 15-20m to get a taste of it.

This man speaks in a way that is totally refreshing. Not only that, he appears to know what he’s talking about on each and every issue and he is able to convey what his thoughts are without seeming to be pandering and also without being partisan. It’s fairly incredible to witness.

I’ve since learned that he’s done two notable podcasts : First on Pod Save America and Stay Tuned with Preet. I will be giving them a listen as soon as I get a moment.

Last night was a moment that was kind of like when I first saw Obama speak in the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was a moment of hope.

Can “Mayor Pete” (as people like to call him) pull off a total underdog moment and become president? Probably not. The way we vote in elections (see my previous posts) make it impossible for candidates that don’t have a lot of money and name recognition. However, I feel that he should very much be in the debates and could potentially become a VP pick. Also, he could use this to move up to higher office and make another run in 8 years or so.

Speaking of the debates. The DNC claims that they will let anyone into the debates if they get enough individual donations from unique people. This means that if you want to support a candidate and see them in the debates, you should give at least $1 to them. For Mayor Pete, you can do that here.

It’s All About the Benjamins

In my perfect American utopia all campaigns are publicly financed but until then candidates need to raise money in order to gain visibility and hire campaign workers.

When I was growing up I had the unique privilege to learn first hand how campaigns work from the inside, from the back room. What I learned ultimately was one major rule of thumb : the candidate who raised the most money generally would win. This was partially due to the fact that people and entities giving money to a candidate was/is a great way to gauge early popularity of the candidate, because nobody would give to someone they didn’t like or thought couldn’t win.

Which brings me to something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve been giving my money to candidates I support for years. In my mind, I love these people and want to help them to win and so I kick in some of my money. But if you think about that for a minute, isn’t that super weird? Why should we have a system where we citizens need to vote for someone more than once? And why should one of our votes be done with money? And is it fair? Clearly some people (and companies) have a lot more money than I do so their ‘vote’ is proportionally a lot greater than mine. Is that right? It’s become so normalized in my brain that it never seemed odd until I stopped to think about it.

Shouldn’t we have a system where we citizens vote exactly one time, on election day? And shouldn’t we have a system where our votes were fairly counted and applied in a rational way that ensures that the candidate with the most support wins?

The answer is YES and we need to fight for that and for public financing of elections every day until things change. But sadly, that’s not our system right now and we have to consider the race as it is today.

I was reading an article this morning about Joe Biden and why he hasn’t declared yet and one major reason was that he didn’t think that he would be able to compete with the other candidates in the small donor race. One aside, Biden thought that part of the reason was that he wasn’t of the “Social Media Generation” (as if the reason people were giving money to other candidates was because they were blindly responding to social media messaging as opposed to actual policies of the candidates!).

I took some time to dig into how much money the current candidates have raised at this point but it seems that there isn’t very much data on the FEC website yet. I can say that the Donald has raised over $67M (and spent $55M) however. We will have to wait, I’m sure for the first FEC quarterly report.

But we can speculate.

There are many reports that Sanders is winning the money race so far, followed by Harris. Elizabeth Warren has decided to swear off big money private donors as well as PACs (good for her!) so it would be interesting to see how she is doing.

But we can’t know at this moment. I’m guessing that the FEC will report out their quarterly numbers at the end of the month. We will check in then!

Iowa

At times like this I so wish I lived in Iowa.

I have often complained about how stupid and unfair it is that one state pretty much determines which candidates move forward in the primary race for president. I could go on and on complaining about it. But right now I won’t. I will pretend I live there.

If I did I would be really into this process. I would be out there on the streets (farmlands?) and joining up in the caucuses and participating in grass roots government. The entire state would be alive with excitement and I would be able to see candidates in person almost every single day.

For example, here is a candidate tracker site by the De Moines Register. Just look at all those candidate events! There are websites like this one that track the entire horse race. They cover staff and endorsements by local residents and groups. I mean how much fun would this be? If I lived there I would be right in the middle of everything!!

God dammit, I can’t get around how dumb this is, that this tiny state with a population smaller than my city gets to choose who is going to be the next president way before I even have a chance to!