Debate Roundup, Night 1: Williamson Wins

 

Marianne Williamson is an odd duck, but a compelling one. In CNN’s interminably long opening night of Democratic debates, the spiritual author didn’t get nearly as much time as the other candidates yet still made a large impact. How large?

While the other candidates played conventional politics, Williamson levitated above their policy details with a broad message of empathy, inclusion, and … well … love. In a room seemingly stacked with Warren and Sanders supporters, the former New Age guru earned the loudest applause of the night.

A few quotes, the first responding to Democratic bashing of corporations:

[F]or politicians, including my fellow candidates, who themselves have taken tens of thousands — and in some cases, hundreds of thousands — of dollars from these same corporate donors to think that they now have the moral authority to say we’re going to take them on, I don’t think the Democratic Party should be surprised that so many Americans believe “yada, yada, yada.”

It is time for us to start over with people who have not taken donations from any of those corporations and can say with real moral authority: That is over. We are going to establish public funding for federal campaigns. That’s what we need to stand up to.

And until we do it, it’s just the same old, same old.

On the Flint water crisis:

I assure you, I lived Grosse Pointe — what happened in Flint would not have happened in Grosse Pointe. This is part of the dark underbelly of American society. The racism, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that we’re having here tonight — 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.

On reparations:

Well, first of all, it’s not $500 billion in financial assistance. It’s $500 billion, $200 billion to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is…

What makes me qualified to say $200 billion to $500 billion? I’ll tell you what makes me qualified. If you did the math of the 40 acres and a mule, given that there was 4 million to 5 million slaves at the end of the Civil War, four to five — and they were all promised 40 acres and a mule for every family of four, if you did the math today, it would be trillions of dollars. And I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult.

And I believe that $200 billion to $500 billion is politically feasible today, because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.

On moderate candidates:

I’ve heard some people here tonight, I almost wonder why you’re Democrats. You seem to think there’s something wrong with using the instruments of government to help people. That is what government should do. It should — all policies should help people thrive. That is how we will have peace.

Political journalists and policy wonks — not to mention conservatives — know that Williamson’s ideas are nonsense, and mocked her on Twitter throughout the night. But the party loyalists in Detroit loved it, not to mention all those viewers who spent the debate trying to learn more about her.

While the other candidates discussed numbers and which congressional committee they chaired, Williamson hewed to a deeper cultural message, much as Trump did three years ago.

How did the moderates do? They defended their positions quite well, but the crowd wasn’t buying. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock had a strong showing, as did former Rep. Tim Delaney, but both were repeatedly shut down by competitors as not visionary enough. After Delaney criticized Medicare For All’s “fairy-tale economics,” Warren shut him down hard.

“You know, I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said. I don’t think the Marylander is long for this campaign.

Rep. Tim Ryan and Gov. John Hickenlooper also pushed moderation but made little impact. I’ll be surprised if they last much longer than Delaney.

Bernie Sanders seemed desperate, answering every question with a shouted monologue about evil corporations. Warren was more poised and fought to be given more time. She had a better outing this time than last.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was polished as always, stressing his Midwestern and military bona fides with the ever-present scolding of Christians who don’t live up to his self-styled version. Sen. Amy Klobuchar offered another dull performance, hitting several of the same notes as the mayor sans panache.

Beto O’Rourke needed a knockout to keep his donations flowing. But, just as in the first round of debates, he was sweaty and unsteady, making little impact. His tedious soundbites are fine when running against media bête noire Ted Cruz but it’s time Beto spent more time with his family.

Speaking of sweaty, CNN needs to crank the AC and hire a makeup artist. All the males on stage were clammy and damp, growing worse the longer it went on. The moderators strongly favored Warren and Sanders, especially in the first hour, and Don Lemon was abysmal as usual.

And two hours, forty minutes of ten candidates hollering at each other? That’s far too long, especially with the constant ad breaks. Good thing there’s another round Wednesday night…

There are 59 comments.

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  1. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Montana Democrats: Bullock who?

    • #1
  2. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I think that Montana Governor Steve Bullock ran away with the debate.  He has won three times in a red state.  He is one of 40% of Americans who owns a firearm.  He is against decriminalizing illegal immigrants, and against free health care to illegal aliens.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I saw Dark Psychic Force open for Def Leppard at the Aragon Ballroom in ’83.

    • #3
  4. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    • #4
  5. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    There was a debate tonight? I’ll make sure not to miss Thursday’s debate.

    • #5
  6. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    I thought it was still 2019…

    (Was the election moved up to this November?)

    • #6
  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Lord, save us from these people ever taking the reins of power! Oh my heavens, reparations bringing “healing???” More like Civil War, Part Two.

    • #7
  8. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    In a party where much of the policy is pinned on ginning up voters based on ‘feels’ it actually makes sense that Williamson would stand out among those tuning into the debate. Her message is less what she and voters should think about issues and more how they feel about them — it’s the same rationale behind why some people were talking about Oprah running for president in 2016, so the Democrats could have a candidate who could work on voters’ emotions against Trump.

    The problem for the Democrats if she gained traction would be that Marianne actually believes what she’s saying, and wouldn’t be selective with her New Age talk when going out on the campaign trail among voters who do care less about what their presidential hopeful feels than what she thinks about policy issues. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see a couple of the other candidates over the next few weeks try to toss some Williamson-like New Aget buzzwords into their speeches in hopes of pulling in a few voters who found Marianne to be interesting because she’s marching meditating to the beat of a different drum.

    • #8
  9. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Lord, save us from these people ever taking the reins of power! Oh my heavens, reparations bringing “healing???” More like Civil War, Part Two.

    The really hysterical thing is that they talk as though if we’d just come up with a few hundred billion for reparations that would put and end to the matter and there’d be no more race hustling.  That might almost be worth it if it was true.  But if you believe that I literally have some swampland in Florida to sell you.  Grifting is an industry and it ain’t going away just because it’s successful.  Quite the contrary.

    • #9
  10. Roosevelt Guck Inactive
    Roosevelt Guck
    @RooseveltGuck

    I didn’t watch the debate. I read enough about these folks’ ideas weeks ago to make up my mind. They are not qualified. Not one. It’s like watching the All Star team of players taken from every losing ball club in the league; every one is a big fish in a small pond. The best of the worst still sucks.

    • #10
  11. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    Her message is less what she and voters should think about issues and more how they feel about them.

    That’s what happens when a nice Jewish girl goes off the tracks.  Maybe the Dems will go with an all Jewish ticket:  Bernie and Marianne.  The only problem is that, like most Jews who affiliate with the Democrat party, they would lovingly (to employ Marianne’s terminology) put the screws to Israel.

    • #11
  12. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that Montana Governor Steve Bullock ran away with the debate. He has won three times in a red state. He is one of 40% of Americans who owns a firearm. He is against decriminalizing illegal immigrants, and against free health care to illegal aliens.

    LOL. Even Montana doesn’t know who he is, and the rest of the Democrats don’t care.

    • #12
  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak
    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):

    Montana Democrats: Bullock who?

    That’s what I thinking.  The most searched name in Montana was for their own governor?  Ol’ Steverino needs to work on the name recognition thing . . .

    • #14
  15. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Here’s some “moderate” Bullock policy positions…

    Late term abortions, force insurers to pay for abortions, title X abortion funding.

    Proponent of Climate change, reenter Paris Climate accords Prioritize Green Energy

    End gender pay gap. Guarantee equal pay for women

    Ban “assault weapons”. Ban “semi automatics”

    “Build on Obamacare”

    Refused to send troops to Southern border

    Protect Dreamers

    Higher taxes on wealthy

    Pathway to citizenship fro illegals

     

    So not on the lunatic fringe of the Insane Clown Party, but firmly on the Left. Someone who in the past would have been thought to be very liberal in the very recent past of the Democratic party.

     

    Meanwhile Donald Trump…

     

    Now who would real Reagan Conservatives want to see in the White House?

    • #15
  16. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Lord, save us from these people ever taking the reins of power! Oh my heavens, reparations bringing “healing???” More like Civil War, Part Two.

    It’s actually true that reparations do bring healing – that’s the original point of tort law.

    And collective reparations isn’t unheard of – how else do you get the modern state of Israel?

    It isn’t the ethics of reparations that should be questioned. It absolutely is what Cato says. And I’m with him. At this point, I’d be willing to do the reparations if it meant FINALLY moving on, but I doubt we would.

    • #16
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Very interesting analysis for those of us who missed it.  Oh my! Tough choices for the Democrats – who to pick out of this fine bunch…..no one took on the rats of Baltimore?

    • #17
  18. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Stina (View Comment):
    It’s actually true that reparations do bring healing – that’s the original point of tort law.

    The problem is:

    Neither the payers nor the recipients of reparations have had anything to do with slavery.

    The recipients won’t be healed, and the payers will now be in need of healing.

    Reparations for slavery is outside of tort law.  Any black person today would have a tort case based on slavery thrown out.  Reparations would be done by passing a Federal law, so all taxpayers including blacks would become payers . . .

    • #18
  19. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Stad (View Comment):

    Neither the payers nor the recipients of reparations have had anything to do with slavery.

    The recipients won’t be healed, and the payers will now be in need of healing.

    Hence my second paragraph and agreement with Cato. What you quoted was me pointing out reparations DO have a proper place and that our laws and traditions mirror that.

    What you quoted was me responding to what appeared to be a general denunciation of reparations, not just this specific case.

    • #19
  20. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Williamson levitated above their policy details with a broad message of empathy, inclusion, and … well … love.

    I hope her fund raising numbers go through the roof. Every dollar spent here doesn’t go to a candidate who could win or to candidates in tougher senate races

    • #20
  21. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Stina (View Comment):

    It’s actually true that reparations do bring healing – that’s the original point of tort law.

     

    The people who would have reason to file a tort suit are long dead.  The people who would pay the costs are long dead.

    It’s nonsense.

    • #21
  22. Slow on the uptake Thatcher
    Slow on the uptake
    @Chuckles

    No longer have television.  Thanks for once again confirming giving it up was the right decision.

    • #22
  23. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Stina (View Comment):
    And collective reparations isn’t unheard of – how else do you get the modern state of Israel?

    In case you didn’t hear, Israel fought a War of Independence, and several wars since, against staggering odds, only to emerge victorious.

    The problem with American blacks is that they never achieved such a victory.  They never collectively took responsibility for their future — always relying on the powers that be to hand it to them — and, with reparations, will solidify their status as an eternally aggrieved, eleemosynary group.  Becoming free requires not only removal of physical constraints but breaking the psychic chains of dependency, too.  As Eleanor Roosevelt said:  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

    Until a majority of American blacks take responsibility for their future and reject others determining their fate, nothing will change.

    • #23
  24. Slow on the uptake Thatcher
    Slow on the uptake
    @Chuckles

    Stina (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Lord, save us from these people ever taking the reins of power! Oh my heavens, reparations bringing “healing???” More like Civil War, Part Two.

    It’s actually true that reparations do bring healing – that’s the original point of tort law.

    And collective reparations isn’t unheard of – how else do you get the modern state of Israel?

    It isn’t the ethics of reparations that should be questioned. It absolutely is what Cato says. And I’m with him. At this point, I’d be willing to do the reparations if it meant FINALLY moving on, but I doubt we would.

    I very much doubt UN Resolution 181 (Partition) had anything to do with reparations.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    J. J. Sefton over at Ace of Spades – nothing but net.

    Marianne Williamson makes Christine O’Donnell look like Jeanne Kirkpatrick …

    A shot that sweet belongs on an ESPN highlight reel.

    • #25
  26. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that Montana Governor Steve Bullock ran away with the debate. He has won three times in a red state. He is one of 40% of Americans who owns a firearm. He is against decriminalizing illegal immigrants, and against free health care to illegal aliens.

    So he ran away with an imaginary Republican debate, or with you, or what?  None of those things will help him get a sniff at the nomination of a party who lionizes AOC.  

    • #26
  27. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    It’s actually true that reparations do bring healing – that’s the original point of tort law.

     

    The people who would have reason to file a tort suit are long dead. The people who would pay the costs are long dead.

    It’s nonsense.

    It’s an idea that the Democrats have to keep in the abstract, because if they get into the specifics before the election on how they’re going to make it work, that’s when the whole thing falls apart, based on who gets and who gives reparations (where even liberals who happen to be Latino, Asian or recent U.S. arrivals would likely chafe at the idea they’re going to be ponying up for some cash distribution fund, while at the other end the question would be whether it would be a general distribution, or would blacks have to provide proof of ancestry to the pre-1865 South in order to qualify. Julian Castro might be fine standing up on the debate stage tonight and saying America should provide reparations for a pool that Ilhan Omar might qualify for, but odds are most of the people he was formerly mayor of in San Antonio won’t be so sanguine about the proposal, if those details were known).

    • #27
  28. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Percival (View Comment):

    J. J. Sefton over at Ace of Spades – nothing but net.

    Marianne Williamson makes Christine O’Donnell look like Jeanne Kirkpatrick …

    In kook factor, yes.

    Probably not in IQ.

    And that’s what makes Williamson dangerous.

    • #28
  29. fidelio102 Inactive
    fidelio102
    @fidelio102

    Pretty accurate assessment of the evening’s debate.

    Warren, who has double the intellectual firepower of any other candidate in the field, was the clear winner.  It is always disappointing, however, when she abandons her clear message that big business and big money rule the country (true) to embrace some of the wilder ultra-left policies on immigration, reparations and race.

    The one encouraging trend noted in Detroit is that half the candidates  on the podium (Bullock, Delaney, Hickenlooper, Ryan and even the obnoxious Klobuchar), all admitted that it was time the Democratic Party returned to earth and addressed the problems the voters actually want solved.

    Sanders had a disastrous evening, ranting and gesticulating as if he were addressing a Nuremberg rally.

     

    • #29
  30. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #30

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