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The media are yelling that this time, Elizabeth Warren won.  And why did she win, gentle readers?  She led the attack on Michael Bloomberg.  Actually, the winner, as usual, was Donald Trump.  What talking heads are lauding as Warren’s commanding performance was nothing more than a display of bad temper, anger and simmering hatred, not only for Bloomberg, but for Americans.  Apparently angry attacks on political rivals of the same party are now far more important than rational, constitutional policies.  She’s not a good person, and she demonstrated that in dramatic fashion.

Bloomberg was—and is—a pathetic figure.  The Las Vegas “debate” revealed him to be a media creation, a man who animates only in carefully scripted commercials design to portray him as almost lifelike.  On the “debate” stage, Bloomberg looked like a wax simulacrum, stony-faced, pale, unsmiling, and virtually unblinking.  He needed to make a masterful showing; he was beaten like a rented mule.  Rather than looking stalwart, he looked feckless, Walter Mittyish. The moderators did what they could to help him by not bringing up his particularly idiotic comments on farmers, or by asking any other particularly damaging questions.  Under constant attack, he barely got a word in for the first half hour.

I refer to the event as a “debate”—God help me, I watched the whole thing this time–because it bore no resemblance to an actual debate where issues are discussed in depth.  Aristotle believed effective rhetoric must have ethos—ethics, logos—logic and pathos—emotion.  The Las Vegas clown show was rife with pathos.  Ethos and logos were almost entirely absent, as were any details that would allow a viewer to have any real sense of what the D/S/Cs policies might actually be.  Actually, the little substance present revealed an almost complete lack of the candidate’s logic and ethics.

There were only two policies discussed in any real depth, “depth” being measured in microns: communist health care and communist “climate crisis.”  Apart from that, all of the usual D/S/C debate themes were at least touched on:

Trump is the embodiment of evil. “Democratic socialism”–talk about an oxymoron–isn’t really socialism because it’s democratic, and it’s absolutely not communism, no sir, and we can be sure of that because Bernie Sanders says so and he’s a democratic socialist.  Guns must be controlled.  The Climate Crisis is going to doom us all, doom, I say! in 2020, or six or seven years or so.  Some flavor of “universal health care” will happen or we’re doomed, doomed!  The police are evil and racist.  We must “empower workers!”  We must make lots of “investments” (free stuff

paid for out of the pockets of honest taxpayers).  We’re going to utterly destroy the coal and oil business, which will create millions of jobs in the new “green economy.”  We’re not going to raise taxes on small business, but on everyone else, except blacks and Hispanics, who are going to start all kinds of small businesses.  Amazingly, no one actually called all Americans racist, which has been a primary debate theme until now, but of course, it’s implied by everything they said.  There were, of course, no American flags anywhere in sight.

The debate format gave each candidate only a bit over a minute for statements, and less for responses.  This caused them all to speak very rapidly, and most adopted the “scream angrily, attack constantly, stare fixedly, and gesture wildly” method of speechifying. They spent so much time yelling at each other, the five moderators only got in a few questions over the two hours, which felt like an eternity.

On to the candidates:

Bernie “I’m not a communist” Sanders:  He was, if anything, even angrier, louder, more manically gesturing, wild-eyed and red-faced than usual.  He immediately attacked Bloomberg on “Stop and Frisk” (I addressed that issue here). Bernie informed us he will bring everyone together—while attacking half of America—and his agenda will work for everyone because Universal Health Care and Green New Deal, and “workers”—he just can’t stop with the communist terminology—haven’t had a raise in 45 years.  By that definition, I’m apparently not a worker.  He’s going to spend untold trillions to save billions on health care and that will work because he’s going to raise taxes on everyone, but they won’t have to pay for health care they won’t get due to shortages and rationing, so it’s all good.  Bernie is going to entirely ban fracking because we have only 6-7 years left until absolute climate doom!  And he’s a democratic socialist because some countries have a higher standard of living than we do.

Michael “I really like black people and women” Bloomberg:  As Previously noted, he was as animated as a wax statue.  I was almost sure I saw him blink once, and he may have had the barest hint of a smirk on his stony face once too, but I’m not sure about that one. Bloomberg knows Sanders can’t beat Trump because he’s going to take away everyone’s insurance, but he can beat him and run the country, and he’s spending millions to get rid of Trump which is the only thing that will prevent the imminent destruction of the universe. Trump’s not a manager, but he is.  He likes Obamacare, but he wants to double down on it and impose even more Obamacare than Obamacare, but he’s not for universal health care, no Sir!

When he was attacked about being a racist because of Stop And Frisk, he gave a rambling, repeated pseudo apology, something about it was in effect when he became mayor, but “it got out of hand,” so he stopped “95%” of it.  He’s going to entirely kill the coal industry.  He had the most telling comment of the evening when he said:

Sanders’ and Warren were outraged, the audience and rest of the candidates groaned, and Sanders’ and Warren’s little hands shot up: “OOO, OOO, Me, Me!”  They were very anxious to reassure the audience they were too communists and they were too going to throw out capitalism.

Elizabeth “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” Warren:  She was even louder, angrier, and more hectoring than usual.  She immediately attacked Bloomberg for calling women “fat broads” and “horse faced lesbians,” and observed Democrats can’t “substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”

She challenged Bloomberg to void all the nondisclosure agreements he has with women formerly in his employ.  He helplessly stuttered the NDAs were “consensual,”—the women, not he, wanted them—so he wouldn’t.  She’s going to stop mining and drilling on public lands, and will stop all off shore drilling.  She wants to “get more power into unions,” and make them easier to join. She observed she has been a politician a shorter time than anyone on the stage, and she’ll “fight for families.”  During the evening, she told several ostensibly tear-jerking anecdotes to illustrate her points, sad stories full of virtue because of her caring for unfortunates, but they were so rushed and obscure, people’s eyes glazed over.  That particular Warren tactic got old about the 3rd debate.  Her shrill and intrusive tactics won her most of the talking time.

Amy “I’m just like you toothless WalMart shoppers” Klobuchar: “I’m the only one for rural and suburban voters.”  She attacked Bloomberg for a campaign memo suggesting three of the candidates should drop out in favor of Bloomberg.  She also said something I hadn’t considered: a women president would stop sexism on the Internet, apparently because she would be president, and a woman.  The token Telemundo moderator, a woman with an outrageous Hispanic accent, made Klobuchar apologize gushingly about not knowing the name of the Mexican president, which set off a sickly sweet diatribe about how wonderful and important Mexico is.

She has, for some time, claimed to be a capitalist, which she summed up like this: “I believe in capitalism, but the President of the United States should be a check on that.”  Of course he/she should.

She announced she opposed at least 2/3 of the Trump judges—can’t have people that make rulings based on the Constitution and the law—and said: “we have a president that doesn’t have a heart.”  She, of course, does.  Gay Pete and she had several nasty exchanges.  There’s no love lost there.

Gropin’ Joe “Where am I?” Biden: He was in “speak really fast, say nothing, shout loudly, look really angry, gesture wildly and attack everybody” mode.  His makeup was very thick, but he must have missed his most recent Botox appointment.  His brow was heavily furrowed, his eyes were wide and staring, and he had red marks over his right eyebrow and on his left cheek as though the makeup people were trying, and failing, to cover bruises.  He continues to look every day of his age, but was more energized than usual, if not more coherent.  He attacked Bloomberg early over Stop and Frisk, calling it “a violation of every right people have.”  It apparently also involved free speech, religion, and the right not to have troops quartered in one’s home.  Who knew?  He noted a recent NBC poll shows he’s the best person to beat Trump.  The audience was silent about that, but later during his closing statement, he was loudly heckled, forcing him to stop until the hecklers—it was impossible to make out what they were saying—were removed.

Biden too is all for the Green New Deal, and he thinks we have to find a way to transmit the power from windmills and solar installations across the country, so we have to invest in batteries, and high speed rail, lots of that.  No battery technology to do that sort of thing exists, nor does high-speed rail, but he also wants electric vehicle chargers everywhere.  He also explained why he’s running: “I’m running because so many people have been left behind.” Yeah.  It’s that darned terrible Trump economy.

Pete “I’m a lot more Christian than you, and Gay too” Buttegieg: He was pale, and had a heavy five O’ Clock shadow, particularly on his upper lip.  Was he trying to look older?  He announced Sanders and Bloomberg “are the most polarizing figures on this stage,” and said “let’s put forth somebody who’s actually a Democrat.”  Pete is a socialist as any of them, but he was rolling…  If we don’t elect a climate hysteric instead of Trump by 2020, we’re all doomed!  He spent considerable time shamelessly pandering to Blacks and Hispanics—which isn’t a bad idea considering how badly he’s doing with both—though it likely didn’t help him at all.  And in a rare moment of faux introspection, observed: “we can’t afford to alienate half the country,” which is what they all spent the evening doing.  He has been trying to present himself as the sane, moderate alternative to everyone else, and thus far, has been fairly successful in that pretense, but should he gain in the polls, his socialist upbringing and beliefs will be exposed.

Final Thoughts:  The event was chaotic, full of petty sniping and no actual illumination of candidate’s actual policies, to say nothing of how they’re going to pay for them.  Even so, several things are clear:

*Bloomberg’s money won’t be enough to win the presidency—or will it?

*Every one of them intends to bankrupt the nation through Universal Health Care and some sort of Green New Deal.

*A few pretend they won’t take away everyone’s insurance, but that’s a promise in the same vein as “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.”

*All are going to utterly destroy the coal and oil industries, and eliminate all the infrastructure and industries involved, which would represent the destruction of the economy through the elimination of millions of jobs and innumerable communities.  But that doesn’t matter because the new, sustainable energy economy would make up all the difference.

*Though they barely mentioned it, they’re all in for disarming the public.

*Though they barely mentioned it, they’re all in for partisan judges.

*The D/S/Cs are desperate.  It’s entirely possible, even likely, the DNC will once again rig the nomination to deny Sanders.  Will they, after his pathetic performance, anoint Bloomberg and his billions?  Possible, but a dark horse like Michelle Obama can’t be counted out.

*The Trump derangement and hatred of half or more of America that consumes them will make it impossible for national reconciliation.  Should one of them win, they’ll double down on bending Deplorables to their will, and fundamentally transforming America so no Republican can ever again be elected.  Should Trump win, they will be entirely incapable of even the slightest pretense of honoring American Constitutionalism, and will make the current “Resistance,” look like a Girl Scout picnic.

Even if Trump wins in November, if Republicans don’t hold the Senate and retake the house, we’re in for a rougher ride, gentle readers.  It’s not going to be pleasant under any possible outcome.

UPDATE, 022120, 2015 CST:  Visit my favorite Bookworm’s take on the debate and the candidates.