Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tuesday Night's Debates -- and Jesse Ventura, as a footnote

First, I love the differences between the Democratic Debate, and what has passed as more circus than debates on the right.  Substance, Dignity, appeal to an adult audience with adult behavior.

But there seems no clear consensus on who won.  Many say Hillary lit up the night. (Get the word play with the lit up the night Hillary jack-o-lantern?)

Others point out Bernie Sanders, noting he is in a stronger position re small money donors, focus groups, gains in the polls and rally turnouts than Obama was in the same time frame of election campaigns. (See Bernie feeling the Bern in the graphic.)  And then there was O’Malley, who a few people thought did a big break-out turn, but more seem to feel he at best looked like a potential Veep candidate.  Time will tell, if he goes thumbs up or thumbs down.

Lincoln Chaffee is a sweet guy, but not presidential or vice presidential material.  Rather he seems to me what people who haven’t been actually watching Bernie Sanders were expecting lefty liberal Sanders to be, all too nicey-nicey-touchy-feely-fuzzy.

Same for Webb; he is not ready for prime time, and doesn’t have anything special to break out of the unknown column. Certainly not anything he has shown so far. Webb is also not looking Veep-worthy.

O’Malley might be a good fit for a Veep candidate, but this is only one debate.

Depending on who you believe, mostly reflecting so far as I can tell pre-debate preferences, either Sanders or Clinton won, and both appear to be credited with strong performances (especially Hillary).  Hillary leads the left as the single-name-recognition candidate, highly recognizable like Trump on the right.  The “Feel the Bern” message of Sanders campaign is gaining ground (on a par with Yeb!) on the right.  People can figure out who it is, but it is less meaningful or significant to those not heavily into candidates this early.

I think the two are each excellent candidates for different reasons. I would not be averse to a shared ticket, with Bernie in the Veep slot. That ticket NEEDS the additional swing left/progressive.

And I think they could get along, and be useful to each other, bringing things to the general election race that one or the other lack. It is way too early to speculate on that possibility.

Besides, my preference for the Veep slot would be Gov. Brown of California – he’s made some pretty remarkable turn-arounds in California, and has been successful in making bi-partisan solutions that work while not entirely alienating conservatives or losing his left-leaning wing base.

While it is typical that after a two term stint, the oval office changes hands, I would remind our readers that didn’t happen with the election of George H.W. Bush after Reagan, although he was only a one term president, losing to Bill Clinton. Some models, notably Reuters, posit that the approval ratings of the President have to be above 55% -60%. But in the case of either Hillary or Bernie, I think that model is wrong, for not adequately considering voter turn out patterns and how they differ from past election voting patterns and demographics; also for not taking into account the utter debacle that is the right wing of our political spectrum, I would argue unprecedented in dysfunction. And it does not consider the history-making potential of either the first woman president, or the first socialist president. Bernie has done a masterful job of taking his message to the right, including sometimes the far right, and succeeding in getting past the knee-jerk negative reaction to the boogey-man word for conservatives. I have seen nothing this election cycle that impresses me as much as Bernie Sanders going to Liberty University, and making a success out of his speech in the proverbial lions den of the opposition.

I had been highly skeptical of Bernie having a prayer in heck of winning a general election, even if I like his policy positions and his campaign style. But I’m beginning to be more positive about Bernie.

And in other news, no debates, but last night on the Nightly Show, our former governor Jesse Ventura announced that he is (sort of? maybe?) going to be the Libertarian candidate for 2016. But then he stressed he would NOT join the Libertarian party. Because………like George Washington, he sees a pro-voter advantage in emulating our first president, even if there were really no clear parties developed until a few years into the history of our new-minted nation.

There was nothing about Jesse that rang presidential. Loud and attention grabbing, yes. Presidential…….no. Jesse had some interesting ideas back in the day when he was governor, notably exploring the advantages of a unicameral legislature instead of a state House and a state Senate. But he just seemed fond of more quirky notions than the most solid policy positions, and he looked old and rather tatty, like he was ridden hard and put up wet, as they saying goes. I just do not see a conspiracy hawker playing well outside of the foaming at the mouth fringies. And there are already too many people hoping for that minority cray-cray support.

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