politics to go

Don’t take early debates seriously



lthough I’m a political junkie and follow politics 24/6, I hate early debates, Republican or Democratic. Ten people are great for a minyan, but two nights of ten people arguing gives me a headache and makes it difficult to take them seriously.

After an 18-hour day of reading, researching, writing about politics, and getting ready for guest appearances on radio, my brain needs a break from politics. On Tuesday night, America’s Got Talent was on, which provided much more entertainment than an early season field of 20. On Wednesday, Battlebots, a robot fighting competition, was my evening distraction.

But I couldn’t skip the debates totally. Feeling guilty, I’d turn to CNN for a moment or two during the commercial breaks of the more entertaining fare. Each time, I’d hear candidates say something extraordinary or ask a bizarre question. Each of the quotes below was actually said by a candidate during the two nights of debate.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose entire campaign is based on equal rights for women, said something that seemed to conflict with her strategy:  “The first thing I’m going to do as president is I am going to Clorox the Oval Office.”

Her priorities made me wonder why she believes a woman’s primary role is to do housework. After she cleans the Oval Office, will she take in people’s laundry and make some sammiches for the Cabinet? She need not worry, however — she won’t be elected. 

It was surprising that even liberal reporters didn’t give Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders credit for saying something brilliant. During one of my channel flips, I heard him yell, “I wrote the damn bill.” Brilliantly simple! That’s the goal of liberalism. They write the damn bill, and voters are stuck paying it.


o one pointed out that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proved how little she knows about presidential politics: “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. I don’t get it!”

Anybody who’s ever followed politics knows they are running for one of two reasons: to get a Vice President or cabinet spot from the eventual winner, or to make money off a book, speaking engagements, or a contributor gig on MSNBC or CNN.

At one point on Tuesday, I feared that I’d switched to the wrong channel — well, either that or that CNN started carrying Seinfeld. I put on the debate and heard someone saying “yada-yada-yada,” so I quickly turned back to AGT.

It took the next day’s newspaper to learn that it was part of the debate. Candidate, self-help guru, and Oprah’s spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson (D-Twilight Zone) had said that so many Americans believe “yada-yada-yada.” She couldn’t have been telling the truth, because I’ve never met an American who wasn’t on Seinfeld believe yada-yada-yada, or even know what it is.

After checking the big pollsters like Gallup and Rasmussen, not one asks people about their belief in yada-yada-yada. At least not one admits to asking. Perhaps they asked the question but didn’t publish the results due to the dark psychic force Ms. Williamson also spoke of.

I didn’t hear his entire line, but Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan may agree to Congress funding a southern border barrier as long as some electronics are included: “Right now, when you want to come into the country, you should at least ring the doorbell.” I am sure the president would agree, but did he check with Speaker Pelosi?


ormer HUD Secretary Julián Castro was a bit of a braggart, claiming he’s more coordinated than the average liberal. If people cared about athletic prowess, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be president. Castro said, “I really do believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time.” Hey, Julián, there were children watching! At the very least you could have said sugarless gum!

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar shockingly admitted to being a peeping Tom, stating, “I don’t think we should conduct foreign policy in a bathrobe at 5 in the morning, which is what he does.” How the heck does she know what Trump is wearing at 5 am?

Senator Spartacus,  Cory Booker of New Jersey, is not very observant. Well, either that or he likes to taunt old people, which is not very nice. Clicking over to the debate, I saw Booker turn to former Vice President Joe Biden and say, “You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid, and you don’t even know the flavor.”

No matter the flavor, if Biden was about to take a dip in Kool-Aid, why didn’t Booker stop him? Does he get kicks seeing an old guy swimming in a vat of flavored water?

And if Biden loses, he plans to run again in 110 years. He said so himself. At the end of his closing argument, Biden said: “If you agree with me, go to Joe 3-0-3-3-0 and help me in this fight, thank you very much.” He already has a website for the 3030 campaign.

Some may disagree with my interpretation, but I believe that by watching last week’s debates for only moments at a time, my understanding was better than the pundits who watched both nights in their entirety.

The next Democratic Party debates are scheduled for Sept. 12 (and possibly Sept. 13). The way things look now, there will be fewer candidates who will meet the polling and fundraising minimums, so that debate may be one night, and I may tune in to the entire thing.

However, I continue to believe that minyans are for davening, not for debating. The Democratic field will have to be whittled down even further to motivate me to take them seriously.