A Biden by the Rules


I watched the third Democratic debate last night, because I still do things like that. It was forever before they had the first commercial break, though, and sometimes I blurt out what I’m thinking and miss something, like Andrew Yang using his opening statement to say he’s running a sweepstakes. I’m with him on the need for a universal basic income, and I’m disappointed that no one else seems to favor that; but is a debate the right time to announce a giveaway? Maybe that’s why the moderators didn’t give him much time to talk. No, really, it always seems like they give the lower-polling candidates the short shrift, even though they’re the ones whose positions voters might not know as well. Amy Klobuchar kind of got lost in the mix, so I still pretty much only know that she was mean to her staffers. But then, she’s just the only one for whom we heard reports of her being mean to staffers. Maybe all of the candidates are. I have no way of knowing. I think her slogan at this point might be, “I’m the moderate who ISN’T senile!” It’s weird, because it seems like people I follow on social media tend to dislike Biden, but he’s still ahead in the polls. I guess most of us follow primarily like-minded people. I’ve read about how his comment about record players, even if he had gone with a more modern listening device, conflated black people with poor people, which seems weirdly common for him.

The thing is, I feel kind of bad for Joe in that everyone is trying to throw things he did or said forty years ago back at him. Hey, even eighteen years ago seems like it might not be entirely relevant. I don’t know why any Democrat bought into George W. Bush’s warmongering back in 2001, but enough time has passed that I don’t know that it’s a good measure of someone’s current views. But the mistake in his part in replying to them is that he seems really reluctant to say he’s changed his mind on anything. I suppose that’s typical for politicians, but I don’t know what the advantage to it is. Being opposed to busing for desegregation in 1975 is one thing (still bad, but people change over four decades), while still being against it today is another matter. When Pete Buttigieg said his bit about the debate being too hostile and Julian Castro basically said that’s how elections work, I have to agree with Pete that this is part of the problem. Obviously there are going to be disagreements, but there’s not much point to attacking the other people who have similar positions when there’s still the possibility of a second Trump term. Which doesn’t mean the candidates should talk about Trump either, unless it’s relevant to their own platforms. If you haven’t already realized by now that calling Trump scum would be an insult to the stuff on top of ponds, you’re probably not going to vote for any of these candidates anyway. It’s a waste of time to talk about how racist Trump is, because we know that already. Moderators asking insulting questions isn’t really helping anything either.

I think it’s a little weird that Biden’s position on health care is, “I want to stick with Obamacare!” when even Obama didn’t necessarily want to stick with Obamacare. That’s not to say it wasn’t an important development, because it was. I’m all in favor of Obamacare, but you have to remember that it’s a compromise with the Republicans, and is essentially what they proposed before Obama took office. But once it became associated with him, they suddenly hated it. But my point is that it’s a work in progress. Even Biden says he wants to improve on it and maybe introduce a public option, so again it’s people with basically the same position fighting over nuances. That said, I’m glad Elizabeth Warren said that no one really likes their health insurance company, because I’m sick of Democrats trying to work within the bounds of dumb Republican talking points. Compromise is necessary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call out stupidity. Most people DON’T necessarily get to keep their doctor or their health care plan, if they even have one. It’s up to their employers, or to what they can afford on their own, and it can change frequently. But if politicians are going to keep talking about choice, then of course everyday Americans are going to think choice is the most important thing, even if they don’t have it to begin with.

Comic by Mikhaela B. Reid
It strikes me that, with the insurance companies, a lot of what you have are meaningless choices. I’ve been in the situation of having to pick a plan from a list, and my brain basically shuts down. I don’t understand most of the jargon. I don’t know any of the doctors the plans cover. I guess I want the option to avoid one that turns out to be actively bad, but overall I’d welcome anything that I didn’t have to think much about, as long as it isn’t also going to cost way too much, and isn’t that what single payer is supposed to be? I’d also much rather my money go to help other people receive health care than to make an insurance company even richer, but apparently a lot of people don’t agree with me. I’d still rather for Medicaid for All than Medicare for All, but again, it’s a work in progress.


Hey, at least we’re rid of Marianne Williamson and her praying away the hurricanes. I can totally see why people find her entertaining. Batshit crazy people are often entertaining. But I also think her kind of rhetoric is dangerous, because some people are actually going to believe that they can work miracles with their minds. And does that mean that, if bad stuff happens anyway, we aren’t collectively thinking positively enough? It’s putting blame on the wrong people. But I guess she didn’t pray hard enough to get two percent in the polls. Speaking of Williamson, I recently started following author Molly Jong-Fast on Twitter after seeing her on a list of recommendations. I didn’t know at the time that her mother is Erica Jong, of whom I was aware even though I’ve never read anything by her. I think my dad had (maybe still has) one of her books, and I know she has a poem that mentions Princess Langwidere. It’s weird how many famous people I know nothing about other than an obscure connection with Oz. But anyway, when Molly tweeted something Williamson didn’t approve of, she sent a message to Erica, saying, among other things, “I know your daughter is young,” when Molly is forty-one. I don’t think I can make any sense of that, but for someone who talks so much about love, I’m not entirely sure Williamson is capable of it.

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