The Democratic Debate of the Damned

Right from the start, last night's debate of seven Democratic candidates for president in Charleston, South Carolina, was bullshit. The whole evening was bullshit, like a herd of bulls wandered onto the stage and just shit everywhere and the moderators of the debate, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King, simply said, "Would the bulls stop shitting?" but, because they're bulls, they didn't fucking care, Besides, the moderators had already shit all over the stage and by the end, everyone was just trying to see above the rising levels of bullshit.

Take Bernie Sanders on his first question. O'Donnell shat, "Senator Sanders, we haven't had a national unemployment rate this low for this long in 50 years. Here in South Carolina, the unemployment rate is even lower. How will you convince voters that a Democratic socialist can do better than President Trump with the economy?"

Sanders answered, "In the last three years, last three years, billionaires in this country saw an $850 billion increase in their wealth" and then went on about the failure of wage growth for workers, as well as lack of health insurance, student debt, and homelessness. You will not prevent Sanders from intoning his mantra of inequality. You won't fuckin' get him to talk about what he should have said, hell, what anyone on that stage should have said, which was that it's still Barack Obama's economy and Trump hasn't totally fucked it up, but, man, those trade wars and tax cuts for the wealthy are doing a number.

In other words, dismiss the idea that any good news in the current economy is because of Trump. But you will not fucking stop Sanders from yelling about income inequality. Fuck you for trying.

It's entirely possible that I'm just so fucking sick of this primary season that I'm no longer a reliable viewer of these pageants. But, to me, everyone was full of shit to varying degrees last night, people I like, like Warren and Sanders, and people I don't, like Bloomberg and Biden, and people I couldn't give a fuck about, like Steyer. Except for Sanders, the stench of desperation was rank as each candidate elbowed their way in to speak and the feckless moderators just let it happen. Honestly, I'd have admired, say, Klobuchar if she had exclaimed, "This is fucking dumb. I'm outta here. Anyone can meet me in the lobby to ask questions" before stage-diving and being passed to the back of the Gaillard Center.

There were the utter failures of response. Bloomberg could stand there and say with a straight face about stop and frisk, "We let it get out of control and when I realized that, I cut it back by 95 percent," and no one pointed out, "Yo, dick, it was a court order that ended your racist bullshit. So I'll thank the ACLU and you can go fuck yourself."

There was the rhetorical nonsense. Klobuchar went on about how she won rural areas in her state and how her ability to gain Minnesota's 10 Electoral College votes makes her the best candidate. (For the record, Warren won in Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire counties in Massachusetts, hardly urban centers.) Buttigieg dissed, "I am not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Donald Trump, with his nostalgia for the social order of the 1950s, and Bernie Sanders with a nostalgia for the revolutionary politics of the 1960s," as if those revolutionary politics aren't the very reason that Mayor Pete, a gay man, is even in the mix for the nomination.

Of course, there were the ego trips, with Biden insisting that "I passed the Brady Bill with waiting periods. I led that fight." Well, with help from Howard Metzenbaum and George Mitchell, yeah. That's Biden's thing: to insist that he was the one senator getting shit done or that he was some kind of super VP who had totally mesmerized the Congress.

Like Sanders, Warren was a mixed bag. Her slams at Bloomberg seemed like reruns from the last debate, although Bloomberg's obvious disgust at having a woman call him out pretty much proved every point Warren made. Her heart wasn't in attacking Sanders, although her insistence on getting rid of the filibuster is a genuine distinguishing approach to policy. She still is the candidate who can concisely and concretely talk about details of her plans.

Sanders handled the attacks from all sides with all the aplomb of someone who is used to everybody around him telling him he's wrong. He swatted them aside, even making a stirring leftist remark about U.S. foreign policy failures. It was good for him to be slammed around a bit. If he is the nominee, he'll need to be ready for a tidal wave of lies and hyperbole and Trump spit. Sanders and his supporters have a fuck-ton more faith in American voters on issues that are distractions, like his remarks on Cuba. I think we're a nation of idiots who are conditioned to recoil whenever "socialism" comes up. And I hope I'm wrong.

Steyer said something, but fuck that guy.

Yet, still, anyone on that stage would be a better president than Donald motherfuckin' Trump. That goes without saying. Hell, the lecterns would be better than Trump.

Obviously, the worst part of the evening was the moderating. Seriously, you could have put a pile of puppies on the chairs and they'd have had as much control over the "debate" as O'Donnell and King (and the trio who joined them later). And the majority of the questions were either complete garbage or breathtakingly, like asking Bloomberg about his sugary drinks tax before asking about the goddamn coronavirus. There was an astonishing abandonment of real issues, like climate change and immigration policy.

And there were a number of times where it just seemed like one questioner or another was baiting a candidate, like when Major Garrett (who used to be on Fox "news") asked Sanders, "What would you say to American Jews who might be concerned you're not, from their perspective, supportive enough of Israel?" The fuck? Lemme paraphrase: "Hey, Jewy Jewberg, are you the right kind of Jew for the Jews?" Fucking absurd and, yeah, kinda antisemitic.

It was basically a worthless night, which is such a goddamn shame since the last debate was actually valuable. Jesus fuck, let's get to some fucking voting already.