Tag Archives: Democratic primary

Castro launches cheap shot at Biden

You may count me as one of those Americans who gasped just a tad tonight when Julian Castro seemed to launch an ageist attack against Joe Biden.

The two men were part of a 10-candidate Democratic presidential candidate joint appearance tonight in Houston.

The former vice president, Biden, sought to make a point about “Medicare for all.” He opposes a plan pitched by opponents Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He said he supported a provision in the Affordable Care Act, which gave Americans a chance to “buy in” to insurance plans provided by the ACA.

Castro then launched a verbal barrage, accusing the former VP of “forgetting” what he just said. He said several times in just a few seconds that Biden “forgot” something he said only moments earlier. The audience at the Texas Southern University hall gasped audibly.

I have to say I thought the moment revealed an ugly side of the former Housing secretary and former San Antonio mayor.

Moreover, he misrepresented what Biden actually said … which makes his attack even worse.

Ageism has no place

I don’t know who won this encounter. They all seemed to score sufficient points arguing with each other at times. However, Julian Castro’s baseless barrage appears to have been the lowest point that any of the candidates suffered.

Too bad.

Hey Democratic candidates for POTUS, come on down!

Hey, I understand the large field of Democrats running for president of the United States have been seen scurrying around the Iowa State Fair. They’re scarfing down alleged “fair food,” kissing babies, shaking hands, begging for votes.

Good for them. Good for Iowa, which kicks off the nation’s first electoral process leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

However, we’ve got a state fair coming up right here in Texas. The Texas State Fair commences in Dallas on Sept. 27. It runs until Oct. 20. They’ll play a big college football game — Texas vs. Oklahoma — during the run of the fair.

Oh, and Texas figures to be every bit as much of a “battleground state” in 2020 as, say, Iowa. And … our primary will be early in the election season.

Here’s my point. I want to see the Democrats pour into Texas just as they have done in Iowa, are doing so as well in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two other early primary states.

I live a bit north of Big D, but I just might find some time to venture to the State Fairgrounds before the fair closes down for the year. I want to see some of these folks up close. I want to hear with my own ears what they’re telling voters, how they’re pitching their candidacies.

Come on, candidates. Big Tex beckons you to the Texas State Fair.

What’s more, the fried beer is worth a try.

Democrats need to develop their beat-Trump formula

First, I want to state the obvious, which is that I want Donald Trump removed from the presidency of the United States.

My first choice would be for him to resign, and to take Mike Pence with him into the political wilderness. My second choice would be for the House of Reps to impeach them both and then for the Senate to convict them both of high crimes and assorted misdemeanors.

My third choice, and the one that makes the most sense, is for the Trump-Pence ticket to get drummed out of office on Election Day, 2020.

Will that third option come true? Not based on what many millions of us have witnessed in the first two rounds of Democratic Party presidential primary debates.

I heard the term “circular firing squad” after the Wednesday night encounter. The Man in the Middle was the former vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination … at least for the moment.

None of the candidates running for the nomination seem able to combat Donald Trump, the gut-fighter Republican incumbent who might be poised to insult his way to re-election.

Trump will not invoke a clear and grand vision for the future. He won’t offer a second-term agenda, because he doesn’t have one. He won’t appeal to our better angels by telling us the “best is yet to come.” He’s going to attach hideous nicknames on whomever the Democrats nominate for president and vice president and is going to toss out innuendo after ghastly innuendo at them.

What are Democrats doing to prepare for that? They’re beating the hell out of each other, notably former VP Biden. As for the ex-veep, he needs to find a formula to counter those attacks and to turn his sights directly — and with extreme focus and prejudice — on Donald Trump.

Is he capable of doing so? I do not know at this moment. Is there another in that huge field of Democrats ready to assume the frontrunner’s mantle and then take the fight directly to the carnival barker/con man in chief? Hah!

That’s the bad news. I have some good news to pass along.

We’re still very early in this nominating process. A lot can happen. It probably will. That huge field of candidates will start to thin out soon. Then we’ll get to the serious contenders and weed out more of the pretenders along the way.

However, at this moment I am not feeling good about what might be waiting for us down the road.

Time to start culling the big Democratic field

It likely won’t happen as soon as some of us would want, but it will happen in due course.

The 25 Democrats running for president of the United States need to begin thinning out. Some of the fringe folks need to call it a campaign, go home and resume doing whatever they were doing before they decided to seek their 15 minutes of notoriety.

Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, Andrew Yang … see ya around. It pains me to say it, but John Hickenlooper needs to go back to Colorado. That’s four of ’em.

More are likely to follow. I’m guessing Tulsi Gabbard is likely to pack it in as well. Eric Swalwell? Buh-bye.

None of these candidates is likely to get any traction based on their first debate performances.

The media and the political experts are focusing on the Main Eventers: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Julian Castro, Beto O’Rourke, Michael Bennet … good heavens, I know I am missing someone; maybe several someones.

Twenty-five is too many candidates, although I will never suggest the also rans shouldn’t have tossed their fedoras into the middle of the ring. The two-part Democratic debate marathon earlier this week did demonstrate how hard it is for all the candidates to be heard, let alone those with next to zero visibility.

If they stay in for a while longer, that’s fine.

The time is fast approaching, though, for the fittest of the bunch to start making their presence felt. The aim of the Democratic Party must include an agenda that involves defeating Donald J. Trump.

Let’s get real. Not all the Democrats running for president are able to do perform that essential task.

Don’t count Beto out just yet

I guess the preliminary verdict is in regarding the first of two Democratic Party presidential primary debates. Texan Beto O’Rourke might have suffered the most serious wounds from the encounter.

I agree that O’Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, didn’t sound sharp. He got caught flat-footed when former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro went after him over immigration reform; then we had that strange Spanish riff that seemed a bit gimmicky to many listeners’ ears.

However, I am not going to sound the death knell over O’Rourke’s candidacy. That might come, just not quite yet.

O’Rourke appears to be learning how to campaign nationally as he goes along. He ran for the U.S. Senate in Texas without employing any pollsters, or much of a professional campaign staff — and he still came within a whisker of knocking Ted Cruz out of office in 2018.

That first debate did produce some highlights for several candidates: Castro, Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio, New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker all scored well.

Beto? He took some body punches. Some of his wounds were self-inflicted.

Remember this: The campaign is just getting started. The candidates have a long way to go. It’s no time for Beto to bail.

Hoping Joe Biden hangs tough

I am going to make it clear: I do not want Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy to wither and die because he said he was able to work with senators with whom he had serious disagreements.

The former vice president had the bad form to hold up a couple of raging racists — Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia — as examples of the men with whom he could do political business.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party has gone ballistic, savaging Biden over those remarks. Many of those progressives happen to be fellow Democratic candidates for president.

The former VP will have a chance to stand with those critics next week at the first set of Democratic presidential debates. How should he handle the criticism that is sure to fly at him? Maybe he can express regret over the examples he cited. Perhaps an apology is in order. However, he also should emphasize that the art of legislating, which is what he did for more than three decades as a senator, often requires lawmakers to cross the ideological divide to get things done.

And yes, sometimes that involves working with despicable characters.

Stand firm, Vice President Biden. I’m not sure you’ll have my vote when the Democratic primary field rolls into Texas. I just want the man to explain to laymen like me how effective governance works.

Large field broadens the scope of quality candidates

I said during the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign that the GOP field was deep and full of highly qualified individuals.

My favorite in the field of 17 became then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a man of considerable legislative accomplishment during his years in Congress, particularly as chairman of the House Budget Committee when he worked with Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Clinton to produce a balanced federal budget.

He didn’t make the grade, of course. GOP voters settled on the carnival barker/reality TV celebrity/phony self-made real estate mogul Donald Trump.

The GOP winner is now running for re-election as president of the United States.

He faces an even larger field of Democratic challengers, not to mention at least one challenger from within his own Republican Party.

The big Democratic primary field is full of talent, too.

I am officially undecided on who I prefer to see nominated to run against the “stable genius” who masquerades as POTUS.

None of the heretofore unknowns has yet to bust through the glass, surprising the nation with his or her political strength. Yes, we have a former vice president in the field; he is holding on to a large lead among the candidates seeking to run against Trump.

We also have a 2016 primary also-ran in the Democratic field.

There’s the small-town mayor, a few U.S. senators, a couple of governors, some (current and former) House members and a smattering of candidates who, to be candid, I don’t know what they do during the day.

But . . . they all have assorted skills and experience that I am quite sure commend them for the toughest job in the world.

I won’t go so far out on that ol’ limb to suggest that any of dozens of Democrats would be preferable to the incumbent.

However, a lot of them fit the bill. I want to hear more from them this time, just as I wanted to hear more from the GOP field in 2016.

My hope is that the consequence of this large field of Democrats only shortens the odds of a quality challenger emerging to defeat Donald Trump a year from November and send him out of the White House as quickly as humanly possible.

Please, let there be no repeat of the hideous mistake that Republican Party primary voters made when they nominated the huckster in chief.

Biden takes fight straight to Trump

Joe Biden has a huge hurdle to clear if he intends to take up residence in the White House in January 2021.

The former vice president must defeat an enormous field of Democratic opponents vying for their party’s nomination; then if he succeeds at that he will have to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.

The ex-VP’s opening gambit, released this morning via video, goes straight after Trump. I have to hand it to Biden. He is acting like the Democratic front runner.

Biden’s video takes dead aim at the president’s hideous comment about “fine people . . . on both sides” of the Charlottesville, Va., riot that erupted in 2017. One of those “sides,” let us recall, comprised neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Ku Klux Klansmen. Biden noted in his campaign video that Trump sought to attach “moral equivalence” between haters and those who protested against them.

That was the moment, Biden said, that he realized the nation was facing the worst threat he has seen “in my lifetime.”

Biden’s front-running status is likely to diminish as his fellow Democrats start picking away at his huge public service record. It contains more than a few missteps, mistakes, misstatements and assorted gaffes along the way.

For now, though, the former vice president has decided that his No. 1 happens to be the current president of the United States.

To which I say: Give him hell, Joe!

Beto has one distinct advantage over rest of huge field

As I ponder the impact of Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the burgeoning Democratic Party presidential primary field, I keep thinking of a distinct advantage he holds over most of the rest of the thundering herd.

He doesn’t have a job at the moment.

Beto once served in Congress. He represented El Paso in Congress for three terms. Then O’Rourke decided to give up his House seat. He ran for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke ignited the Texas Democratic Party, which had been in a state of slumber, er . . . stupor for the past three decades.

O’Rourke almost won!

Now he wants to take the fight to an even higher level. He wants to become president of the United States.

He is running against a lot of U.S. senators, some governors and others who are gainfully employed. Beto doesn’t have a job.

One of the points he sought to make while losing narrowly to Cruz was that the junior senator from Texas spent too much time running for president and too little time casting votes in the Senate.

The many folks who are running against him for president in next year’s Democratic primary will be unable to slather him with mud from that particular pit. He’s jobless at the moment and can devote his waking moments full time to the task of running for POTUS.

He’ll be able to parlay that advantage at least for a little while.

Then he well might have to cope with another high-powered politician with no gainful employment.

Joe Biden? Are you out there?

Looks like Beto’s running for POTUS

If you put a gun to my head and said “Make your prediction about Beto O’Rourke … or else,” I am likely to say that Beto is running for president of the United States in 2020.

Why else would be stand in front of a South by Southwest crowd in Austin today and tell ’em he’s made up his mind, but just isn’t ready to divulge what he has decided to do.

It sounds to me as though O’Rourke is lining up his ducks, assembling his campaign organization.

Run, Beto, run?

I mean, think about it! Were he not going to run, why would he have any reason to delay announcing a decision. If he’s going to stay home, find other work, do something else he would just say so. Isn’t that right? Does that make as much sense to you as it does to me?

So, Beto — who nearly beat Sen. Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate seat from Texas in 2018 — likely is going to jump into the massive and still growing Democratic Party primary field that wants to challenge Donald John Trump for president.

I beg you, though, dear reader. Please don’t hold me to this if O’Rourke decides to stay home in El Paso.

My so-called “prediction” is based on a hypothetical circumstance. Please remember that if he decides against running for president.