This is my first post on the 2020 presidential election, prompted by the Democrats’ debate last night in Ohio. This is an informal forum for my thoughts on ideas, movies and culture, which includes politics from time to time.
Let me stipulate that my entire political philosophy as an Objectivist can be summed up by saying that I’m for capitalism, the proper social system recognizing individual rights. That said, my reporting and commentating about politics goes back decades — to the 1990s, when I started writing guest columns criticizing, for example, First Lady Barbara Bush and President Clinton — and tapered off as America’s politics worsened.
My last major coverage was an interview series for print media cited on NBC’s Meet the Press of each major candidate for president in 2000. I was the only credentialed freelance writer to cover both national conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles during that campaign. I also wrote my observations about Arianna Huffington — when I first noticed her authoritarianism — for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday edition.
Politics and government in the U.S. is rotten. With this in mind, in no particular sequence, here goes.
Leonard Peikoff once compared him to comic relief. There’s a clownishness about the former vice president. There’s also an affability about him. His congeniality as an elder statesman is one of the reasons Obama chose him as his running mate in 2008. His policy positions, to the extent he holds them, amount to middle of the road pablum, tilting left including slavery reparations — an inhuman idea — and his plan to force Americans to subsidize the manufacture of electrical cars, another awful idea. Biden at his best served on the judiciary committee in the United States Senate during the Robert Bork hearings. Biden at his worst instigated a plagiarism scandal when he stole a speech written by a British Labor Party leader and was caught and, worst of all, he pushed what is arguably America’s worst law in history, ObamaCare. He had started to defend his personal habits until he was attacked by the Puritanical anti-sex Me, Too movement. Since then, he’s been neutralized. I think he’s one of the weakest Democratic Party frontrunners in decades. He’s leaning so far to the left that he makes Trump look almost rational, statesmanlike and pro-capitalist by comparison. If Biden comes back from the whiff of nepotism surrounding Democrats’ attempt to impeach Trump and survives his pandering to leftists, he will be harder to differentiate from Trump which makes it easier for Trump to persuade voters to vote for him because Trump is the pragmatist who “gets stuff done”. Getting stuff done is the new theme of Biden’s post-Ukraine campaign. It might work, though I doubt it. Either way, Biden’s probably going to lose to Trump, if Trump’s the GOP nominee, in the general election; if Biden runs to the left, he’s another leftist loon. If Biden stays in the middle of the road, he’s a tamer version of vulgar, old, white male Trump. Either way, he’s vulnerable to the truth of Trump’s crude claim that Biden was essentially a Yes-Man to Barack Obama.
This candidate comes across as sincere. He expresses the energy and ethos of the modern technology businessman — combining confidence in his knowledge and a flippant bravado that’s not convincing that he’s oriented to reality. It’s important to keep in mind that this is someone who seriously proposes a guaranteed income for every American and a giant solar shield in space based on his belief that global apocalypse is coming due to a change in the earth’s climate. Like most leftists, he combines this dogmatism with traditionalism in his constant citation of his procreative housewife. If returning to the notion of a woman staying at home to raise children is considered progressive and a proper vision of the future, this Democrat’s delusions may go viral.
The radical leftist Democrat who touts his bloodline, including his twin brotherhood and ethnicity, gave one of the better answers to the last question about Ellen DeGeneres attending an athletic event with former President George W. Bush. He stressed the need to differentiate political opposition from amity. But he represents the worst type of politician: one who sees himself primarily based on characteristics beyond his control.
The senator from Minnesota did her best to differentiate herself as a middle of the road politician. She made a point to personalize some of her positions. She held frontrunner Senator Warren accountable, which no one else really did. Yet Klobuchar is clearly neither a serious thinker nor a serious presidential candidate. Her entire value proposition amounts to the fact that she thinks working hard to compromise with others is a virtue. It isn’t. She has no coherent political philosophy. To the extent she does, it’s bad to mixed. To whatever extent she’s decent, she will be annihilated in the Democratic Party primary. To whatever degree she’s awful, she undercuts her own value proposition. Either way, I think she’s likely to lose the election.
This tall politician appeals to cuteness. That’s it, really. His candidacy has no other reason to exist. He’s a former congressman. He ran for the United States Senate in one of the country’s largest states and lost — decisively. No one who likes him seems to be able to articulate what he stands for. He says preposterous things about the government coming to seize guns, which is not going to help him win the state he’s from, where the Second Amendment is popular. He appeals to the worst in American voters; the fact that he’s a cute, tall man who seems like someone you could laugh and have a beer with goes to the worst inclinations and predispositions of the American voter — that they go by the cult of personality, not the substance of a man’s character or policy positions. This candidate is as ridiculous as the sound of his first and last name.
This is a serious candidate who could win the presidency. His political philosophy, to the extent he makes it known, is extremely bad — an amalgamation of the worst bromides of McCain and Obama, especially the notion that one has a moral duty to serve the state and others. His explicit endorsement last night of national service is especially wicked. As president, Buttigieg is likely to do it. He has no-nonsense, Midwestern sensibility, which is engaging. That he downplays the fact that he’s gay while using it as a springboard to discussing how he’s formed his character is savvy. In this sense, he’s like Obama, playing his personal background to the hilt. It will be extremely difficult for President Trump to counter the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Additionally, Mayor Buttigieg is the only major presidential candidate in the Democratic Party to show any regard for the sanctity of the nation’s economic system. He is also the only major presidential candidate, in either party as far as I know, who shows an explicit recognition that the individual ought to be free to choose his own health care, though this is very conditional, mixed and poisoned by his own policy position for government control of medicine. But, as far as Democrats are concerned, he may be the only candidate who can beat Trump. As president, I think he would be a disaster, perhaps less a disaster than others in the field, but that’s not saying much. Make note of his views on religion — he’s walked his comments back, but he says he’s religious and this could mean that he wants more religion in government and bigger government in religion.
The old, white male socialist is running for president again as the adorable curmudgeon who wants the government to control your life. There isn’t much more to say about this horrendous senator from Vermont, who recently had a heart attack, which he concealed. Sanders ignored the role of the doctor in saving his life. Horrifyingly, Sanders exploited the fact that doctors saved his life by explicitly advocating that doctors be stripped — further stripped — of individual rights. The selling of this socialist, who once exercised his free will to honeymoon in Moscow while it was ruled by Soviet Russia, as a kindly old man is a new twist on the Big Lie. Sanders — fittingly known as Bernie to sell his brand of statism as folksy — is a cunning fraud. That he has finagled members of The Squad — a cabal of female totalitarians, including an eco-fascist from New York City and an Islamic congresswoman — for endorsements indicates that he knows exactly who stands to gain from him becoming President of the United States.
For too many reasons to mention here, this candidate is an awful American government official. I’m surprised that anyone is fooled by this former Republican, a New England Democratic senator who seeks total government control of people’s lives. Senator Warren displays a frantic, manic energy that to me suggests the character of someone who is nearly unhinged, at least neurotic, possibly unstable — and, in any case, she makes a conscious point of appealing to others purely based on emotionalism. This legislator combines the worst stereotypes of the “hysterical female” with the worst policy positions of the 20th century and she takes them to the extreme. I think this is what stimulates her most vicious supporters. What makes her dangerous is that she names a partial truth about American life; that it’s getting worse, blanking out on the fact that her ideals and premises are the cause of the nation’s demise. If nominated, Warren will make the contest with Trump, if Trump is the Republican nominee, clear and obvious. If elected president, I fear she will finish the destruction of the United States of America that Obama started. Or go down trying. Elizabeth Warren is that tenacious and serious but make no mistake; her primary goal is the government totally controlling your life.
The only candidate during last night’s debate to earn the low distinction of both explicitly praising and denouncing individualism in the same comment is probably the candidate most sincerely concerned with Americans’ welfare. His policy positions and proposals are awful, to be sure. And I don’t think the senator from New Jersey is eminently qualified to be president of the United States. But he does display a sense of purpose and seriousness about governance, if not much else.
Like Castro, her entire candidacy is based on blood. She invoked it again last night in the debate. She takes a kind of perverse pride in being racially mixed, which, in terms of political philosophy, is bad. The fact that she does this to the exclusion of staking out clear, concise policy positions except to the extent she’s explicitly anti-capitalist is alarming. She appears to be going nowhere fast but these are Democrats, so you never know. This is a woman who was elected California’s attorney general and United States senator, without any enthusiasm in the nation’s largest state. She’s proof that the most mediocre politician can rise and rise based on nothing.
The billionaire populist seems exactly that — someone who wants the collective to atone for his guilt in having or making money. He seems to seek redemption in the herd — or, worse, in leading the flock to the Promised Land of primitivism and deprivation.
I like that Gabbard spoke in personal terms about former congressman Trey Gowdy. But there’s much that’s unknown about this Hawaiian legislator. She touts military service, about which I don’t know, and sometimes says things that sound reasonable. I’ve noticed that she’s purposefully vague in some answers and disturbingly specific in other answers. For example, on the issue of abortion last night, she explicitly stated without explaining why that she opposes third trimester abortions. The fact that she would as president outlaw a woman’s right to an abortion at any stage of pregnancy underscores that this mysterious congresswoman has no grasp or regard for individual rights.