Cockburn is introducing the Donkey Dow: a round-up of the movers and shakers in the race to face up against Donald Trump. Here’s how the candidates fared over the last few days.
Joe Biden, the famous, empirically popular former vice president to America’s first black president in a party that dominates the black vote, sauntered onto the debate stage Wednesday night with his back purportedly against the wall.
Kamala Harris, who now trails the veep by 20 points, was in hot pursuit. The unpleasant admixture of Hillary’s Clinton’s entitlement and Marco Rubio’s manufactured charisma was definitely, totally going to own Joe Biden and make the hosts of Morning Joe and the masterminds of the Trump re-elect look Very Smart. Biden had to recover, went the conventional wisdom, or he’d cede the nomination to Kamala in August, all indicators to the contrary be damned.
But what actually went down?
As Cockburn has said before, Joe Biden is the captain of a ghost ship: he’ll do a presser here, a rally there, a confrontational interview with Chris Cuomo over there. He’s going to campaign…kind of. The criticism of him is true. He’s firmly a retiree, coming back for one last golf swing at his lifelong pursuit. But he’s not swinging that hard. Google Ernie Els’s swing: that’s Biden’s campaign. He has few new ideas – his healthcare plan is the scuttled Obamacare ‘public option’ of 2009. But who cares. His wager that is that America, on the 100th anniversary of Warren G. Harding’s election, will want a ‘return to normalcy.’ Trump will run as a moderate steward of the economy. Biden will run as a better one. If Trump’s campaign thinks that Trump voters elected him to be a moderate steward of anything, they’ll wake up two Januarys from now to a Biden administration.
Elizabeth Warren is the increasingly clear Biden alternative. She’s got a plan for that, you might have heard. The question: does America really want a plan? Or does it want to CONFRONT the core of the matter: this country’s dark, psychic energy.
Our own Matt McDonald covered Marianne Williamson in more depth than Cockburn has time to before pre-lunch drinks. But here’s what Cockburn is going to say about the phenom: Queen Marianne would make him reconsider bachelorhood. Call me.
Everyone’s favorite entrepreneur Andrew Yang improved on a wacky inaugural debate performance, so he’s up. He remains more Joe Rogan podcast than cable news, however. He’s not a natural presenter. Cockburn advises a brute force approach: just repeat, chant style, ‘One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month. One Thousand Dollars A Month.’
Oh, Cockburn remembered Bill de Blasio was in the race, which counts as a win. He looks like the Green Goblin, which some could see as presidential.
And sure, if you flipped back the margin of error in the polls, de Blasio’s New York peer Kirsten Gillbrand would be in the negatives. Biden knocked the senator on her ass when she attempted a drive-by sexism accusation. But Cockburn has come around on Kirsten. She’s actually great. She should lean further in to being as vapid, as white and as unlikely to be president of the United States as possible.
And of course, how could we not stan Tulsi Gabbard?
Kamala Harris punched down. Instead of bruising the former vice president, she got punked Wednesday night by Tulsi. She told CNN after the debate that ‘obviously, I am a top tier candidate’ (if you have to say it, is it true?) and that Gabbard is just at ‘0 or 1 percent.’ Stay classy, Kamala.
Shifting to debate night one, Mayor Pete is Mayor Depleted. Here’s the problem with having so few ideas, it’s a bad look for the A student. Biden is the hustler who crams the night before. America loves that. America is that. Pete Buttigieg needs to expand his program and sharpen his approach. His right to rule is hardly self-evident.
As the New York Times’s Ross Douthat said this week: ‘Nothing is sadder than hearing Beto O’Rourke say, “In my administration.”’
Independent sources confirm that Amy Klobuchar’s Botox looks much better. Too bad not much about her campaign does.
Neither here nor there
‘Stable.’ Doubtless not something many people who knew the young socialist pamphleteer, erotic fiction author, and out-of-wedlock father would have called Bernie Sanders 50 years ago. But Bernie’s problem this cycle is he’s gotten boring. The old religion doesn’t work when your audience isn’t religious.
Cory Booker smiled his way through Biden’s criticisms of his record as Newark mayor…then offered a patois putdown in lieu of an genuine response. He seems likely to cling on.
Jay Inslee performed well on the environment. No surprises there: it’s his main issue after all. But can he transfer that energy to other policy areas before the seas swallow us up? Who knows.
If your name wasn’t called………Cockburn hears August is a great month to drop out.