The Thinker: Rich Galen


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No Heat, No Light, No Debates

Rich Galen

Thursday January 16, 2020

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    On Monday night the world was treated to the seventh debate among Democrats (and the occasional Socialist) campaigning to be the nominee to run against Donald Trump for President in November.

  • They could have skipped it and nothing would have changed.

  • The headlines had to do with Elizabeth Warren not shaking hands with Bernie Sanders immediately after the debate ended.

  • It was because they are feuding over whether Sanders told Warren a woman could not be elected president.

  • Bernie said he didn't say that. After the debate, Warren walked over to Bernie, refused his outstretched hand, and said (according to CNN) "I think you called me a liar on national TV).

  • The only pretend breathlessness attached to Monday's debate - which featured the only six candidates who met the qualifications laid down by the Democratic National Committee - was because of the calendar. It will be the final debate before the caucus/primary season officially begins in Iowa on February 3.

  • The first debate of the 2020 cycle, back in June of 2019, was actually two debates. It was held over two nights, with ten candidates involved in each - 20 candidates got to display their skills.

  • The headlines were how badly former Vice President Joe Biden (who was leading in the national polls at the time) performed having been attacked by Sen. Kamala Harris over his position on the bussing of students to provide for racially mixed schools.

  • The headlines the next day proclaimed the end of the Biden campaign and the booster rockets that were lit under Harris' effort.

  • Seven months later Biden is still leading in the national polls and Kamala Harris is out of the race.

  • The average shows the following (these numbers are pre-Monday's debate):
    Biden - 27.2 percent
    Sanders - 19.2
    Warren - 16.0
    Buttigieg - 7.2
    Bloomberg - 6.6
    Klobuchar - 3.2
    Steyer - 2.2

  • Michael Bloomberg wasn't in the debate because he is not taking any contributions and therefore didn't meet the threshold for the minimum number of donors. Also, Bloomberg is taking a pass on the February contests and focusing on the March 3 Super Tuesday states.


    According to Forbes, Bloomberg has a net worth of $54.4 billion - ten times more than Trump's most bellicose estimate of his own net worth.

    Bloomberg has spent, according to ABC News, over $200 million so far on political ads.

    Let's go to the abacus: 200 million divided by 54.4 billion = less than four-tenths of one percent.

    If your net worth is, say, $250,000 including your 401(k), your house, car, and propane grill out back, that would be the equivalent of your spending $919 on your campaign for President of the United States.


  • By the time we get this many debates into the cycle, the candidates have become pretty good at it:
    - Their timing is better when delivering their answers.

    - They are better prepared to discuss a wider range of topics.

    - They have a better idea how the questions from the moderators will flow.

    - They know what their opponents are likely to say.

    - They have practiced defending against or, at least, deflecting incoming rhetorical missiles.

  • EVERYBODY says that Amy Klobuchar was the best in last night's debate. She was good. Maybe she was the best. But the latest polls in Iowa show Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg bunched up at the top of the polling between 16 percent (Warren) and 21 percent (Biden and Bernie) with Mayor Pete at about 18 percent.

  • Klobuchar is sitting in 5th place at 7.0 percent. That's a long climb to 20 percent.

  • We still have just under three weeks to go and, as you've heard a million times, caucuses are notoriously difficult to poll.

    New Topic

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) signed the resolution authorizing the House to proceed to inform the Senate that Donald J. Trump has been impeached.

  • I've been through 2 times: Clinton, Trump, and Nixon. Nixon refused to come off his stool in between rounds, and gave up before the House Judiciary Committee could get its articles of impeachment to the House Floor.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said the preliminaries (swearing in the Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts to preside and Roberts swearing in 100 Senators who will take a separate oath which currently reads:
    "I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of (Donald J. Trump), now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God."

  • That language is not in the Constitution. It's not even a law. It is a section of the Senate Rules and so could be altered at any time.

  • The actual trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 21 - three years and one day after Trump was sworn in.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The Biden bussing issue, Bloomberg's campaign spending, a pretty good backgrounder on impeachment.

    The Mullfoto is a screengrab of Nancy Pelosi signing the Articles of Impeachment.

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