First day of Biden/Harris

Damn…I tear up every time I listen to this rendition. It was my Dad’s favorite.

I’ll think that I’ll leave this post right here. Well, maybe I’ll say one thing.

Back when Joe Biden announced that he was running, Barbara immediately chipped in. I was backing Klobuchar at that time…

I asked her “why?” and she responded “Honey, I am a realist.”

And she got it right.

Warren’s campaign postmortem

First: glorious weather..good night’s sleep (for a change) and it turns out that 11:00 was “too fast; I was 22:20 at 2.1 miles and walked a bit. I ended up cutting the first part short, but then adding distance back to get 5.48 miles in 1:05 (11:50 pace)

I was still tired from yesterday’s deadlifts and walk.

Running: lower emphasis ..for sure..I really enjoy walking more though running for up to 30-40 minutes..even 1 hour is ok.

Politics I suppose I am thinking about Warren so much because she was so popular with those I usually associate with (academics, Unitarians, NPR listeners) and the attempts to diagnose what went wrong are so typical.

And some of the things about her being a groundbreaking female candidate?

Hillary Clinton not only won the nomination, she went on to win a plurality of votes in the general election…and yet…running a campaign that finished 3’rd in her home state..and at most 3’d elsewhere was progress?

Here is what I think is going on: the pundits, journalists and other saying these sorts of thing were educated in a new era of higher education. Wokeness became the norm, and Warren speaking in such terms is what they were used to. But the general public doesn’t play that. Warren not connecting with the voters was a big NaN…error..error…does not compute…to them.

Joe Biden For those who are calling Joe Biden a “mediocre white man”: he was born on November 20, 1942. He was elected to the US Senate as a Democrat during the Nixon blowout election on November 7, 1972. That’s right: Biden was 29 years old when he won his Senate seat (turned 30 before being sworn in).

“Mediocre indeed.”

What is so off-putting about the Warren campaign …

First: nice yoga session, then a 10K-ish run (5 miles plus 3 extra goose loops) in 1:22. Slow but I didn’t care.
Sleep: not so good. Weight: 193 (195 with shoes and shorts)

Super Tuesday is coming up and I don’t know how it will go. I do know that many academics support Elizabeth Warren….highly educated, mostly white and heavily female. But Warren has not gone much past that.

I still believe part of the problem is that she really isn’t a natural politician; witness her low constituent approval rating (Morning Consult)

Witness that in 2012, she was outperformed by Obama by 7 points (she ran for election in 2012 vs. R. Scott Brown).

Some of it is speaking, stage presence, etc.

I think there may be something else going on.

Consider this image (a sponsored one)

Note the sign.

Warren really reminds me of the type who attempts to obtain information and perspectives about a community from self-styled “activists” …many who really do not speak for anyone other than themselves.

Seriously…consider this Latinix thing. Hardly anyone in Latin communities embrace this term; this is mostly a college campus/”activist” sort of thing. I do not use the term.

Her campaign seems to openly embrace wokeness…and that is just not a winning campaign strategy, no matter how popular it is in UU churches and in liberal arts colleges.

And the attitude of her supporters do not help things; this is typical:

So winning a US Senate seat under your own steam (middle class roots) at 29 years of age is “mediocre”? Being VP for 8 years is “mediocre?” OMG…
(I deleted identifying information on the tweet as I have no desire to attack the individual stating it..but rather to show what is a very common attitude among Warren supporters)

For more about her supporters: yes, they tend to live in bubbles and are just shocked when they find out that THEY are the ones who are out of touch.

And yes, I know that Warren has lower middle class roots, and worked her way up. She is brilliant …hard working and very successful. I am proud that she is a Democrat. But I really don’t think that she “gets” what makes for a winning campaign. I see her as more of the “super genius specialist” that can solve problems.

About Elizabeth Warren

First, I woke up a bit sore. But my not doing long stuff left me with enough time to delay running until 9:40 or so and it went better than last week’s run/walk:
I was just over 12 at just over 1, just over 24 at 2.06, and just over 48 at 4.1; 1:01:30 for the total (11:42 mpm; 11:30 for the final 1.03).

The weather: sunny, breezy ..a bit more than breezy but glorious for March 1.

Yes, my legs and butt were heavy from yesterday’s deadlifts..note that deadlifting hasn’t been hurting my lower back that much. It is mostly butt and legs.

And yesterday I saw the Bradley Men lose a 67-66 hearbreaker when the final .7 seconds left shot rattled out.

It was a game of streaks; Loyola lead by 11 at the half and pushed it to a 13 point lead. Bradley went on a 20-0 run in just over 5 minutes time to take a 7 point lead; LU came back with a 9-0 run to retake the lead. With 3:38 left the game, Loyola lead by 4 and I had no clue as to who would win. It was a physical game..back and forth.

Hell of a ball game.

Later; dinner and conversation with Tracy ended my day.

So what about Elizabeth Warren?
I’ve said many times, I think her political aptitude is low. But I think this really nailed it:

YES…Warren reminds me of the type who would set up yet ANOTHER soul-crushing, time-sucking committee because, say, some student got “misgendered”, etc. Activists love her; the general public: not so much.

Yes, most of her ideas are good; she is absolutely brilliant (not said sarcastically; she really is a top of the line scholar). But that is what she is: a scholar with “woke” sympathies; the kind that would focus on “diversity” statements and goals …while perhaps short-changing the issues affecting the better students. Ugh…

If she were better at winning popular support, I’d overlook that aspect of her and make her my first choice. But she isn’t.

As far as what I DO support, here is my “dream team”:

Either order on the ticket would work for me. Amy really isn’t going to be viable outside certain states, but maybe she takes Bernie to the woodshed in Minnesota?

Method to Amy’s madness?

It appears that Amy Klobuchar is focusing her campaign on the smaller Super Tuesday states, especially those with non-diverse populations, in hopes of winning delegates. I also notice that Joe Biden appears to be doing well in some southern states.

Maybe there is a method to this madness: the idea that these candidates…maybe Pete Buttigieg too…are playing to their strengths and are therefore better able to take on Bernie Sanders in said states…maybe even win a few?

Is there some sort of “understanding” here? Our best bet might be to get to a brokered convention where Bernie’s plurality is a narrow one…then perhaps a coalition candidate might be able to get the nod.

Sickening Thought Illinois does not vote until 2 weeks after Super Tuesday (17 March). If Joe is still in the running, that is who gets my vote. But my contingency order is:

1. Biden
2. Klobuchar
3. Buttigieg

But what if none of these are left?

Bloomberg, Sanders and Warren?

Warren: super smart, but a dreadful politician; witness her going after Bloomberg so hard. She has the instincts of a scholar: attack the greatest problem that the country faces. But Bernie is taking a much greater toll on her than Bloomberg. A politician would wonder “what strategy is the best one to get me elected?”

Warren seems intent on being the super policy wonk…not that she is wrong, but she is not POTUS..she is campaigning. This is classic Warren:

She is featuring a policy on marijuana selling? Oh good lord..what percentage of likely voters are discussing THIS at their kitchen tables.

Bloomberg: cool ads..that’s about it.

Sanders: ugh…all he does is yell and frankly his supporters embarrass me. But…does that sound familiar?

Yes, Sanders might get us blown out..annihilated ….and …he …might…be …just…crazy…enough…to…pull…this….off.

So..Warren: better expected value…and I am somewhat more comfortable with most of her supporters… (sanctimonious woke liberal a**holes….but I am used to them) but almost a certain loss.

Sanders: loud, moronic supporters that I’d rather not associate with….but…I feel there is a greater variance with his outcome …he is like the “Hail Mary” pass at the end of close football games. Low percentage, but it might just work. Warren would be like running a short hook route ..higher percentage…greater expected gain..but all but guaranteed to be inadequate.

So, it makes me want to vomit to say this, but between Mike, Elizabeth and Bernie…I might vote Bernie.

My geezer will beat your geezer: 2020 campaign

I apologize in advance for what will be a rambling post, but I lack the time and energy to write a tight, coherent one.

I saw the Nevada Caucus results. I can read the Super Tuesday forecasts (and South Carolina too).

Amy Klobuchar: I love you and you are still my favorite. But the math looks brutal for you. BUT you are young enough to run in 2024 (after a Trump second term OR after one of our geezers finishes a first term) or even 2028, and the next time, you’ll start with people knowing about you. And you might be a great addition to the D 2020 ticket (Biden/Klobuchar would be a dream come true for me).

Pete Buttigieg: you got your name on the national stage. Win some higher office (Congress? Governor?) and there might be no stopping you. You have talent, brains, courage. I like you too, even if you and Amy throw elbows at each other. But if the math looks brutal for Amy this year, it looks impossible for you, this time.

But the reality is that Bernie Sanders is the front runner for the 2020 D nomination. Period.

I did NOT say the prohibitive favorite.

So what do I not like about Bernie, other than he is a do-nothing windbag who just yells? Well,….I’ll say this. IF, IF, I truly believed that Sanders would beat Trump or had the best chance of beating Trump, I’d start writing him campaign checks, right now. For all of the bluster about this and that….when it comes to actually governing, one D will end up governing more or less the way the other D’s would.

But I don’t believe that.

The pain I am feeling right now is akin to the pain I felt about 4 years ago when it became clear that a promising friendship just wasn’t going to work out.
And Amy…it just isn’t going to work out for 2020, not at the top of the ticket anyway.

Until we meet again…either as Joe’s running mate or in 2024 or 2028, when you’ll have my backing from the get-go..and this time start with a higher profile.

Off to a run..and some work tasks..and then digging into my new Amy Klobuchar book.

Joe Biden: Promises to Keep (2008 campaign memoir)

I just finished Joe Biden’s book Promises to Keep. This book was published in 2007 and ends with his decision to run for President in 2008; we know how that ended up.

The book starts out with the home life stuff; many might find it interesting but I found that part to be a bit of a slog. I found that it picks up when he graduates from Syracuse Law School and worked for a firm which defended a company from a law suit filed by a cruelly injured worker…he expresses remorse that the poor, injured guy would probably come up empty.

And so goes much of the rest of the book. Biden expresses his values via how they came up during some of the big events of his long Senate tenure.

He starts by describing his improbable Senate victory in 1972 (he was previously a county office holder), the tragic death of his wife and child, and his early political battles including:
Vietnam, the Carter administration, the Bork nomination, his failed 1988 campaign (yes, he discussed the plagiarism issue in detail, both the speech and the work in law school), the Violence Against Women Act, Kosovo, (including his meeting with Milošević ), Afghanistan, Iraq and the Bush-Cheney administration.

On a personal note: the description of his brain surgery and recovery from it was interesting.

As far as tone, there are some things that might make the heads of progressives explode:
1. He goes over “law and order/crime” quite a bit.
2. He is a conservative on abortion rights…yes, he is politically pro-choice
3. He also has the attitude that one ought to assume the best motives in those you disagree with (politically). This “those who disagree with me politically are evil and stupid” is NOT his brand.

Personally: I liked the book and learned from it.

The cultural divide and Biden’s candidacy

I have no idea as to who will win the Democratic nomination. Right now Biden leads pretty much everywhere, though his competition is gaining on him in Iowa. He remains the betting odds favorite.

Regardless of how he does, reactions to what he does is telling. Consider this action:

Predictably…this action grated on certain types of women (liberal, highly educated feminists)

And does NOT bother other types:

Yes, there IS a divide, even among women who do not like Trump, at all….even among those who would flip off a Trump building. One of these flat out told me: “those feminists simply do not speak to me.”
And yes, at my job I work with a lot of the “woke” feminists who appear to be on a hair trigger for any hint of “sexism” and, in my personal life, I am good friends..dear friends who see asymmetries between men and women as just part of life. Many are ok with it..even embrace it.

And, IMHO, Joe Biden will be much more popular with the second type of Democratic woman. And the first type of Democratic woman is NOT in the majority. And I think that Democrats need to understand this..not understanding it could be fatal.

Note: I do NOT share the author’s confidence in Elizabeth Warren, though…well, that is a topic for another post. There is much I like about her; it is her show-biz skills and “ability to attract previously disinterested voters” that cause me concern, as does her tepid approval rating in Massachusetts. (49 percent approval via Morning Consult; Jan 2019) And she isn’t doing that well in her state in the candidate polls, currently trailing Joe Biden by 12 points 22-10.

But..Warren is turning some heads with her “policy first”..”I’ve got a plan” for that, and these plans are not only policy plans, but “how I plan to move it through Congress” plans.

And Paul Krugman has some interesting things to say (sent out in a newsletter to NYT subscribers …it has not appeared as an article as yet so I am reproducing it here:

More than six months ago, I wrote a column titled “Elizabeth Warren and her party of ideas,” in which I described Warren as the closest modern equivalent to the role once played by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a serious intellectual turned influential politician. The article was, in effect, a plea for the news media to tone down the traditional obsession with “likeability” — the modern version of “a guy you’d like to have a beer with” — and pay attention to candidates’ policy proposals.
To be honest, I fully expected the column to be a tree falling in the forest, where nobody could hear it. And for the next few months, my pessimism seemed justified. In fact, many pundits seemed to have written Warren off. Nevertheless, as Mitch McConnell famously complained, she persisted.
And something strange has happened: Bit by bit, policy proposal by policy proposal, Warren has been clawing her way into the position of a major contender. People are showing up at campaign rallies wearing “Warren has a plan for that” T-shirts. There has also been a startling shift in the media narrative, with a spate of articles — most recently in today’s Times — marveling at the way Warren’s wonkiness has become a defining, popular piece of personal branding. Pundits are even starting to say that her policy earnestness makes her … likable.
Will she actually get the nomination? Could she win if she did? I have absolutely no idea. Neither, by the way, does anyone else.
But there is one point I think even the somewhat bemused pro-Warren punditry is missing. There’s a reason, beyond being smart and well-informed, that Warren is able to come up with so many interesting policy ideas. Namely, there is a huge gap between what inside-the-Beltway opinion considers serious policy and what actual policy researchers have to say. This creates what I think of as the Great Wonk Window: a surprisingly wide range of policy areas where a politician can be simultaneously radical by conventional political standards and solidly grounded in expert analysis.
One example is taxation of the rich. Conventional wisdom is still obsessed with the notion that taxing high incomes and/or giant fortunes will have dangerous effects on incentives. Actual experts in public finance have, however, long argued that substantially higher top-end taxation is justified — and Warren devised her wealth-tax plan with help from Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, superstars in the field.
Another example is child care, where there is a large body of evidence that investments in child care pay back significant dividends in both the short run — by helping mothers remain employed — and in the long run, because well-cared-for children grow up into more productive adults.
So as I said, there’s a surprisingly big window for politically radical but economically sound policy. And Warren clearly both knows that this window exists and is trying to use the resulting opening to promote her agenda.
Whether she or anyone else will manage to climb through that window remains to be seen. But opening the wonk window is, at least potentially, a really big deal.