The current crop of Democrat Presidential hopefuls gathered last night in Las Vegas in what is being described as an all-out slugfest, a donnybrook cage fight of all against all.
Well, maybe not exactly all against all. It was in large part all against newcomer Mike Bloomberg. And this morning, most of the punditry class are agreeing that Mini Mike may be regretting having qualified for the debate in the first place, as they throw around words like “implode” and “bomb” and “disaster.”
It wasn’t all mauling Mike and bashing Bloomie, however; there was some Buttigieg clobbering Klobuchar and a little Biden biting Bernie. But mostly, it was a half dozen Sad Sacks flailing away at one another trying to score points anyway they could.
No one on stage had much to say about any issue that wasn’t framed as a swipe against one or another of his or her opponents. Nevertheless, as we’ve done for previous debates, let’s take a look at what they had to say about what to us is the number one issue, immigration.
Pete Buttigieg, when asked if his policies as President would lead to higher taxes, led off by saying, no, not for small businesses. But since he seems to think that all small businesses are Latino-owned, he then launched into the need to protect Latino entrepreneurship, which he said “is not just an investment in the Latino community, it is an investment in the future of America.” This idea of instantly equating the “Latino community” with America at large is similar to the “non-American is more American” theme discussed here recently.
Klobuchar, given her turn, followed up on that theme when she came out with the now-standard, “the Dreamers are our future,” then repeated her support for a massive amnesty which would “bring peace” to that beleaguered bunch.
Buttigieg, unappeased, then attacked her for voting to confirm Trump’s nominee for Customs and Border Protection chief and for having supported making English our official language, which he said hurt the feelings of a lot of people who’ve not gotten around to learning English. Warming to the topic, Pete lapsed into Spanish, which included what has become his unofficial campaign slogan, the trademarked, “¡Este país también es tu país!” This country is your country too!
Amy in response resorted to the last refuge of a scoundrel by invoking the name of the late Ted Kennedy, who she said had asked her to work on some immigration bill or other. But she also managed probably her best lines of the evening with “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete,” and “You’ve memorized a bunch of talking points.” Sadly, from her perspective, she again blundered with, “What the people of this country want, they want a leader that has the heart for the immigrants of this country.”
No, Senator, as most anyone watching would say, what the people of this country want is a leader that has the heart for them.
Unfortunately, there was no such leader on the Las Vegas stage last night.
There was, however, Joe Biden, who continued his now-customary defiant shouting about everything, which usually boiled down to the same old “I was present at the creation” hokum. That refrain just makes Old Joe sound, well, old, but he doesn’t get it. Along those lines, he insisted, without much point, that “I’ve spent more time in Mexico than anybody.” And, finally, the transcript reveals this mysterious little interchange between him and Sanders, which seems to have been edited out of the archived recording. The two of them appear to be exercising their own command of Spanish a la Mayor Pete:
BIDEN: Si, thank you.
SANDERS: Si, si.
Say what? Make of that what you will, to us it makes as much sense as any of the rest of it. For the transcript, see NBC News.