Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me shrugging next to the word SHRUG, pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

I'm going to start out with three things that made me smile before we get into the rest of it...

1. I found this to be a really moving and cool story about how Senator Amy Klobuchar first got involved in politics:

[If the video embed doesn't work, click here.]
Text Onscreen, over image of Klobuchar holding her then-newborn daughter: Amy Klobuchar didn't plan to be in politics until her baby got sick.

Klobuchar, speaking to camera: When my daughter was born, she was really sick. And I wasn't holding elected office then. But I was a brand new mom with a really sick baby. [image of her daughter in an incubator] They did all these tests and they determined that she couldn't swallow. [back to speaking to camera] Back then, the insurance companies had a rule that you could only stay in the hospital for 24 hours. And she was in intensive care, and I had been up all night not knowing what was wrong. And they kicked me out of the hospital. And as my husband wheeled me in this wheelchair out of the hospital, I said to him, "I bet this wouldn't happen to the wife of the head of the insurance company."

Klobuchar, continuing over image of her daughter as a toddler: We nursed her back to health over two years. [image of Klobuchar in a business suit from that era] But during that same time, I joined with other moms and other parents [back to speaking to camera] and went over to the legislature and testified, to pass one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay.

Text Onscreen, over image of Klobuchar raising her hand to testify, with her young daughter at her side: Klobuchar paved the way for a national law protecting new mothers' rights to remain in the hospital for 48 hours after giving birth.

Klobuchar, speaking to camera: I learned a few things from that experience. One was that, if you want to get male legislators to pass something, you talk about things that are embarrassing, like episiotomies. [grins] I did that!

Klobuchar, continuing over image of her talking to people on their porch, followed by image of her working at her desk: Then the second thing I learned was that, if you want to get something through a conference committee where they're going to delay the legislation from taking effect — what I did is that I brought [back to speaking to camera] a number of my pregnant friends to the conference committee, so that they outnumbered the insurance lobbyists two to one. And when the legislators asked, "When should this bill pass?", my pregnant friends all raised their hands and said, "Now!" And that was exactly what happened!

Klobuchar, continuing over image of her with her daughter: And that is how we passed one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay. [back to speaking to camera] And that is why I got hooked on politics, and this simple idea that politics is about improving people's lives. That's what I learned from that experience, and that's what I've taken to Washington.
2. As I mentioned in comments of yesterday's post, it turns out that Senator Cory Booker is a huge dork. (Naturally, that is a compliment in my world, lol.) As further evidence, I submit: Cory Booker (badly!) singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" with a 15-year-old girl in a Queen t-shirt, and then geeking out about a performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Axl Rose and Elton John, to which he knew the entire backstory. Cory Booker is a dork. CASE CLOSED, YOUR HONOR!

3. This interview that Governor Jay Inslee gave to Gabriel Debenedetti at New York Magazine is worth a read in its entirety, but I need to highlight this quote on Donald Trump because OMGGGGGGGGGGG: "My belief is there is no whopper too obvious and large for him not to tell; there's no expectation of truthfulness — ever — from him. Therefore there's no norm of honesty that he would not violate in a heartbeat, for whatever reason, and a guy who'll tell you his father was born in Germany — when we know he was born in Kenya, by the way — will tell you anything." 🔥🔥🔥

* * *

The media really wants a showdown between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, which means that they're already churning out the shitty, defeatist stories on other Democratic candidates while hyping Sanders' "frontrunner status" and fundraising lead, while we're still months out from the first debate and even further from the first primary contest.

A sampling of today's trash:

Senator Elizabeth Warren gets the "drop out" treatment from the (garbage rag) Boston Herald: "Elizabeth Warren's Best Move Is to Drop Out of Race."

Senator Kamala Harris gets the "are X ready" treatment from Politico: "Are Indian-American Voters Ready to Embrace Kamala Harris?"

And Julián Castro gets a double whammy with the "no defining moment" treatment and the "passed moment" treatment from the New York Times: "Julián Castro Needs a Defining Moment. Has It Already Passed?"


* * *

[Content Note: Homophobia; video may autoplay at link] Mayor Pete Buttigieg was greeted with homophobic protesters shouting anti-gay Bible references at him in Iowa. While his supporters responded by drowning them out, Buttigieg responded by saying "That gentleman believes that what he is doing is in line with the will of the creator. I view it differently. We ought to be able to view it differently." and that he would "prefer to have those kinds of debates in a respectful format, versus through interruption, but a president is going to have to deal with tougher things than being interrupted in a speech."

I am incandescently angry that homophobic fuckos were abusing Buttigieg at his event. Fuck them forever.

Also: I do not like Buttigieg's response, although I understand why he felt obliged to acquiesce that people harassing him with hatred have a right to express their denial of his humanity, because marginalized people are entrained to indulge the bigotry used to oppress us as a "difference of opinion."

I would like to offer Buttigieg the permission to take a zero tolerance policy on people abusing him. I would never not vote for Buttigieg if he stood up squarely to these reprehensible bullies and told them in no uncertain terms that there is no room for their hatred in the public discourse, at his rallies or anywhere else.

If he doesn't feel like he can say that, then I will: There is no room for homophobic hatred in the public discourse, at Mayor Pete Buttigieg's rallies or anywhere else. Period.

* * *

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] In other Buttigieg news, this piece about some of his failures as mayor, underwritten by unexamined privilege, is worth your time to read. And while you may have already heard about his housing policies that disproportionately targeted people of color, his homelessness policies deserve some scrutiny, too:
Buttigieg's blind spot is also evident in his approach to homelessness. South Bend has just one shelter, with around 200 beds, for its homeless population of nearly 400. Though he convened a working group in 2017, Buttigieg's primary solution to the problem has been arresting people sleeping under bridges and adding "Do not give to panhandlers" signs on downtown street corners.
The article addresses that his homelessness policies are reflective of his racial "blind spot," but there's a big gap left by the failure to acknowledge that Buttigieg's hostile homelessness policies aggressively targeted a population comprised disproportionately of people of color, disabled people, and LGBTQ youth.

Senator Bernie Sanders' Fox News town hall was so popular that now a bunch of other candidates are considering legitimizing the Republicans' propaganda arm by agreeing to a town hall event:
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in talks to participate in a Fox News town hall, a campaign aide told The Daily Beast, and he had been prior to the airing of Sanders' event.

Meanwhile, the campaign for Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) — the latest entry into the crowded Democratic contest — said "he's willing to do a Fox town hall, and we expect to start discussions with the network soon regarding a time and place."

...Julia Krieger, communications director for Rep. Tim Ryan's (D-OH) presidential campaign said that he is also "willing to do a town hall with Fox News," adding that "the campaign has reached out proactively to the network to express interest in this type of forum." She said that the network had also reached out to them.

And Jennifer Fiore, a senior adviser to Julián Castro's campaign, told The Daily Beast that they are in conversations with the network as well.
Disappointed by Castro. Not surprised at all by the others, especially that Rep. Eric Swalwell, who wants a "cabinet of rivals" is going trolling on Fox News. Good luck finding your principled Republicans there, bud!

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Speaking of Rep. Tim Ryan, he said during a CNN interview that he's "concerned" about Democrats' increasingly positive view of socialism and then babbled some shit about the free market. He's really got his finger on the pulse!

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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