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Clowns & the Presidency

Trump says his Democratic challengers are clowns. Really?
President Trump is the "clown" in the White House.

Donald Trump, the showman who occupies the White House, tweeted today that the U.S. economy would crash "if any of these clowns became president," referring to the 12 Democratic candidates who participated in last night's debate.

Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black. Unfortunately for America, the real clown is the current president who apparently has no idea, or more likely couldn't care less, about how our democracy is supposed to work or the guarantees provided by the U.S. Constitution.

Yes, during the debate, which was especially unwieldy because of the large number of candidates, there was a lot of noise. There were some unfortunate moments, like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren arguing like a couple of school kids over who was responsible for getting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau passed and signed into law.

And there was the heated exchange between Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke over O'Rourke's previous assertion that he would impose mandatory buyback of AR-15 type weapons. Under Buttigieg's questioning, O'Rourke couldn't really explain how he would implement such a plan, except that he trusts in American citizens to do the right thing.

Right. I can tell you about at least two people who own those weapons and have already told me this: "Let them try." And one of those guys is a combat vet with whom I most certainly would not want to tangle. So Beto's plan seems a little pie-in-the-sky to me.

Warren, who has been advancing in the polls, took a lot of incoming from the other candidates, but held her own. My problem with her -- and with Bernie Sanders -- is their insistence on Medicare for All, free to everyone. That simply is not financially viable, regardless of how they frame it. Buttigieg's idea of Medicare for All -- for Those who Want It seems to make more sense.

Warren and Sanders would tax the rich to pay for it. Sure, but what does that mean? She would levy an annual 2% tax on fortunes above $50 million and 3% above $1 billion and says such a tax would pay for many of her policy proposals. But what would be the net impact on middle-income taxpayers? She seems to hedge on that one.

The purity of their argument, that health care should be a right guaranteed to all Americans, cannot be denied, and their placing the blame for the high cost of health care on the drug and insurance companies is no doubt accurate. But on this one, the better approach would be to build on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option. Simpler, faster to enact and implement. That's my view.

Sanders was energetic and appeared vigorous, apparently recovering from his heart attack, but the fact remains that he's 78 years-old. However, by comparison, to me at least, he seemed sharper than Biden, who stumbled and stammered several times and had a fairly weak response when asked about the appropriateness of his son's involvement with that energy company in Ukraine.

I thought Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar did OK, but failed to really separate themselves with anything particularly remarkable. Cory Booker tried to be the adult in the room and admonished fellow candidates for attacking each other, but I thought that was a little overdone. And, I don't really care that he's a vegan.

The rest -- Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, and gazillionnaire Tom Steyer, are lightweights and need to cash it in.

I liked this analysis from The New York Times, where several journalists scored the candidates on the debate stage, with ratings of one to 10.

But clowns? Nope. That's the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the one who's facing impeachment for selling out America in his quest for riches and power.

He can't be gone fast enough.

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