Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Debates, Deliberations and Delusions

It's Saturday afternoon, as I write this post, just 5 days before Independence Day here in the USA. I'm watching my Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees in London, England. As if that's not strange enough, they just showed a race of mascots along the side line. Freddie Mercury, the Loch Ness monster, Winston Churchill and Henry the 8th running on the sidelines of a soccer field that today and tomorrow is a baseball field for what reason I cannot fathom. The big fuzzy Freddie Mercury won. Either that or these allergies meds are providing one hell of a hallucinogenic side effect. Wonder if I'll be seeing the werewolves of London next.

This little theater of the absurd across the pond, though, is nothing compared to what's going on over here. Trump's at the G20 making jokes about Putin getting involved in our elections and tweeting Kim Jung Un about meeting up for a quick handshake in the DMZ. Man, these meds are good.

Debates, Deliberations and Delusions, a look at politics in America | graphic designed by and featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #politics

Just a couple of days ago we had the first Democratic party debates. I watched both debates, pretty much every minute, and I've been listening to the pundits evaluations ever since. Now I've mentioned before that I, actually every democrat in my home, left the party and became an independent during the 2016 election. Between clear bias towards (and against) candidates, the deliberately undemocratic system of super delegates manipulating the will of the party members and the lengths the local party went, to both to make caucusing an unfair situation and then choreographing a fake vote to misrepresent the outcome, we'd had enough. So although I won't be voting in the primary, I'm nonetheless engaged. It matters to me who prioritizes what issues, and who has well thought out solutions.

Let me say now that I think I watched 2 different debates than the pundits watched. Consensus of opinion is that Julian Castro won the first debate and Kamala Harris won the second. I just don't agree, and that's not a medication induced delusion. I'm almost sure.

Rachel Maddow did a show last night in which she highlighted each candidates most successful moment. I thought it was a great way to pull it all together, and a lot of what she said I agreed with. They each had something valuable to add to the discussion at some point in the night. 

My personal observations though, are not all based on the positive, and I have to admit that with such a huge field I'm a bit overwhelmed so I don't have something to say about everyone. I'm no pundit, not one news station is knocking down my door asking what I thought. Fortunately I have this blog for that. So here's what I thought:

Kamala Harris: preparation is good, but sometimes comes off as less real and more manufactured. It was clear that when she went after Biden, as poignant as her personal story was, that this was planned. This is something that was going to be said no matter what, she even had the complementary promotional tweet prepared. And her comment at the beginning about America wanting not a food fight (which she later started with Biden, btw) but to know how food would be put on the table was also clearly something she planned and was determined to work in. To me it came off as less organic and more canned.
Grilled Steak Roll-Ups, thin slices of beef are stuffed with vegetables, rolled and grilled. Fast and flavorful, quick enough for the family, fancy enough for a dinner party. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #grilling #dinner

Grilled Steak Roll-Ups
Grilled Steak Roll-Ups, thin slices of beef are stuffed with vegetables, rolled and grilled. Fast and flavorful, quick enough for the family, fancy enough for a dinner party. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #grilling #dinner

Julian Castro, Eric Swalwell and Tulsi Gabbard: I know, as with Kamala, that the pundits have been adamant that the party needs people to prove they have the strength to fight head on. But I have to tell you that it felt like cannibalization to me. We have enough division, friction and discord in our politics already. At this point I want to hear people build themselves up without tearing others down. I'm mostly looking for ideas, but I'm also looking for character and for respect for others.

Elizabeth Warren: I think she won the night. I never really liked her but I am impressed with her proactive and thought out policy ideas and the way she comports herself and expresses herself.

Bernie Sanders: He had been a favorite of mine but although consistency matters, I hear the same ideas expressed almost word for word over and over again. It's getting tedious. And I don't think he's going to be able to sell tax increases, no matter how much they will end up benefiting us financially.

Pete Buttigieg: He's a favorite of mine, and he made some of the most meaningful (to me) comments of the night. What he said about religion is something I've been saying. If you associate yourself with Christianity (or any religion in my opinion) and you think that G-d would condone putting kids in cages, you have lost all claim to use religious language again. Amen, Mayor Pete, Amen. But I also think that as a candidate he is too young (not chronologically, but politically) and naive and I think that he will not bring in the true religious conservatives who are disgruntled with trump.

Joe Biden: The yin to Kamala's yang. She was over prepared, he was woefully and inexcusably under prepared.

Bill de Blasio: I knew nothing about him but I was impressed. Especially with his comment about immigrants: “For all the American citizens out there who feel you’re falling behind, who feel the American dream is not working for you, the immigrants didn’t do that to you.” He also gave us a little peek into his personal life, talking about the challenges of raising an African American son. He left me curious, which is a good way to end a debate.

Kirstin Gillibrand: I liked her before and I like her still. But unfortunately she's getting lost in the sauce.

Andrew Yang: I'd heard him speak before and although I don't think he has a chance, I was interested in hearing more. I didn't at the debate. He wasn't able to get many words in edgewise, and what little he said was less average American talk and more geek talk.

Michael Bennet: I feel for him, having just gone through cancer treatment. I do think he has good thoughts, but he needs to gather them. He came off as scattered, unable to corral and adequately articulate his points. 

Marianne Williamson: She's a self help author and, I'm sure, a very good and well meaning person. College Boy and I call her the "woo woo" (or the kumbaya) candidate. Maybe I was wrong. She made persuasive and effective points. And then we got to the final statements. In hers, she talked about New Zealand and about beating trump's hate with love. Yeah, maybe love and a bazooka. Woo woo, Marianne, woo woo.

So that's what I saw. What were your impressions?

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Grilled Steak Roll-Ups        

Printable Recipe

2 asparagus spears for every slice of beef
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1 1/4# thin sliced eye of round
salt, pepper, seasoned salt
1 green onion for every 2 slices of beef

OPT: best if served with bearnaise sauce

*AHEAD OF COOKING: trim the asparagus, place in a shallow dish or resealable bag. Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic. Mix into the asparagus and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Also, if using wood skewers, soak them in water for 2 hours.
*When ready to cook, gently season the beef with seasoned salt, flip over and gently season the inside with salt and pepper. Cut the green onions in half.
*Remove the asparagus from the marinade. Place 2 spears, with 1/2 of a green onion between them, into the center of each slice of beef and roll up. Place onto the skewer, being sure to pierce where the beef overlaps itself, and through the asparagus as possible, to hold in place. You will probably get 4 - 5 roll-ups per skewer.
*Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the skewers on the grill. Grill for about 5 minutes. Carefully turn the skewers over. Grill for another 3 - 5 minutes. Remove carefully from the skewers. OPT: serve with bearnaise sauce.


  1. Agree that the whole process was kind of overwhelming, too much going on at once. I noticed a distinct difference in mood between the first and second nights. I think the first night was traditional democrat, reserved and pleasant, and the second more confrontational. Perhaps they were just responding to the pundits who criticized after the first night that, except for Warren, those folks wouldn't do well against 45 unless they up their game, because he doesn't debate so much as street fight. I agree with your assessments for the most part..Bernie had some good ideas, but he has given the same speeches for 4 years. He is that grandpa who tells the same stories over and over at this point. Biden is likable, but too political in personality. I think he is probably sincere, but comes across to me as contrived. I like Warren, she is knowledgable and down-to-earth, very relatable. Harris has a prosecutor's personality, prepared and deliberate. I think she would probably do the best in a one-on-one with 45. I was most impressed with Julian Castro, as somebody with whom I was not familiar. He was well spoken and familiar with the topics. O'Rourke was a disappointment, I was expecting more based on his last senate race. He seemed downright uncomfortable. Buttigieg has a good future I think, but it is not his time yet. I have heard mentioned that he might be a good vice-presidential choice for either Warren or Harris. That might be OK, but what are the odds of having two gay vice presidents from Indiana in a row? The rest, to me, were undistinguished from one another. Just a big mush of talking heads trying desperately to stand out. Almost desperate. I am enjoying the process, however. Better than the daily dumpster fire we are subjected to. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis.

    1. All great points, many I had myself but a lot to think about as well. Thank you for taking the time. I'm enjoying the process too.

  2. Karen, I agree with you. I also was turned off by Castro's aggressive, rude hectoring of Beto. I was shocked he was considered later one of the winners. Its one thing to disagree, its another to talk over the other person and not let them get a word in edgewise. But people loved it! Go figure.

    1. It's interesting to hear that there are people who actually saw some of the same things I did.

  3. Americian elections are confussing to me maybe because I am Australian

    1. American elections are confusing to me lately too, and I am American.

  4. I want to pin this but it's acting up at the moment so I'll come back in a bit. I didn't get to watch the debates and I really wanted to. I think that when they narrow the field some it will help. I was always a fan of Joe Biden, but honestly I think that he waited to long to run. Now, he seems almost lost. He missed his Prime he should have run against Trump in the first election. I think that although I've never liked her right now I'm between Elizabeth Warren & the Indiana Mayor. I just can't remember his name lol. (Rena)

    1. I agree, it will be easier once the field is narrowed. And so much with happen between now and then, I fully expect to change my mind more than a few times.


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