Shaking the Money Tree in the Wine Cave: The Democratic Debates, Part 6

W.J. Astore

Andrew Yang: Not about to shake the money tree in the wine cave

Yes, there was yet another Democratic Debate among the remaining presidential candidates.  I gutted my way through most of it, gritting my teeth every time Mayor Pete opened his mouth to spout pious bromides.  In no particular order, here’s my quick take on the remaining seven candidates who made the debate stage:

Bernie Sanders: Passionate.  Bernie remains committed to a progressive agenda that will truly change lives for workers in America.  His consistency of vision is his biggest strength.

Joe Biden: Angry.  I may be biased, but when Joe tries to match Bernie’s passion, he comes off as angry instead.  There’s just nothing new here.

Elizabeth Warren: Competent.  Warren is always prepared and is capable of delivering a memorable one-liner, especially her quip that she’d be the youngest woman elected to the presidency.  But she may be the candidate least equipped to match Donald Trump in a debate.

Amy Klobuchar: Milquetoast Moderate.  Klobuchar is trying to present herself as the level-headed voice of reason between Trump’s followers and the “radicals” on the side of Sanders and Warren.  This has been tried before (anyone remember Hillary?), and it didn’t work out so well.

Tom Steyer: Earnest.  He’s putting his money where his mouth is.  I just don’t see him being a serious contender for the nomination.

Andrew Yang: Revelatory.  Yang had his best performance in this debate.  He’s shown an ability to think on his feet, and his answers are unconventional and thoughtful.  I hope he stays in these debates and wins more support.

Mayor Pete: Wine Cave.  Poor Mayor Pete.  He’s so desperate to appear serious and important.  But he’ll sell his soul for the big money (not that he’s alone here), including a big fundraiser in a wine cave, which led to the best line of the night, by Andrew Yang, when he quipped about those who are so willing to “shake the money tree in the wine cave.”

Way to go, Andrew Yang.

20 thoughts on “Shaking the Money Tree in the Wine Cave: The Democratic Debates, Part 6

  1. Great Debate last nite.! To me I see this now as a 3 Horse Race– Biden, Warren & Bernie probably in that order too. Unfortunate too you still have to listen to the “Lightweights” who are in Descending order IMHO Pete, Steyer, Yang & Klobuchar (that’s a name…lol) presuming to be Madame Prez. already! To me anyway another Pea Hen fluffing her feathers… Lets be patient, and get out the Vote! 2020 here we come. Hopeful a true Candidate shall emerge!


  2. Well, we can kick our personal opinions (and that’s all they are, let’s face it) around all day, so I’ll try to be brief: I thought Yang was unimpressive last night. But he certainly brings his own cheering section to each of these events! (And yours truly could sure use $1000 a month!) I’ve never supported Biden, called him a loser on Facebook from day one, but he really buried himself deeper, from my perspective, by calling for moving 60% of US Navy assets to the Pacific to threaten China. Nice one, Joe! I was aghast when Klobuchar called herself a “progressive”!! Good grief! I thought Pete handled himself pretty well when under attack. But he basically admitted he’ll take funds from ANYONE (I assume he means individuals, rather than PACs sponsored by corporations?). Tom Steyer has integrity–and a forensic check of my email Inbox would confirm he’s been on the impeachment wagon a long time–and is absolutely correct that the climate crisis is issue #1. Unfortunately, he lacks a sparkling personality, which would come in handy in appealing to general electorate.


    1. You’re right, Greg. It’s just our opinions.

      Warren, as my wife just said, comes across as “guarded.” She’s only a recent convert to Bernie’s approach, and it shows.

      I like Yang because he’s got a different take on things. As others have said, it’s too bad he didn’t run as a Republican against Trump.


        1. Is Yang a “Bernie progressive”? He strikes me as a pro-business pragmatist with fresh ideas.

          I admit he’s not today’s idea of a Republican. But there was a time of moderate Republicans who were, for example, pro-abortion, pro-EPA, and open to new ideas. But we’d have to go back to the ’60s and ’70s, i.e. before Reagan.


          1. I don’t picture a resuscitation of the “moderate” Republican!! The GOP trend is to sink deeper and deeper into their own incestuous insanity. It’s almost become a contest to see who can be crazier! Two days before Christmas, let us ponder this CNN headline: “Close to 200 Evangelical leaders slam ‘Christianity Today’s criticism of Trump.” “Evangelical leaders.” Not sure how they’re defining that, but on the odd chance anybody out there hadn’t previously realized that these “Evangelicals” have about zero to do with Jesus and everything to do with revoltingly rightwing politics…I rest my case.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s only one candidate that I would vote for with any real enthusiasm if I was a US citizen: Sanders. The rest of them wouldn’t amount to more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic at best. I doubt any of the rest could actually pull off a win against Trump as well, whereas Sanders would win – even though he would have the mass media and “centrist” Dem establishment trying mightily to stop him from winning. I also predict that, even if he has overwhelming support from the primary voters, he won’t be allowed to have the nomination.


    1. I think you’re spot-on here. The Dem. Party Establishment has supposedly (I hope I didn’t imagine this; I’m not prone to such things!) made some reforms in use of the “SuperDelegates” who stole 2016 nomination from Bernie on Clinton’s behalf. And they–the “centrist” Dem. apparatchiks–STILL don’t want a candidate who calls himself (or herself should that some day become appropriate) a “socialist”!! Hell no! I’m sorry to have to say I do not share optimism that Bernie, if he became the Dem. nominee, could beat Trump next year. The Trump base is more motivated to bring us four more years of this insanity than Dem.-leaning voters are to end it! That really says something about our present society, and it sure as hell ain’t pretty!!


  4. At the risk of sounding like a “Mayor Pete” apologist or fan, is it just me or did things seem a bit scripted, like it’s time for the Man from South Bend to be culled from the herd?
    As has been noted by others here, the DNC isn’t really going to be happy with anyone other than Good Old Joe Biden. But would they discount/dismiss Bernie’s appeal and influence a second time, ask him to once again take one for the team, and endorse Biden (and maybe accept the VP slot)?
    The answer, of course, is “sure they would.” Having him on the ticket would certainly deliver a lot more votes than Ms. Warren or anyone else would. But would Bernie play ball? I can’t think of a reason why he should. There will be those who will say yes, but his influence as VP … Yeah, well, forget about that one. The Vice-Presidency is a political oubliette: a place you put someone you want to forget about until you do indeed forget about them. (And please, none of that “adult in the room” nonsense, either: how many times have we heard that since Trump got elected?”)
    I think we are approaching “deal time” when people who don’t have enough sense to step aside on their own (anyone not named Biden, Warren or Sanders) will get “what it is, what it was, and what it’s gonna be” laid out for them: play ball, and we’ll take care of you. Or else.
    Yes, my cynicism is heading towards new and terrible levels, and I can’t help but think America is going to get the shortest end of the shortest stick in living memory next November, courtesy of the DNC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. butsudanbill — I don’t think a Biden/Bernie bill is very appealing at all. Team up the two oldest white males in the Dem. race?? (Not that Trump is a spring chicken!) What you say about the VP slot is dead accurate. Remember how much a certain Mr. Gore was gonna do about our environmental crises? Ha!! He did some good work on the issues, but AFTER having lost in 2000. Mike Pence is a much bigger player on the scene today, locking down the “Evangelical” vote for GOP, than Gore ever was back in the day. As for Pete, as long as he’s polling well and raking in the bucks, no way is he going away soon. As for his youth, I consider that an asset!


      1. When you’re right, you’re right: Biden/Bernie doesn’t set my heart all aflutter, either.
        I was trying to think strictly in terms of numbers: Bernie carries plenty of votes which I’m thinking whoever gets the nomination – feeling fairly confident it won’t be Bernie – will need to win. I think his supporters are loyal to him, not the party so much. I don’t think they’d necessarily vote for someone he might (reluctantly) endorse. I think Mrs Clinton would back me up on that (which also wouldn’t set my heart aflutter).
        But – as has been suggested a time or two in previous comments sections – does the DNC really care all that much about winning? There are benefits in victory, of course, but it’s not like when the smoke clears, if Trump gets re-elected, the DNC will dry up and blow away. They’ll blame the electorate for not doing their job, the inability of a strong, unifying candidate to rise and separate themselves from the pack, state & local Dem organizers for not getting the vote out …


        1. If the Dems blow it again in little more than ten months from now (yeah, it’s getting that close already!) the thing that will finally sweep the GOP out of office in 2024 will be the economic catastrophe that’s approaching. This is based on the very bold assumption there will BE elections in 2024. (No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist.)


  5. As I understand it, the super-delegates come into play after round 1 of the convention, assuming no candidate has a majority in round 1.

    It’s probably safe to say Bernie and Lizzie will split the progressive vote; Biden and Mayor Pete and Amy K. the moderate/establishment vote.

    Bernie will have the most grass roots support, but he won’t have enough delegates to prevail. The super delegates will tip the scales to Joe Biden. He will select Kamala Harris as his VP. (He’s already on the record as saying he’s open to the idea.)

    The DNC will praise this “diverse” ticket with working class friend Joe Biden talking incessantly about his roots in Scranton.

    Trump will make mincemeat of Scranton Joe in the debates and we’ll have four more years of Trump/Pence. The DNC will celebrate because they stopped Bernie and they can still enjoy tax breaks for the richest without guilt.


    1. Bill Astore — I’m having trouble grasping a Biden/Kamala Harris teaming. As for Trump pulverizing Biden in a “debate,” that’s how the Trump base will see it, sure. And old Joey will surely lose his temper when Trump gets super-nasty, which of course he will, but ain’t it about time somebody puts him in his place before the public eye and ear?? That’s what a hardcore bully needs!


      1. I have trouble grasping it too, Greg! You have to think like the DNC. Establishment Joe and Diversity Kamala — the perfect dream team! Well, it is, if you want Trump to win again …


  6. W.J. Astore: You sum up the hopeful prospects for 2020 better than anyone I know… I totally agree with every concise assessment you’ve made about each candidate and the importance of a progressive agenda this time around.

    Bernie Sanders deserves to lead the way this time…
    Elisabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard (and everyone) should support him…
    Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer (and even Bloomberg, etc) should too…

    Thank you for your “Bracing Views” and for “Making so much Sense of our sometimes Vexing and Perplexing World”


    1. Thank you! I enjoy writing these articles, and my readers keep me honest.

      I’m glad what I write is resonating with you.


  7. The TV pundits on CNN, and MSDNC are doing their parts to degrade Bernie Sanders at every opportunity. The DNC and the Corporations (One in the same really) see Sanders as a grave threat to their control. The DNC slogan should be “Power to only certain People”. Those “Certain People” would be those with deep pockets.

    The Democrats have at times spoken out against the Citizens United Decision by SCOTUS, which was in essence Money=Speech. Some are more vocal than others speaking out against Citizens United. They will usually point to the Koch Bros and ALEC as a grave threat to the Republic.

    However, when it come to the near perfectly triangulated Buttigieg, those exclusive “Wine Cellar Fundraisers” are just peachy keen. The millionaires and billionaires could care less about the social, cultural and economic issues that effect us Proles, except as ways and means to keep us divided. Buttigieg has back tracked off of Medicare For All, and now spews out all the Corporate Talking Points to try to prevent Medicare For All from even being considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Booty-judge, as my wife likes to quip, is cashing in big time. He’s in it for the money.

      Once you realize that, everything he does and says makes sense.


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