Amy Klobuchar Not Afraid To Crush Your Silly Progressive Dreams
"CNN Tonight With Don Lemon" hosted a town hall Monday for presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, and it was evident that the Minnesota Senator is going after the moderate vote. Moderates do still exist in the Democratic Party, even if they don't get as much attention for their college dance videos.
The tone of the evening was set with an opening question from a nice substitute teacher who described herself as a "moderate with progressive leanings" (she's totally a moderate).
NICE MODERATE LADY: I am looking for a Democratic candidate who can make Donald Trump a one-term president and doesn't sacrifice a moderate vision to the leftist ideologies of outspoken progressives. I want to hear achievable goals that benefit minorities and the middle class now and are not pipe dreams for the future. Are you my candidate?
Klobuchar spent the rest of the town hall demonstrating that she was the nice moderate lady's candidate. She offered a "novel approach" to our problems, which involves "pragmatism" and saying "no" to some of the more popular items on the progressive wish lists. For instance, she's not on board with free college for future Starbucks baristas.
Universal childcare is, personally speaking, a more pressing issue. The guy who asked Klobuchar about "free college" just graduated and didn't state what he actually studied while there and why it was so expensive. That is helpful data, since the Republican response is that liberals want factory workers to pay more taxes so whiny snots can major in interpretative dance.
Dude even asks Klobuchar if she'd include undocumented people and ex-cons in the program. He might as well ask if she never wants to win an election again. Was he a Republican plant? He even demanded a clear "yes or no" answer (so like a man!) so that GOP PACs can more easily edit their attack ads.
It's a solid "we'll see" answer, which any parent can roughly translate to: "Never, this will never happen. Not stop talking about or I'll really say no."
Klobuchar does support "common sense" gun proposals, which despite what the NRA claims is a fairly moderate stance.
KLOBUCHAR: Like New Hampshire, Minnesota is a state that values the outdoors. We value hunting and fishing. And so I come at it from a little different place than some of my colleagues running for this office.
Wait, Minnesotans fish with guns? She also claims she considers her "Uncle Dick in the deer stand" when judging the merits of a gun control bill. We don't know why either.
The elephant in the room was finally addressed and once animal control escorted it off the premises, someone got around to asking Klobuchar about the reports that claim she's a worse boss than Darth Vader.
KLOBUCHAR: First off, you have to know that I love my staff.
Uh oh. It's just never good when you lead with this. "Yes, officer, my spouse is missing and I was the last to see them alive, but you have to know how much I love them."
KLOBUCHAR: A number of them from the campaign are here right now.
She was practically begging CNN to provide a wide angle shot of smiling staffers in the audience wearing Klobuchar 2020 hats and giving the thumbs-up. They left her hanging.
KLOBUCHAR: Am I a tough boss sometimes? Yes. Have I pushed people too hard? Yes. But I have kept expectations for myself that are very high. I've asked my staff to meet those same expectations.
We've had enough bosses who described themselves this way to know we probably wouldn't want to work with Klobuchar at this point in our lives. But we also wouldn't want to work at Amazon, either. Jeff Bezos has boasted that he expects employees to work "long, hard, and smart" an admits without shame that it's "not easy to work here." He's not considered a "bad boss." Perhaps this is because we expect women managers to be office moms and no one wants Mommie Dearest shouting at them all day. It reminds us of how Hillary Clinton was judged: Criticisms of her were often rooted in men's experience with their mothers, teachers, or wives.
This is probably the new normal, though. We'll demand to know if women candidates have been hard asses in the workplace, and male candidates will only need to claim they've never grabbed asses in theirs. Donald Trump has probably (allegedly) done both, but there's rarely that much focus on him as a toxic employer whose administration has the same turnover as the bubonic plague.
What about Trump, though? Democrats want to hear how a future nominee will break their foot off in his ass. An audience member wondered what one question Klobuchar would ask the president if she were ever to face him in a debate.
KLOBUCHAR: I think my question would be: "Does [Trump] pledge to obey the law?"
Kind of a hit and a miss there. Trump is a known liar. He'd just shrug and say "sure." Klobuchar's a former prosecutor. She's probably never asked a defendant on the stand, "You totally didn't do this, right?" It's likely a deliberate choice to focus on Trump's general lawlessness rather than his specific brutality against ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. White voters, especially independents, are probably more open to the former.
This also segued into an anecdote about Klobuchar's visit to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. The self-confessed "Minnesota geek" sought out everything related to Carter's vice president, Walter Mondale. We're not sure why Klobuchar would want to remind voters that the last Democratic nominee from Minnesota had his ass handed to him in a takeout container and lost every state but his own (barely).
She quoted a line from Mondale when he reflected Carter and his single term in office: "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." Mondale himself was never that appealing to American voters but we think Klobuchar hopes this message at least might resonate with them after the chaos of the Trump administration.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).