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

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!


Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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