Another Day, Another Tim Ryan Running For President
We have a 25th candidate running for the Democratic nomination. Former Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak is the 15th white guy who thinks he can president better than Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. He's also the 10th consecutive Tim Ryan to declare his candidacy since Original Recipe Tim Ryan in April. It's a stampede of whiteness like a common Who concert. White male politicians are seeking asylum in the Democratic primary, and sanctuary is clearly not merit-based.
Let's see if Sestak's announcement video provides a single compelling rationale for his candidacy.
Sorry, that's not the right one. The actual video looks like it was filmed in his partially finished basement. The music is maudlin. Don't watch this before your morning coffee. The retired three-star admiral gives us his life story, which is inspirational if he himself is personally not. He's not even that excited about his campaign and we really needed him to sell us on it. We just want to leave the basement now.
The first Democratic presidential primary debate is Wednesday with Senator Liz Warren and the Pips. Sestak is applying for college a week before classes start and his admission essay was too bland for Chicken Soup for the Soul. This is what Sestak said to a whopping crowd of four at his first campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa.
SESTAK: Americans want someone who is accountable to them above self, above party, and above any special interest. They want a President that has a depth of global experience to restore US leadership to the world and to protect our American dream at home.
Sestak also believes Americans want "someone they can trust." Where have we heard that before? Wait, don't tell us. Now we remember -- from literally everyone else! Why is this even an observation? We get there are many Americans who desire a return to safe, bland stable white maleness after Donald Trump. But would it kill one of the Tim Ryans to have a policy plan or a single original idea? Sestak has nothing to offer but an open collar and a Pennsylvania driver's license.
We'd advise Sestak to give up his hopeless bid for the presidency and run for the Senate instead, but he's done that twice already and lost. In 2010, Sestak defeated incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. Specter, who'd voted for the Affordable Care Act, had recently defected from the Republican Party so Democrats could have a filibuster-proof super majority (oh, those were the days). Wonkette reported at the time how the Obama White House begged and pleaded for Sestak to stand down so Specter would have a clear shot at keeping the seat he'd held for 30 years. Sestak rejected the jelly of the month club offer and went on to lose to Pat Toomey, who's objectively terrible.
This is how Sestak's official site describes that race. We don't know if these are his own words or if they are even technically words. It's a lot gobbledegook.
Joe ran for U.S. Senate in 2010, despite the opposition of the Democratic party's Washington establishment. He disagreed that Republican Senator Arlen Specter should become the party's nominee in order to avoid defeat in the Republican primary after his 30 years of damaging votes, particularly his humiliation of Ms. Anita Hill when she testified about her sexual harassment by now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Joe believed Pennsylvanians deserved a leader who would always be accountable to the principle of people first, ahead of self, party or special interest. Against the odds, he overcame a 40 point deficit to win the Democratic primary over the 30-year incumbent. The general election was decided by only two points in the Tea Party year where the party lost the Pennsylvania governor's race and five Congressional seats by an average of 11 points – all despite being outspent more than any other Senate or Governor's race (except one) in America that year.
Sestak didn't go to Disney World after his loss but did visit each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties to "thank his supporters, including countless African-American churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship that welcomed him." It'd impress us more if Sestak had literally counted them all like he was a suburban dad visiting every US national park. We'd actually attend a Sestak rally if he could tell us precisely how many black churches there are in Pennsylvania. We like fun facts.
For his second failed Senate campaign, Sestak walked across the state like a Rust Belt Caine from "Kung Fu." Democrats who were interested in winning elections dismissed this stunt as "pointless," but it did result in a policy book with the Mad Libs nonsense title "Walking in Your Shoes to Restore the American Dream."
However, the Democratic Senate leadership directed Joe to "stop walking and just fundraise." When Joe demurred, the Democratic leadership sought a primary opponent, funneling over $6 million into false opposition ads that the Washington Post assigned its highest rating of falsity, to win the primary, but losing the general election.
Wow, this guy really has an ax to grind with Democrats. He's like Bernie Sanders if Sanders had never won a Senate race. Democrats found Sestak so annoying they went all out for Kate McGinty. FiveThirtyEight gave McGinty a 61.7 percent chance of winning, but we all know how much those forecasts meant in 2016. Now we still have to look at Toomey.
Sestak said he delayed entering the race because his daughter was fighting brain cancer, which sucks. She is now in remission, which is awesome. We don't say this lightly or in jest: He should spend more time with her.
[CBS News ]
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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).