Elizabeth Warren Has A Plan. It Is A Plan For Kicking Ass.
Elizabeth Warren was ready to debate last night. It was kind of glorious. While most of her wrath — measured, well-spoke wrath, but damn! — was focused on Mike Bloomberg, she also went after other candidates on their policy weaknesses, and she left plenty of online commenters looking forward to how she'd go after Donald Trump in a national debate. If he showed up at all. While Warren categorically rejects the Citizens United notion that money is a form of speech, her campaign certainly heard some pleasant voices last night. To the tune of $2.8 million in donations by the end of the debate, Warren's best single-day total, according to her campaign.
I have to warn you, kids, this post may read a bit like fanfiction. We're bullish. But don't worry, there won't be a character named Doktor Sue who gets hired as a policy adviser.
In the first minutes of the debate, Warren made it clear she was there to kick ass and chew policy, and she was setting aside her policy folder for a moment.
I'd like to talk about who we're running against: a billionaire who calls women "fat broads" and "horse-faced lesbians." And no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and "stop and frisk." Look, I'll support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.
And that was pretty much how the rest of the night went. Some smartass edited Bloomberg's Wikipedia page, even:
Bloomberg attempted, a bit later, to defend against the allegations that he says gross shit about women, by pointing out that he hires lots of women in top jobs, and saying, "I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the #MeToo movement has exposed." Warren wasn't having that, either.
Warren shot back: "I hope you heard what his defense was: 'I've been nice to some women.' [applause] That just doesn't cut it."
She focused in on nondisclosure agreements women have had to sign with the company over harassment and gender discrimination, asking if Bloomberg would release the women from the agreements. Bloomberg promptly put his foot in it, saying there were "a very few" such agreements, and shrugging off Warren's repeated questions about just how many. Then it got worse, somehow, with Bloomberg sounding like every asshole guy in every asshole comments thread responding to #MeToo:
None of them accuse me of doing anything other than, maybe they didn't like a joke I told.
The groans from the audience should have been enough to make him drop his campaign right there. He then tried to explain "contracts" to the contract law professor.
There's agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet. And that's up to them. They signed those agreements and we'll live with it.
Warren is pretty good at dealing with stuff like that in hearings and such, so she wanted to know whether Bloomberg would release people from the agreements, just in case they wanted to speak up now. (More applause.) Nothing doing, said Bloomberg, because it was an agreement, silly professor. "They signed the agreements and that's what we're gonna live with."
Warren, as is her wont, persisted:
I'm sorry, no, the question is, are the women bound by being muzzled by you? And you could release them from that immediately. [...] This is not just a question of the mayor's character. This is also a question of electability. We are not gonna beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against.
We liked the part where Bloomberg rolled his eyes at that last bit.
Warren also went after Bloomberg on "stop and frisk"; when he said he felt "embarrassed" about how his perfectly reasonable tactic to fight crime had "turned out" so badly, Joe Biden said the issue wasn't "whether he apologized or not. The policy was abhorrent. And it was in fact a violation of every right people have," then Warren got to the heart of the problem:
"Listen very closely to the apology. The language he used isn't about stop and frisk, it's about how it turned out. This isn't about how it turned out, this is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning. If you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together, and the willful ignorance, day by day by day, of admitting what was happening, even as people protested in your own streets — shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives," she continued. "You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor."
Bloomberg wasn't the only recipient of Warren's tender mercies. When Pete Buttigieg suggested Amy Klobuchar was a big dummy for having a brainfart on the name of the Mexican president, Warren stood up for Klobuchar, pointing out that everyone has brainfarts but there's no question that Klobuchar knows her stuff (unlike some other people in the Oval Office whose brains are all farts, all the time). But then she pivoted right back around and said neither of them had a real healthcare plan: Buttigieg's isn't "a plan; it's a PowerPoint" and Klobuchar's is "like a Post-it note: 'Insert plan here.'" She even went after Bernie Sanders's approach to Medicare for All, calling it
a good start, but instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, instead his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details.
Warren did pretty good, is what we're saying, although some folks, predictably, reached for the smelling salts, to the chagrin of others who have shared a desk on MSNBC (admittedly, that's a very specific "some folks"):
At the very least, we're betting Warren won't be disappeared from any major polls anytime soon. Still, there will be idiots, like MSNBC's Chris Matthews. When Warren, in the spin room, was trying to make the point that Bloomberg, "a man who's treated women so badly," is not the guy Democrats want at a time when the power of women's votes is finally being appreciated by the party, Matthews dismissed her. He had a very important Pundit Thought about how Warren's real strategy was to go after Bloomberg because he's an easier target than Bernie, and that was far more important than talking about ladies.
That she didn't slap him right that instant is testament to her fitness to be president.
Updates! Here, have a debate supercut, without too much intrusive "Now This News" cello:
Also too, spotted by Alert Wonkette Operative "NounVerb9/11":
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.