It was a rare moment of harmony in a Democratic debate marked by heated disagreements and a head-spinning array of zingers and takedowns. Two of the combatants, Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders and billionaire challenger Michael Bloomberg, bonded over each having two stents placed in their hearts.
“I think one area maybe Mayor Bloomberg and I share, you have two stents as well,” said Senator Sanders, gesturing to Mayor Bloomberg who appeared to affirm.
Sanders deftly utilized the moment of goodwill to launch into a description of his healthcare proposal. “Under my plan, you get two stents,” said Senator Sanders, holding up two fingers. “You get two stents on the house, then you’re on the hook ten percent for each additional stent.”
Not to be outdone, Senator Elizabeth Warren piped in, “I have two stents also,” she asserted to stunned moderators. “Yeah, that’s right, I had them put in while my son was away at public school.”
“Under my plan,” Senator Warren continued, “Billionaire’s are allowed to keep their first two stents free and clear, but we’ll remove each additional stent and give it to someone in need.”
The debate hall erupted in cheers while Mayor Bloomberg appeared to grab his chest in a gesture that registered somewhere between relief and panic.
Many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls and their supporters have been so merrily and comfortably ensconced in their far left bubble that they became somewhat alarmed to discover moderates, centrists and independents skeptical of their pie in the sky promises. Apparently, instead of a debate, they thought they were lining up last night for a two hour infomercial, becoming a little annoyed when others on the stage began to challenge them. Most notably, Sanders and Warren went after their fellow Democrats for repeating Republican talking points and not dreaming big enough. In a moment straight out of Trump’s playbook, Sanders even went after the CNN moderators and accused the network of being in bed with big health insurance companies.
As they try to sell their “big ideas,” you could forgive the far left candidates for being dismissive of centrist concerns, but of course some in the media were equally frustrated that moderates were allowed to occupy the same stage as their progressive heroes. Vox journalist Aaron Rupar weighed in from his parallel reality where any proposal to the right of a complete government take-over of the health insurance industry is viewed as Fox News propaganda. Rupar writes “People who tuned into the Democratic presidential debate could have been forgiven for thinking they accidently turned the channel to Fox News.” Because only Fox News would ask challenging questions of the Democrats. Other networks are supposed to enable the progressive free-for-all and not get in the way as the candidates make their pitches.
Echoing Sanders’ complaint of the debate moderators, Rupar takes issue with the line of questioning, “At times during the debate, CNN hosts framed policy questions around Republican talking points.” That 150 million Americans would lose their current health insurance is a fact, which also makes it a great talking point for Republicans. That the middle class would see a tax increase to pay for Medicare-for-all is also a fact that Sanders has conceded. Sanders and Rupar frame it as a Republican talking point. Why should Medicare-for-all Democrats be shielded from confronting fact-based questions regarding their healthcare plans? If it is true, as they argue, that healthcare savings will offset any tax increase middle class Americans might incur, then let them make that case now and have an opportunity to hone their message in the coming months. Better to get your reps in now while not as many people are paying attention and the stakes aren’t so high.
Of course, other plans to get to universal coverage were offered as well, but to even permit non-Medicare-for-all plans to have a public airing, or to attempt to draw distinctions between candidates is somehow seen as citing the Republican playbook. “Though no Republicans were physically onstage Tuesday night in Detroit, it too often seemed they were living rent-free inside the moderators’ heads,” Rupar concludes. Too often, it seems as if Rupar’s head is living rent-free inside his rectum. This is the same guy who this past weekend tweeted that Donald Trump claimed to be a 9-11 first responder even as Trump literally said that he wasn’t a 9-11 first responder. How do you misinterpret that statement to mean the opposite unless you are just willfully living in an alternate reality constructed from ideology rather than plain facts?
During Thursday’s appearance on ‘The View’, Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, launched into a lengthy list of ambitious proposals that could be accomplished through a wealth tax on the richest .1% of Americans. The tax would kick in on fortunes exceeding 50 million dollars and would take two cents of every dollar over that threshold.
As Warren has previously outlined, such a tax would fund universal healthcare. However, Thursday, in front of an excited studio audience, Warren proposed cancelling student loan debt to raucous cheers and applause. “But wait, we can do so much more,” the Senator announced to the stunned View hosts. Universal free college tuition, universal child care, universal pre-K, and give every childcare worker and preschool worker a raise, the Senator ticked off as the audience went bananas.
This being television, the segment had to end and the program went to a commercial break. However, Senator Warren wasn’t done yet: “Two cents,” she announced, holding up two fingers. “Two cents. Got an opioid addiction? For two cents, you get universal free addiction counseling and we’ll pay off your drug debts. Overdue library book? Two cents gets you universal overdue library book forgiveness. Are you a former client of Michael Avenatti? For two cents, we’ll pay you back everything he stole from you. Two cents and we’ll make Tesla profitable. Of course, some of it’s coming out of your fortune, Elon Musk. Somebody told me 50 Cent is only worth 48. These are our values we’re talking about here. I think the top .1% can afford to give up two cents on the dollar to make him 50 Cent again. But wait, we can do so much more. For two cents, we can get them to change the ending to Game of Thrones…”
Although the Senator wasn’t finished, at his point she had to be whisked off the set by producers before the show returned from commercial break.