Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper gets booed at the California Democrats' state convention after declaring that "socialism is not the answer" to the problems of defeating our President in 2020 and "achiev(ing) big progressive goals." What does he mean by "socialism"? Well, he says that"(m)assive government expansions may not be strictly speaking socialism, but trust me: Republicans will make it seem like socialism." And he volunteers this strategy as a way of confounding Republican efforts to define Democrats! Enabling Republicans who call everything "socialism" is no way to fight them; hell, it's no way to fight. Still, it might be worse for him to offer "focusing on kitchen table programs that will actually improve people's quality of life" as an alternative -- as if "socialist" programs couldn't possibly do that! But here's what's worst: he insists we either take a center-right tack or the President gets re-elected, which is what, class? That's right, a manufactured hostage crisis -- don't communicate your will to your politicians, or your country gets it!
For all that, Mr. Hickenlooper fared better than former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, who got booed at the same event for a full minute after telling the assembled that Medicare-for-All "sounds good, but it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics." It routinely gets majority support in poll after poll and it's "not good politics"? His objection to Medicare-for-All as policy seems to be that it'll "kick() 115 million Americans off their health care" -- though it would give them cheaper, better health care, not "no health care." And naturally he took the criticism with the confidence and professionalism befitting a man who ought to be a frontrunner, right? Well, no -- first he said that "(i)ntolerance to alternative points of view is not what the Democratic Party should be about," which begs the retort that you cant 't President if you call criticism "intolerance." And then he said "(m)ost Republicans favor doing nothing and eliminating the ACA. What’s your choice?" Well, my choice is not to be part of your damn manufactured hostage crisis! You can't keep putting out a menu of wet oatmeal and a bowl of dung and expect people to say how great your restaurant is.
And these putatively "sane," "sensible" "moderates" could learn a lot from South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg about how to hide your centrism from the masses -- he told the California delegates that "the riskiest thing we could do is try to play it safe" in 2020, which is a stroke of genius even if, like me, you don't believe he really means it. The flesh is willing with statements like "(our President) wins if we look too much like Washington" and "when (our President) inundates the imagination with a horror show of taunts and tweets, let’s change the channel," and certainly I'd be glad if someone with a megaphone actually took on the noble project of "breaking the Republican monopoly" on words like "freedom" and "security." But the flesh has also seen this game before -- "new thinking, bold action, and a focus on the future" will remind you of, well, virtually every Democratic Presidential candidate who's either lost or disappointed you, and he opened with that. And what is this "new thinking"? We don't learn, which leads me to think that eight years of a President Pete Buttigieg will be eight more years of we-tried-but-Republicans-wouldn't-let-us.