Darrell Berkheimer: Here’s my pick of the Democrat Party litter
Sometimes I lack the fortitude to go out on the political limb and say what needs to be said. But this is not one of those times.
Today I’m advocating for whom I think would be on the Democrat Party’s best presidential ticket. That’s what I toyed with doing in my last column, when I was still building the courage to report my conclusions.
Joe Biden is too old — as is Sen. Bernie Sanders. But Biden is leading in the early polls because many Democrats are indicating they prefer a moderate to candidates who lean too far to the left.
Biden, however, simply has too much baggage, including some misrepresentations from years ago and a slew of gaffes. His past just doesn’t fit with the vision and vitality needed for our future; and that past provides too much ammunition for criticism — from both the far left and Republicans.
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Sanders, way out there on the left, trudges on with unchanged policy messages already rebuked four years ago as too extreme and too expensive.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris also speak too much to the far-left-leaning progressives, which likely will discourage too many independents as well as more moderate Democrats.
And with Harris, Democrats would be making a mistake similar to the one made with President Barack Obama, who, as a freshman senator, simply was not seasoned enough when he began the job. Harris, as a first-term senator, also lacks that seasoning — as does South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
So it’s obvious that Democrats need a moderate, yet well-seasoned candidate. That candidate must be able to go toe-to-toe with Trump, and paint him as the despicable barbarian, racist and liar that he is, while offering a vision for the future that returns our nation to the more humanitarian and ecological values that we cherish.
I think the needed moderate candidate is 59-year-old Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who will be participating in the September debate. So here’s a checklist of the qualifications and advantages she offers:
Klobuchar is a third-term senator who has never lost in an election, and who wins by wide margins. That indicates she also received strong support from Republican voters in Minnesota.
She is a seasoned prosecutor who will know how to get tough with Donald Trump. She served 8 years as attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota’s most populous county. And in 2001 she was named Attorney of the Year by the publication Minnesota Lawyer.
She’s a pragmatist, and Republicans like working with Klobuchar because she reaches across the aisle to get appropriate legislation passed. Former Arizona Sen. John McCain, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Senate Financial Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa – all Republicans – have each said they liked working with Klobuchar.
According to GovTrack, Klobuchar was instrumental in passing more legislation than any other senator by the end of the 114th Congress. As of Dec. 16, 2016, Congress.gov reported she sponsored or co-sponsored 111 pieces of legislation that became law. So she knows how to get the job done.
Klobuchar signaled her interest in U.S.-Russian issues when she joined McCain and Graham on a 2016 trip to Baltic states and the Ukraine.
Her name also has been floated as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
She is from the Midwest – an important issue to many voters in the middle of the nation who have voiced their dismay over so many top government officials coming from the “elite” cultures of the East and West coasts.
Her presidential announcement and debate appearances have revealed her pragmatic approach to such hot-butto n issues as gun laws, education, tax loopholes, immigration and health care. On immigration, she was part of a bipartisan group who tried to reach a compromise with Trump. She also signaled her support for a public option as part of any move toward Medicare for All.
And finally, she declined to criticize the other candidates when asked a debate question that was baiting her to do so.
No, I did not forget that I said at the beginning of this commentary that I’m advocating who I believe offers the best presidential ticket — including the one who could be Klobuchar’s best running mate.
I think that would be business entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Yang, who also has qualified for the third round of debates.
Yang’s knowledge of technology, science and the business world is sorely needed to help guide our ship of state as the waves of innovative changes come crashing in. He would add considerable diversity to the party’s ticket; and he, too, declined to criticize other party candidates.
But regardless who your choices might be, and who the eventual nominee is, please register your choices in both the primary and general elections. Failing to vote in November of 2020 will be the same as voting for Donald Trump.
Darrell Berkheimer, who lives in Grass Valley, is a frequent contributor to The Union. He is the author of six books available through Amazon. His latest, Essays from The Golden Throne, also is available at Book Seller in Grass Valley. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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