Since Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D, MN) chose my city as her first campaign stop, I thought I might weigh in on her Presidential suitability for someone like me. I’m guessing that the Democrats probably won’t ignore Wisconsin this go-round, so I’ll probably be seeing a lot more of her and many of the other Democrat candidates. Of course, Trump also visited Eau Claire in 2016 (twice), so I will expect to see him here again as well (unless, of course, he is otherwise “detained” from making the trip).
So, what is Klobuchar’s strategy? Early on, it seems she is attempting to fill a role that most, if not all, of the other announced Democrat candidates are not filling. That is, she is securing her position as the “centrist” Democrat in the race. While all of her opponents are out-lefting each other, she is presenting an option that is much more palatable to moderate Democrats, Independents, and even to those disaffected Republicans who are open to an alternative to Trump.
Will it work? Only time will tell.
Would I vote for her? I’m not ready to state definitively if I would or not, but note that I was never open to voting for Hillary. In fact, as most of you know from my previous writings, I have never voted for (or even considered voting for) a Democrat for President. Up until the 2018 midterm election, I had never voted for (or considered voting for) a Democrat for any office.
Strange times present strange options.
Why would I even entertain the thought of voting for Klobuchar when Hillary was always out of the question? Essentially, I believe that if you put their policy positions side by side, they would not depart from each other too much. Neither one of them are of the far-leftist, socialist mold, as most of the other Democrat candidates are.
Then why the different thinking on Klobuchar?
First and foremost…character.
Honesty, ethics, and accountability…these things matter. After watching Hillary for the past 28 years, I have concluded that she lacks all of these traits. Therefore, she was unfit to be President. Of course, these are the same reasons that I concluded Trump was also unfit. With him, I would add maturity, civility, and, yes, mental stability. But, this isn’t about Trump, so back to Klobuchar…
Admittedly, I know very little about Klobuchar. I was surprised to learn that she’s been in the U.S. Senate since 2006. She seems to have flown under the radar, which is a rare and refreshing thing for an aspiring Presidential candidate. Or maybe she has just spent all of the years on media that I had refused to watch during my previous political life.
The more I learn, the more I may find that she lacks in character as well. There are stories about how she has mistreated her staff, but I’m not sure if that really amounts to anything. Setting high standards and being direct about them is not a bad thing, but such things are still worth considering as these stories develop.
I have not yet heard of anything to make me question her honesty or integrity, but I will be paying attention.
Likewise, I have not heard or seen anything to make me question her maturity, civility or mental stability. In fact, I was rather impressed with how she presented herself during the Kavanaugh hearings. I don’t have any desire to go back and re-watch that, but from what I remember, she was rational, calm, and reasoned in her tone and questioning. Even when Kavanaugh absurdly attacked her, she responded very well, and graciously accepted his apology, which was about the only rational thing he did that day. She did not attack Kavanaugh or go overboard in her accusations and insinuations…rather, she was fair and measured.
As to her positions on the issues and policies, this is where I would veer with her in considerable ways. She is most definitely a left of center Democrat who I disagree with on a number of things, even though she is not as loony as the others.
However, her campaign website has no details on her positions.
In the little that I have thus far seen:
- She is not currently for Medicare for all, but does want it and Medicaid increased and expanded to include more people and she does want a “public option” for healthcare.
- She is not sold on the whole Green New Deal. She thinks the goals are laudable, but probably unrealistic…things to work toward, but many compromises would need to be made. She says she would get us back into the Paris Climate Agreement on day one.
- She is not for free college for everyone, but does want free community college, an expansion of Pell Grants, and better loan options for students.
- She claims to be concerned about our mounting national debt, which the Republicans have just quit worrying about. At least she’s talking about it, but some of her “wants” (see above) lead me to question the sincerity.
- She is for raising the minimum wage, which particularly concerns me because, to me, that is such a huge indicator of knowledge about basic economics, and being for increasing the minimum wage suggests either an ignorance or a deliberate attempt at pandering.
- She frames the debate on guns in terms of how any regulations might affect her Uncle’s love of hunting. Ugh.
She is being very savvy in these positions, attempting to present the image of being the reasonable Democrat in the vast field of candidates. For me, I still disagree with most of those positions for various reasons which are beyond the scope of this piece, but not as much as I disagree with the rest of the Democrat candidates. I suspect that is very much by design and I do not yet know if these are all sincere, long-held positions or if they are simply poll-tested ones.
Bottom line is that I have not automatically ruled her out (as opposed to Trump and his nonsense), as I have always done to every Democrat Presidential candidate in the last 35+ years of my voting. I am confident that there are many others like me. I am also confident that Independents would flood to someone like Klobuchar rather than go with Trump.
This does not bode well for the Republicans.
It would behoove them to make a change…but we all know that they won’t.
At the same time, it would behoove the Democrats to think deeply about who they put forth for these very reasons…but early indications are quite mixed on whether they will or not.
What are your thoughts? If the Democrats choose Klobuchar, or someone like her, will Trump and the Republicans be able to use the strategy of making this election about fighting socialism, as it seems they are moving toward?
What nickname will Trump give to Klobuchar? I hear he’s been hard at work coming up with new nicknames for all of the Democrat candidates…so very busy during this time of National Emergency.