Alan Zendell, February 12, 2020
I waited with bated breath for Joe Biden to announce his candidacy. Surely, he was the one who could send Trump home after one term, something more than half of all Americans desperately want. It almost seems unfair that when a moment made for Joe finally came along, he might not be up to the task. I hope he is, I still think the guy who offered to settle things with Trump the way he took on bullies in high school can re-unite the country and restore the moral compass our government has lacked since Trump was elected. For me and a lot of people my age, Trump’s immorality and lack of respect for law are his most overriding flaws.
One reason it feels unfair is because Biden, who stuttered terribly as a child, is still prone to tripping over words when he speaks too fast, and to many voters, that makes him look old and feeble. He’s not, but that’s politics. There was a flash of the real Joe Biden in last Friday’s CNN Town Hall, when a minister asked him what he would say to a parent of a child who stutters. Biden was clearly surprised by the question, but it transported him to a place where he shone. Speaking in passionate but measured tones, he was eloquent, empathetic, and caring – the absolute antithesis to the president he’s trying to unseat. It’s too bad we don’t see that Joe Biden, the one who could hand Trump his lunch in a heartbeat more often. Where has he been?
In this morning’s Washington Post, Megan McArdle asked the same question about Amy Klobuchar, though as Biden’s star may be fading (I’m not ready to give up on him yet) hers is rising. McArdle’s tag line this morning was, “This Amy Klobuchar could beat Trump. Where has she been all year?”
Senator Klobuchar caught my eye from the beginning. She’s centered, both personally and politically, she has law enforcement credentials, she’s tough enough to take on Trump without flinching, and she’s popular in Michigan and Wisconsin, two states that could well decide a close election. Initially, given her poor standing in the early polls, I viewed her as the perfect running mate for Biden rather than the standard bearer, though I always hoped she’d finally catch on with voters.
Among the women running for president, she outlasted Kristin Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Tulsi Gabbard by doggedly sticking to her message and avoiding food fights. Today, following the New Hampshire primary, she appears poised to do the same to Elizabeth Warren. As disappointing as it was to see Biden crash and burn in New Hampshire, it was inspirational to see Klobuchar catch fire there.
The more I see and hear Senator Klobuchar, the more I like her, the more easily I can imagine her in the White House. If she can build on her momentum from New Hampshire, where she came in third but won more than twice as many votes as the polls predicted, she will be my first choice to run against Trump. She wouldn’t be the first candidate to start slowly and steadily pick up steam. Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama did it, and so can she.
I can clearly recall the debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in October of 2016, mere weeks before the election, when he stalked her around the stage while she spoke. He was like a hungry predator, unable to control himself, and it clearly threw Clinton off her game. I’d love to see him try to intimidate Amy Klobuchar that way. Good luck, Donald. Country-rock star Jim Croce told us never to pull on Superman’s cape or spit into the wind. I wouldn’t mess with Amy either, on a public stage with the entire world watching. He’ll get it right back in his face and she’ll do it without insults or profanity.
We already know that strong, confident women unsettle Mr. Trump. None of his boorish tactics will work on her. McCardle reminded us of the exchange between Klobuchar and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the latter’s rigged confirmation hearing. She asked him directly if he ever blacked out after drinking heavily, and he angrily retorted, “Have you?” McCardle recalls that, “Klobuchar responded, not with the scenery-chewing histrionics her colleagues had resorted to when challenged, but with a gimlet eye and a chilly smile.”
Klobuchar caught fire in New Hampshire. If she can keep that flame alive in South Carolina and Nevada, she may be exactly what we need to get America back on track and put Trumpism to rest.