What's Tony Thinking

The Debate: Dean Phillips Was Right


This is a piece of mine that was published at Post Alley this morning as part of roundtable of contributions from Post Alley writers on the Presidential debate. I’ve edited the original, written last night, lightly.

Dean Phillips Was Right

Dean who?

Dean Phillips is the Minnesota congressman who had gall to mount a quixotic campaign to oppose President Joe Biden in several of the early primaries.

Not because he disliked Joe Biden. Not because he thought Joe Biden had been a bad President. Not because he thought he was the best alternative. Phillips tried to get Gretchen Whitmer and Josh Shapiro, among others, to consider running. They wouldn’t talk to him. Phillips did it because he believed Joe Biden was too old and fragile to beat Donald Trump.

Dean Phillips was right.

Dean Phillip was demeaned, and destroyed, by the Democratic Party establishment. How dare he?

But Dean Phillips was right.

Biden should have passed the torch.

This “debate” was incredibly sad. Sad to watch Joe Biden, like a fighter well beyond his prime, taking blow after blow. Always on his heels. Always reactive.

Someone I know had suggested watching with the volume off. If you did, it was no less clear. Biden looked baffled, bewildered and downcast, literally. Not without cause. Debating Donald Trump is all but impossible even if you have all your wits about you. It’s like talking with someone who is psychotic. Not working from reality.

But Biden knew, or should have known, or his advisers should have known and prepared him for that. Citing a litany of facts to counter Trump is like shooting a machine gun at the wind.

Post debate I feel sad. . . sad and heartbroken for our country. Neither man should be President. Neither man should be running for President. How has it come to this?

But I’m not only sad.

I’m angry. Angry that the Democratic Party hasn’t done better.

If defeating Donald Trump is Job #1 — and it is — they should have said, “How can we win this?” Egos aside, precedent aside, focus: what do we need to do to defeat Donald Trump in 2024? Who can we give the American people who can win, who they can believe in? The Democratic Party has failed us.

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