Jay Inslee – King of the Dad Joke

These might start to get shorter, because I’m getting really tired of listening to a whole lot of blah blah blah. I’ve also found myself being a little less charitable. I’m finding it hard to be sorry about that.

Here’s the thing: Inslee seems like a smart guy. He seems to generally have the same priorities as the other candidates – although his focus is climate first, everything else later. (That’s not a negative, in my opinion.) As far as I can tell, there are no major scandals in his past. And he admitted in his CNN Town Hall that he had never really thought about a particular topic and didn’t have an informed answer.

If Joe Biden and Al Gore had a really boring baby

He’s a back-slapping, jokey-jokey guy who is affable, and not at all interesting. Like a cross between Joe Biden and Al Gore. Less creepy than Biden, less intelligent than Gore, but boring as hell and trying to be funny. I have literally zero interest in learning more about him.

Is there something worth finding that I should know about? Can anyone give me a reason to care?T

Tulsi Gabbard – Evasive AF

My write-up on Tulsi Gabbard will be pretty short, because even after listening to her talk, I’m not sure what she’s all about. (I’m basing this on a few articles and a few recent interviews – including her CNN Town Hall.)

At this point in the race, most of the candidates believe in essentially the same stuff – so policy differences are minor and not really all that interesting yet. What I’m looking for right now is someone who seems to a.) understand why they are running for President, b.) be really well-versed on the big issues facing the country and the world, and c.) be intelligent, curious and humble enough to work with the right people to get to the right answers.

Tulsi Gabbard is not that.

In the CNN Town Hall, Representative Gabbard evaded a straight answer on almost every question. She talked about the concept of the question, without actually answering the question. It was really difficult to listen to.

I thought that she’s done an okay job explaining why and how she’s evolved on LGBT issues. I don’t really hold that against her. Her meeting with Assad of Syria in 2017 without any coordination with the State Department is a different story. That she still doesn’t believe she did anything wrong is troubling, and essentially ruled out Gabbard as a candidate for me awhile ago.

As always, please feel free to tell me what you think. Am I missing an angle? Did I misjudge or misinterpret?

Amy Klobuchar – I want to want to back her

So far, I’ve been able to form a pretty solid opinion on the candidates that I’ve taken the time to get to know. Senator Amy Klobuchar remains a bit of a wild card for me.

I want to get behind her really straight forward approach. Like Buttigieg, who is almost certainly my candidate until he’s either out of the race or in the White House, Klobuchar is pragmatic and down to earth in the way that she presents ideas. She won’t say that she’s for something when she isn’t, and she explains why some popular ideas might not be as great as they seem on the surface. For the most part, she manages to do all of that without being condescending or defensive.

Where it gets weird for her, though, is when it starts to get into the rumors that she’s a bit of a monster to her staff. When the question was posed to her at the CNN Town Hall, the individual who asked gave her the perfect opportunity to turn it around. They mentioned the rumors, and then asked her if or what leadership qualities she thought she could improve. Instead of taking the opportunity to show humility, she got defensive. She admitted to being “tough” on her people, but then went on to point to the number of years some staff members have remained with her. Klobuchar never came back around to admit to any leadership quality that she could improve, and that moment might have been the moment she lost me.

In the end, I feel like she’d probably be a good President, but I don’t want her to be.

Honestly, my end evaluation of Senator Klobuchar is that she’d probably make a good President. I appreciate the way that she sees issues and policies from many sides, and seems to really understand the nuanced impacts of any decisions she makes. But her lack of humility and self-awareness (or honesty about her self-awareness) is a real issue for me.

I know that I have a few folks who have asked about Klobuchar – and I would love to hear alternative takes on her candidacy? Am I totally wrong about her? Is there another side that I need to understand?

Kirsten Gillibrand – I guess, maybe

I’ve gotten way behind on posting my thoughts on the candidates – and if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, it’s probably clear that I’ve essentially settled on my Buttigieg as my frontrunner. But I do still want to be fair to the others and try to explain why I’ve landed where I’ve landed.

I might have been a little wrong about Gillibrand

One of the things that I like about Senator Gillibrand is that she’s willing to admit when she’s been wrong in the past. In that spirit, I’m going to admit that I might have been wrong about her. I had written her off entirely based on one interview that I saw with her a few months ago, but after her CNN Town Hall I had a more balanced view of her.

As I noted above, I do like that Gillibrand is open to evolving her perspective on things, and is willing to admit that she’s been wrong in the past. At the same time, she admitted on a few issues that she evolved because she went from representing an Upstate New York district to representing the entire state, and she suddenly understood that the issues had other sides. I’m not sure that you should have to specifically represent a certain group of people before you attempt to understand the larger implications of your decisions.

I also felt like she could have been more authentic in the way that she represented herself. She seemed to “turn on” these fiery, passionate speeches at certain points in the town hall, as though she had someone tell her, “You need get really worked up about this”. It didn’t feel real.

I’m mostly just not interested.

I might be missing something in her candidacy, but there’s nothing about her that gets me excited for the future. I know it’s cliche, but a candidate needs to be able to do the job – and also needs to be able to energize people behind their message. I’m just not energized.