Eric Swalwell: Meh.

swalwellFirst let me apologize to Representative Swalwell, as I’ve been spelling his name incorrectly for over a month now.  Something about the fact that it took me this long to notice says a lot about how I feel about his candidacy.  Meh.

I took the time this morning to pull together a YouTube playlist to listen to on my way to work of interviews with Eric Swalwell.  I tried to make sure I was pulling things from the last month, so that they represented his Presidential campaign. With so many candidates, I really just can’t spend hours on each one – so I admit that I’m coming to you with my opinion after only about an hour of assorted video clips.  As always, I welcome any feedback on what I’ve missed or where you think I’ve gotten something wrong.

Go Big. Be Bold. Do Good.

I actually really like his slogan.  It does seem to translate into some of the ideas that he’s ideas that he has.  Here are a few things I’ve heard that I like:

  • “Team of Rivals”

This was my favorite thing that I heard from him.  Swalwell has committed to a cabinet made up of both Democrats and Republicans.  He doesn’t seem naive enough to believe that this will be easy; he said that he may have to search high and low for Republicans willing to put country over party.  This also might turn out to be a colossally terrible idea. I love it because it appeals to my desire to see real bipartisan cooperation and conversation, but I am not the one who would have to implement it.  So I love the idea, and I’m highly skeptical of it’s efficacy.

  • “Medicare for all who want it”

He’s obviously aligned with Buttigieg on this one.  I’m assuming he’s also using Pete’s words, although it isn’t like it’s a phrase that’s been copyrighted.  Basically, Swalwell is for a robust public option. I have not heard him specifically spell out whether he means that to be a means to a full “Medicare for all” system eventually, or if he sees the public option as a long-term solution.

And then there are questions

Swalwell started out as a candidate focused on gun control – and he has big ideas here.  He wants universal background checks, as most of the country does. Swalwell also wants to make assault weapons illegal for private ownership, including proposing a buy back program for those that are already in private ownership.  I agree in principle, but I find myself questioning whether the buy back part of that is worth how contentious it might become.

I also love Swalwell’s commitment to “modernizing all public schools” in all communities, but I’m not clear on how much falls into federal versus state authority, how we would pay for those modernizations, and what programs we wouldn’t be able to fund if we did it.  It sounds like a great campaign promise, but I need more detail.

Finally, I have been surprised by how little I’ve heard about climate change from Swalwell.  He supports the Green New Deal, but doesn’t seem to talk a lot about specifics. Maybe it’s because he’s trying to focus on the things that others aren’t?  The unfortunate thing about such a large pool of candidates is that a.) I don’t have time (and they don’t have the media attention) to focus on every issue, and b.) if a candidate is going to focus on policy ideas, I’m going to assume that the candidate’s priorities fall on the policies they talk about the most.  

So in summary…

I’m not opposed to a Swalwell candidacy, but I still have questions and I’m generally uninspired.  I do not feel like his priorities align that well with mine, I don’t think he’s compelling enough to make it to the end of this primary, and I probably won’t spend a ton of time learning more about him.

What did I miss?  What am I wrong about?