We realize the chatter we surreptitiously listen in on in coffee shops is essentially meaningless. Yet it has proved surprisingly prescient…
Starting way back with the conversation we overheard in a coffee shop that got us convinced Trump had a good shot at winning…
Today, we overheard a New Hampshire voter describing how she decided on a Democratic candidate during the recent primary there. Here’s what she said:
“I love Joe Biden. He’s such a sweet, good man. But what they’re putting him through?! What they’re forcing him to put himself through?! He’s trying his best, God Bless him, but he doesn’t deserve that!”
We don’t know who she means by “they”. And the person she was talking to didn’t ask her. But we think we know exactly the feeling she’s talking about in respect to Biden. And maybe you do too.
“I like Mayor Pete but he’s just too inexperienced. So I went to sleep thinking I had to go with Biden. But when I woke up I thought Amy Klobuchar. Not because she’s a woman. But because I thought she has at least some experience in the Senate, and must know how to negotiate and get people from different parties together. And that’s who I voted for. And I feel good about it.”
It’s hard to convey in print. But that last comment: “And I feel good about it”, was not said as if she was trying to convince herself she’d made the right decision. It was said with firmness and resolve.
And we guess it goes without saying, because she didn’t say it, that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Tom Steyer didn’t even figure into the equation, as far as she was concerned. So it’s probably fair to define her as a solid moderate. (Though Mike Bloomberg wasn’t on the ballot in New Hampshire, she still could’ve indicated support for him if he was her favorite, but she didn’t mention him either).
So what does that mean? As we said at the beginning of our column today: nothing. But it is leading us to believe, at least a little, that Amy Klobuchar is a more viable candidate than we thought, especially if Biden fails to pick up steam, and the many blows against Bloomberg by Democrats of late are landing (which we think they are).
Up until now we’d believed the Democratic Senator from Minnesota was the candidate of only the “dreamily hopeful moderate”. The kind of person who tends to see positives and opportunities in everything, even where none exist, really. Yet you root for them every time even though you know they’re headed for near-certain disappointment, because their souls are so innocent and their intentions so pure. But maybe this time they’ll be right. Or at least Amy Klobuchar will prove herself more competitive than we and a lot of other people anticipated. We do also still credit her with being the only elected official we remember on either side who did not completely embarrass themselves during the now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
At the same time, we should point out that fivethirtyeight.com projects the most likely scenario for Super Tuesday right now is Klobuchar gets completely shut out on delegates in every single state but her home state of Minnesota. If that’s the case, she’ll almost certainly drop out right after. So we’ll see…
We also wanted to use this opportunity to revisit another coffee shop conversation we’d written about: this concerning the Trump supporter and Vietnam vet who nonetheless felt President Trump had overstepped when he pardoned several U.S. soldiers convicted of war crimes. In one case, overruling the best judgment of not one but many soldiers who saw a now- -exonerated-by-the-President Navy SEAL’s actions firsthand? We pointed out at the time that Trump supporters tend to forgive the President for all sorts of things after relatively short periods of time. Even if at first he made them really angry. And wondered aloud if that’d happen again.
So it was interesting to us to read about former White House Chief of Staff and Marine General John Kelly’s appearance at a New Jersey university last week. Because during the audience Q&A session, those military pardons were still very much at the top of the list, even though several months have passed. And, according to the Atlantic, the subject of several questions for Kelly.
“The idea that the commander in chief intervened there, in my opinion, was exactly the wrong thing to do. Had I been there, I think I could have prevented it.”