Dosed myself up with the usual and I will be pouring warm, medicated water through my sinuses shortly, which helped last time.
As for the circus, why, that was last night's Presidential candidate debate. Or was it a half-debate? Only half the Democrat pool onstage, with the remainder tonight. I'm a little disappointed there won't be brackets like a sports playoff; it would be more useful. And think of the opportunities for wagering!
It was a show of Party orthodoxy, with broad uniformity of opinion on "Medicaid for all," gun control and border issues; Hawaii's Congressperson Tulsi Gabbard was way, way out there in being a little bit less doveish on the possibility of a war with Iran than her fellow contenders.
The unseen but ever-present eleventh podium onstage belonged to President Trump and none of the ten skipped a chance to call him out as a clear and present danger. This, too, has become a matter of Party orthodoxy and at least one candidate all but promised to bring criminal charges against their predecessor if they were elected to the presidency -- in true banana republic fashion.
Marred by technical problems in the form of a microphone issue that took longer to sort out than I would have expected, it quickly became clear that about half of the prospective candidates were only there to graze the Craft Services table, whether they knew it or not.
Some highlights and first impressions: Senator Elizabeth Warren remains feisty and annoying, the kind of gadfly more suited to Congress than the Executive branch. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio struck me as presumptuous, his microphone shut off at least twice while he was trying to speak out of turn, talk over other candidates or take more time than allotted. I thought "Beto" O'Rourke pushed earnest youthfulness and throbbing emotion a bit farther than his performance could support; he comes off as insincere. On the other hand, Senator Cory Booker seemed authentic and at one point, when Mayor de Blasio was making a (belabored) point of his own unique experience in "...raising a black son..." and having to caution him to be especially wary in his interactions with police, Sen. Booker briefly looked incredulous and visibly restrained himself from speaking up. He never made a direct reply to the Mayor's comments but I wouldn't have held a biting retort against him.
The debate was mostly a parade of ego and a way for the candidates to each try to be more of a Democrat than any of their peers, a process that drives their party ever more Leftward. We used to have "big tent" parties, each rife with Rockefeller Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats. Those days are gone; don't look for them to return.
And tonight, ten more Democrats onstage. Do I make popcorn or not?
Maybe just anti-seasickness pills. I think these candidates are making my headache worse.