Dave Begley: Live from Sioux City [with comment by Paul]

In the world of collecting, our occasional correspondent Dave Begley is what they call a completist. In his “live from Iowa” coverage of the 2020 field of presidential contenders, Dave is leaving no Democratic candidate behind. When Marianne Williamson brought her unlikely campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Iowa yesterday (thumbnail photo and photo below courtesy of Dave), Dave was on hand to cover the festivities, such as they were. Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. He has filed this report.

It was one hundred degrees in Sioux City yesterday, but inside Evolve Yoga I experienced the cool love of Marianne Williamson. If the best-selling author is a fringe candidate, most of her proposed policies run in the mainstream of the 2020 Democratic field. Williamson’s problem as a contender is that she is neither well-known nor plausible. She speaks the gauzy language of therapy and wants to apply it to the body politic.

Williamson is the most fascinating Democrat I have seen and the most authentic by a country mile. I would have enjoyed sitting down and discussing politics with her over a bottle of wine. She’s a polished speaker with a nice stage presence. She has made her name as a New Age self-help guru who purports to help people fix what’s wrong with their lives. She has enjoyed great success and many Americans have bought what she has sold them.

As Healer-in-Chief she would like to harness love and turn it into a political force. Love matters and, of course, Donald Trump is a force who has exacerbated the need for therapy on the left.

Williamson and Trump, however, are both outsiders and populists. Williamson correctly observed that government follows what the people want. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

When I saw candidate Trump on the campaign trail, I recall thinking how odd it was that he said he loved voters. He said it all the time. Candidate Trump was no policy wonk and his MAGA theme reflects love of country and, most importantly, love of Americans over foreigners. And since his election, President Trump’s love has been expressed in an impressive set of accomplishments. Trump and Williamson are both tapping into the same emotion, albeit from a different side of the aisle.

According to Williamson, both parties are corporatist. Corporations are evil. Citizens United must be repealed by a constitutional amendment and political campaigns should be publicly financed. The Declaration of Independence is our country’s mission statement. She will end the pursuit of happiness; she will deliver it.

In fact, she wants to create a Department of Peace. She opposes the new B-21 bombers and the money devoted to them should instead feed children. Our enemies, unfortunately, have a say in the matter. An America with weakened defenses would not experience peace.

Williamson described a “silent emergency” in which millions of kids go to school hungry and lacking in school supplies. I hope she calls this to Joe Biden’s attention in the next debate. Students of ancient history may recall that he served in high office a few years back.

Williamson features reparations as one of her principal issues. She proposes to pay $200 to $500 billion over twenty years to the descendants of former slaves. I asked her about paying money to the heirs of the 350,000 Union soldiers who died. She gave a long answer (nine minutes!). She started with a history lesson on slavery in America. After the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan seized power in the South. The former Confederate States enacted Black Codes that stripped rights from the newly freed slaves. Sherman’s failure to execute fully on his field order of forty acres and a mule to the newly freed slaves – under Williamson’s theory – is the proximate cause of all the racial misery and strife that has followed since 1865.

Reparations, according to Williamson, would be therapeutic. It would relieve us of racial toxicity. It would lead to holistic healing. She cited the German government’s payments in respect of the Holocaust. As a Jew, she said, she has noticed that German youth no longer feel guilty about the Holocaust. She thinks the payoff worked.

Williamson to the contrary notwithstanding, reparations would set American race relations back 50 years. There is no way to account for slavery in the year 2019. Reparations are not only unworkable. They are just plain stupid.

Although not discussed during her stump speech, Williamson also thinks mandatory vaccines are draconian and Orwellian. Another stupid statement.

Williamson is also all in on the Fake Science of global warming and its prediction of catastrophic events in the distant future based upon flawed models and corrupt data, but she is opposed to the hard science about vaccines. She goes with what feels good in a California sort of way.

Williamson is wrong about approximately everything. In this she more or less faithfully reflects the mainstream thinking of today’s Democrat party.

PAUL ADDS: Why is Williamson running for president? Probably in the hope of breaking out of the new-age guru niche and into the leftist mainstream. Stated differently, she’s probably running for a talk show on a major cable network.

It worked for Mike Huckabee.