They used to call it the “Jefferson-Jackson Dinner” — when we had permission to admire those men. Now, befitting a modern Democratic Party obsessed with some people’s idea of “social justice,” it’s called the “Liberty and Justice Celebration.”
No matter. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the most important event in Iowa this year, which makes it the most important event for Democrats around the country. Each candidate for president had 12 minutes to make a case to rank-and-file Democrats about why they should be the “Chosen One.”
The event is a test of organizational muscle. There were 13,000 tickets available and it was clear from the tenor of the crowd that Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg sold the most tickets.
They also gave the fieriest speeches.
Buttigieg was the first candidate to take the stage. The 37-year-old casting himself as both a voice of a new generation reminiscent of President Barack Obama that could also bring back a sense of calm and order to the Oval Office [sic].
“I didn’t just come here to end the era that is Donald Trump. I’m here to launch the era that comes next,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “Because in order to win, and in order to lead, it’s going to take a lot more than the political warfare we have come to accept from Washington, D.C.”
Warren is leading the current polls in Iowa, but Buttigieg has seen his numbers rise in the state lately. And both had the loudest and largest crowd of supporters inside the Des Moines arena.
Meanwhile, Warren got off the line of the night.
Warren, meanwhile, was the most aggressive in taking on other Democrats — delivering perhaps the night’s most memorable line.
“I’m not running some consultant-driven campaign with some vague ideas that are designed not to offend anyone,” she said.
She also appeared more willing to attack her fellow Democrats.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took aim at her more moderate rivals during her remarks, slamming them for “vague ideas that are designed not to offend anyone.”
“If the most we can promise is business as usual after Donald Trump, then we Democrats will lose,” Warren said, in a clear shot at both former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “We win when we offer solutions big enough to touch the problems that are in peoples’ lives.”
Oh, yes, and remember Joe Biden? He showed up too, touting his “electability”:
“We have got to beat this man. It’s not enough that we just beat him — we’ve got to beat him soundly so everyone knows we are not going back to a time when another president like him can hold that office,” Biden said. “And I will beat him like a drum if I’m your nominee, and he knows it.”
No word if any audience members besides Biden partisans were paying attention.
By the time the lower-tiered candidates got around to speaking, the hall was mostly empty. This begs the question: if a politician gives a speech to an empty room, can anybody hear them?