The Phillips flameout begins

You’re forgiven if you don’t know this, but there’s a Democratic Minnesota congressman running for president. Dean Phillips is pretty much a Biden fan-boy, but at 54 he’s significantly younger. That’s really the only appeal of the guy — he’s Joe Biden from almost 30 years ago, which isn’t really the advantage he thinks it is. It’s all about Phillips’ ego.

If he handles his 15 minutes of fame well, he gains name recognition and positions himself to run for the Senate or for governor (because there’s essentially no chance he’d beat Biden). Perhaps, as a consolation prize, his candidacy draws other Democrats into the field and he can take credit for a sitting president having to sweat out winning his own party’s primary.

In other words, he says it’s all about Biden, but it’s really all about him.

I’m not at all interested in voting for him, and this weird grab for attention only diminishes my interest. He’s trying, though, and is campaigning in New Hampshire (I know, I’m dismayed that the electioneering has already begun in 2023). Unfortunately for him, he’s bombing spectacularly. He’s not very good at politics.

Speaking in a theater here less than a week after announcing his campaign, Phillips faced screaming and profanity from voters disappointed in his response to a question on a cease-fire in the Middle East. He was accused of gaslighting the lone Black woman in attendance, who was escorted out of the event — but not before a handful of other attendees walked out of the room.

The tense moment reflects the impassioned debate and nuanced positions within the Democratic Party over the Israel-Gaza war and underscored the question of whom exactly Phillips hopes to appeal to with his campaign. Though many Democrats express a desire for an alternative to Biden, it is unclear if Phillips is the candidate they are looking for.

Around an hour into the meandering town hall here Wednesday, 23-year-old Democrat Atong Chan rose to ask Phillips to support a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war.

Phillips blinked rapidly as Chan asked her question, and then began his response by turning around the question to ask her about how she feels about the Israelis killed by Hamas in the conflict.

“I’m going to answer each of your questions, but I have to tell you, I took note that you didn’t mention — how do you feel about the Israeli babies? And moms and dads and grandmas and hostages in Gaza who were brutally murdered? I just want to hear, before I answer your question, if that empathy is across humanity or only for Palestinians right now?” Phillips responded to Chan, a Manchester resident.

He interrupted before she replied, “I am completely empathetic to them.”

Phillips repeatedly invoked his multiple visits to Israel in the past year and his role as the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs subcommittee focused on the Middle East, and told Chan, “You and I are the same.” Though he said he was “horrified and disgusted when I see Palestinians slaughtered,” and denounced Hamas as an enemy of both Israel and Palestinians, he did not answer her follow-up questions about why he is not calling for a cease-fire.

All the politicians, Democrats included, seem to be rushing to find a centrist position that doesn’t require them to condemn violence and murder. It’s not going to work, unless you’re trying to court the fascist vote.

Oh well. I think most people had written off Phillips long ago. When the response to his early attempt to appeal to prospective voters is “screaming and profanity,” I think it’s safe to say he’s done. Go home, Dean Phillips.


  1. cheerfulcharlie says

    Philips might be doing a Reagan. Ronald Reagan lost his first attempt to run for President. Phillips needs name recognition. For 2028. Phillips now is on the national stage.

  2. wzrd1 says

    I’ll say, Israel dos have a right to defend itself.
    And that right does not extend to utilizing the very actions that resulted in its very existence.
    As in erasing the Geneva and Hague Conventions.
    And hence, all protections to “warriors” are literally erased via sanctioned reprisals.
    Hence, why the Allies killed Waffen SS in France.

    Still, let’s go for “voit for meeee, can’t do no woise”.

    While considering your state’s Supreme Court’s indecision on removing Trump from the ballot, when openly wanting to not do so, God-King-Emperor and excuses to ignore the Constitution.

  3. Hex says

    Love how these assholes demand people to always condemn violence against Israelis before the lightest words against (or in some cases, direct support of) genocide committed against Palestinians on multiplicatively higher scale, yet there’s no “do you condemn Israel’s continued genocide, ethnostate, forceful removal of Palestinians from their homes, etc,” before condemning Hamas. Almost the entire party in national leadership (and probably state leadership as well tho statewise I’m only familiar with my own state where they are) has gone mask off as genocide enablers. Just fucking infuriating, further cementing why I believe there needs to be a serious revolution in this country if there’s ever hope of liberation of oppressed people both within the country and outside of it.

  4. Jim Brady says

    Hate to say it, but this is the problem with a system concentrating power in one individual. Who do you think such concentrated power will attract?

  5. Hex says

    #5 Why hate to say it? It’s beyond obvious to me that these issues are systemic and just replacing people with “good” ones isn’t going to do shit to help anything in the long run but allow the concentration of more and more power into fewer and fewer hands, and allows shitty manipulative people who will do whatever it takes to gain power to wreak havoc whenever they end up in control. So many groups of humans on this planet have understood that for millennia and limit the powers of any one person or small group (so many, historically and today, have had have concepts like freedom to not follow orders and of movement), and the concept of a “state” to them with borders is complete anathema. Yet thru imperialist propaganda so many people seem to believe that humans just couldn’t function on their own without capitalism and huge centralized powers.

    And sure, there are things we wouldn’t have without global oppression and exploitation of labor, but so fucking what? I live in a community where, as much as we can outside of the capitalist regime we are forced to live under, if something is essential for survival, people will put work in to make sure it’s produced. And plenty of things that aren’t essential to survival, people get together and make anyways because they want to. But if something requires people to be forced at gunpoint or face losing their homes or families to produce because it’s not something people voluntarily will, then maybe, just maybe, it might cause a whole lot less suffering to just do without it.

  6. StevoR says

    Greg Laden (former FTB blogger) has a good post on Phillip’s run here :

    First, why do you care what I think? For these reasons: 1) I live in Congressman Phillips’s district; 2) While we are not buddy buddy, I consider him a friend, and we have a mutually respectful and trusting relationship; 3) I’m not really going to make much of a statement about the Congressman’s run, but rather, what I hope you consider when thinking about, and reacting to, that run.

    Source :

  7. wzrd1 says

    StevoR, I actually met a politician at my front door, physically knocking and talking. We shared a hell of a lot of common ground, both military in the same division, same deployments.
    Nicholas Miccarelli III swayed me to vote for him, later to be found to be a sexual predator.
    Today, if I ran into him in a dark alley, oh screw it, a well lit alley, he’d get my two 1/2 inch knife into his throat and other accessible areas.
    I do have a major character flaw, I am a very, very vindictive man.
    And am patient, I’ll happily wait a decade for a thunder strike.
    But then, I’m in a bit of a rubbish mood. BP is high again, for no reasonable reason, teeth coming out on random schedule (the lot are badly eroded by GERD acids) and a neighbor gave me a clock.
    Needed to add that last for random.
    She also gave me a scale, bathroom type, which immediately failed.
    Then, gifted batteries for said scale, coin cells, kept in a jar, so all were dead.
    Maybe I need to go next door to the synagogue for a luck recharge…
    Nah, still have my sense of humor.

    Other mood inducers…
    Watching The War Game and now watching Threads.
    The former, having massive errors on physics, the latter, some modest gaffes.
    And needs to be updated with modern information.

    Now, to reschedule multiple advanced medical tests…
    Need thyroid hormone levels, as well as a few other tracers suggesting bleeding.
    GI inertia being one factor, elevated BP being another at the dentist where I was quite relaxed.
    Then, farted and found stools in the toilet, suggesting some lumbar nerve failure.
    And a moderate heart murmur.
    Medically, we call that a train wreck.
    And expected to work, despite agony while standing upright. That, necessary for my occupation duties.
    Yeah, another bad day or something.

    Oh, PZ, retirement is illegal today, everything will roadblock it again, via moving goalposts.
    And no pathway to social security via disability, given scheduling of appointments in national holidays, rendering transport unavailable.
    Happened here.

    Oh, odd gaffe in all survival films, The War Game and Threads repeating them, miasma theory bullshit.
    The dead stinking up the place won’t be unhealthy, infection wise, just well, unpleasant to smell.

    Yeah, navigating that’s a mess, welcome to my life.

  8. Silentbob says

    @ 8 StevoR

    Greg Laden (former FTB blogger)

    Oh, you mean dickhead and disgraced FtB blogger kicked off the network for threatening to beat the shit out of FtB blogger/Skepticon founder/Patheos blogger J T Eberhard.

  9. Kagehi says

    Sadly, one politician who recently abandoned the Republicans stated it thus – “If Trump somehow ends up as the primary choice for the remainders of the Republican party and the BS ‘No Label’ ‘centrists’ manage to put up a candidate that is viable, there is a good chance that the only people that will vote for that candidate will be Democrats that refuse to vote Biden, and Republicans that refuse to vote Trump, and Trump will win by the simple fact that he seems to still have vast support among right wing voters. If ‘No Label’ fails, we better hope everyone votes Biden, because Trump has flat out stated that if he is reelected he will try to 1) suspend the constitution, 2) rewrite it, 3) end the judicial branch, and the courts, 4) invest all power in the executive (i.e. himself), and he has stated in no uncertain terms that he admired not just dictators, but dictators that have even crushed their own families in order to take all of their wealth, which means that since his ego won’t let him be anything less that the richest man in the world, the next victims, after the constitution and anyone/everyone that ever apposed him, will be all the rich billionaires that are stupid enough to think he is ‘one of them’.”

    The perhaps only positive out of that mess, if it happened, would be that are architects of all this dark money crap that put us in this position will find themselves out on their asses, and idiots like Musk, et al, who think they are smart and deserve to rule, will never see it coming. But, its a shit prize for failing to stop the rise of the next fascist.

  10. wzrd1 says

    Kagehi @ 11, no the real billionaires would defend themselves militarily. Using everything in the arsenal, up to and including thermonuclear weapons.
    Or did you forget, the US isn’t the singular armed nation?

    More probable is, he’d become a problem and one of the US’s random shootings would occur.
    Or his stimulant supply could be tampered with.

    But, it’s unlikely to get that far. The US has a lot of bodies buried, so national security and protection of documentation is critical to maintaining stability. That trial is just sitting on the launch pad and readying to take off rapidly, with an excuse of Trump’s antisocial media postings to accelerate it. His fraud charges, to initially discredit him.
    And a turn key away, a sedition charge, just awaiting “discovery” during a trial.
    But then, I’ve lived a life within the IC’s realm, I know how that game gets played and they always play for keeps.

    Something OT, to decompress. Went to the stores today, since it’s a bit of a walk, I go to multiple stores. At a dollar store, I grabbed a rolling pin, as I’ll need it to roll a pie crust for some pumpkin pie.
    Entertaining, the rolling pin was on special, buy one, get one half off.
    Rolling pins are like guns, takes two hands to properly operate, so whatinhell is one to do with a pair of rolling pins?
    A home center and a wooden dowel would’ve worked just as well, used both in my day.
    Still, did like I do with firearms, get one, pair of hands to operate, only two hands issued, enough said. I’ll get more usage out of the rolling pin.
    Such as making puff pastry and some stew… Used to make great salad bowls full of ’em, to much effect.

    We’ll now return to our Machiavelli 101 class…

  11. Kagehi says

    Yeah, I am a bit more hopeful than said Republican, most days, then I remember that the whole party was taken over by MAGA and a lot of the rich are actually idiots pretending to be smart. lol Still, I am kind of getting fed up with the whole, “Lets wait until Judge Cannon actually does something actionable, while she meanwhile signals that she intends to delay things until after Trump gets a chance to be reelected.” Enough is enough. At some point aiding an abetting Trump should have the same charges applied as he is already accused of imho.