Did I watch the Dem debate? Uh, no ... Posted by: McQ
on Monday, June 04, 2007
Will I watch the Republican debate? No.
Look, it's 520 days until the election and they're not saying anything now they won't be saying a year from now. This is all about sound bites and posturing, from John Edwards who voted for the war trying to take the mantle of lead 'anti-war' candidate to Bill Richardson repeatedly shouting "I was there" to remind others of his foreign policy credentials.
Big surprise ... they're all against the war. Bigger surprise, they're all against "don't ask, don't tell".
And you got your usual nonsensical statements from marginal candidates like this:
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who served in the Senate during the Vietnam War, said anyone who voted to authorize the invasion should not be president.
"We have killed more Americans than was done on the 11th of September," Gravel said. "More Americans died because of their decision. That disqualifies them for president."
I wonder if Vietnam Vet Gravel remembers April and May of 1968 when we had combat losses in VN which totaled 3,579, more than we've lost in the entire war in Iraq. But perspective wasn't the name of the game last night, and never is in these "debates".
And then there was this:
Moderator Wolf Blitzer asked the Democratic Presidential candidates to raise their hands if they would support boycotting the 2008 Beijing Olympics if China does not assist in dealing with the genocide in Darfur. Governor Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico and Fmr. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, were the only candidates to raise their hands to show their support for a boycott.
Gov. Richardson, who traveled to Darfur to rescue a journalist from New Mexico in January, was the first to mention the idea of a boycott. Richardson said, “We need China, which has enormous leverage over Darfur. If the Chinese don’t want to do this, we say to them, maybe we won’t go to the Olympics.”
And this from a guy touting his foreign policy experience. I can't imagine a dumber or more damaging approach to China than that.
The obvious purpose of these very early debates is posturing for the top candidates and for second tier candidates, the hope they'll "break out" of that tier.
Who won? Well there are various opinions about that. For instance, Donna Brazille:
Former North Carolina Senator Edwards looked “smart” and Delaware Senator Joseph Biden “was on fire.” Brazile said Biden’s passionate answers distinguished him from the pack. And Brazile thought Senator Edwards was the best prepared of all the candidates.
Bill Schneider, James Carville and JC Watts kept a score card (here). Unsurprisingly, Carville thought Clinton one, Schneider split between Obama and Edwards, and Watts picked Clinton with the caveat that she did nothing to hurt her front-runner status.
Nor will she. She will run the most careful and carefully planned campaign in the history of presidential campaigns. Interestingly Schneider, Carville and Watts felt Biden was the most informed on the issues and that Richardson was the most disappointing.
The winner was Hillary, because Obama was lame and Edwards didn't break through. She got the debate every front-runner wants: One is which nothing happens.
But you're right about Biden giving the best performance.
So the consensus seems to be that Hillary stayed the front runner, Richardson hurt himself, Biden helped himself and the rest ... well they were there. Not that consensus at this point in the process means a whole bunch.
Oh, and who got the most time on air (probably as critical as anything in this sort of appearance)?
Senator Barack Obama took the lead, with 16 minutes; Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton came in next at 14:26; CNN’s Wolf Blitzer came in third, with 13:24 (but part of that surely is due to the fact that he had to repeat some other journalists’ questions because of sound problems); and Senator John Edwards came in fourth at 11:42 minutes.
As for Senator Dodd, he actually bested Senator Joe Biden, 8:28 to 7:58 minutes….
“Folks, being commander-in-chief requires you to occasionally be practical.” — Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware
Something, of course, presidential candidates never have to be.
If you didn't see the debate either, here's the transcript. I suggest a very strong cup of coffee before reading.
The only excitement of the night? Eric Alterman managed to get himself arrested:
Columnist and author Eric Alterman has been released after being arrested Sunday night inside the debate spin room. He was charged with criminal trespass after police say he refused repeated orders to leave.
Gov. Richardson, who traveled to Darfur to rescue a journalist from New Mexico in January, was the first to mention the idea of a boycott. Richardson said, "We need China, which has enormous leverage over Darfur. If the Chinese don’t want to do this, we say to them, maybe we won’t go to the Olympics
And this from a guy touting his foreign policy experience. I can’t imagine a dumber or more damaging approach to China than that.
Richardson’s stupidity on this issue is only eclipsed by his reputation here in New Mexico as a crook who will do anything to advance himself. As a Mayor of Rio Rancho said of Richardson, "He’s the meanest SOB I’ve ever met"
If the 65 nations that boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics had participated but had substituted the Olympic hymn and the five-ringed Olympic flag for their own national anthem and flag at the opening, closing, and medal-awarding ceremonies, the Soviets would’ve been deeply embarrassed every time three Olympic flags were hoisted for a medal-awarding ceremony, and the many athletes who weren’t allowed to compete in Moscow wouldn’t have been unduly deprived of their opportunity to do so. We might consider a similar campaign for Beijing.