Thursday, April 26, 2007

The So-called Debate

The format stank, not allowing enough time -- or interaction or follow-ups -- to really get into anything. The host was awful. Bryan kept spouting off Republican talking points as if they were truths, and no one did enough to call him on that BS. They better learn to do that before they face real Republicans.

With this mess, you couldn't really get a winner or a loser. Who hurt themself most? Biden. His temper tantrum against Kucinich and Gravel was the only time he really got passionate about anything, and it was to denounce those awful unrealistic believers that America should not make aggressive war. Of course not, that would tie his hands as President. The chance to play international war games with real troops and weapons is what makes him want the power -- and why he always reacts against any restriction on it. It's the same old national insecurity state with Joe, and the two peaceniks managed to provoke him into dropping his smiling mask and revealing his true colors. Bye, bye, Joe -- your quick mouth has done you in again.

Runner-up for damage to himself was Obama. Once again, it was the doves that did it. He tried to go back and do over an answer on responding to a big double terrorist attack. (Bryan somehow imagined we were magically able to prove the perpetrators within hours. Basically this was a revision of the kneecapping question to Mike Dukakis in 1988 about his wife being raped. Foolishly, no one challenged the absurdity of his premise.) Kucinich and Gravel likely provoked Obama's rewording by their points about attacking Iran, and Obama tried to pull a patronizing "experts agree" blanket over his war-hinting generalities -- and Kucinich showed him up on it.

Kucinich and Gravel helped themselves the most, but Kucinich started almost at zero, and Gravel probably in negative territory, so that won't mean much. Worse, they may split some of the votes they stirred up tonight. It is very good for the party that they are in this, because they may be the only way to keep the pressure on the front-runners, about Iraq, Iran, and impeachment. Both of them are way ahead of the other politicians, and a lot closer to where the bulk of Democratic voters are right now. Not that the establishment or the media will let that do them any good for themselves.

Among the contenders with noticeable support going in, probably Richardson did himself the most good. Clinton, Edwards, and Dodd didn't make bad stumbles or big splashes, so didn't do anything directly tonight. Their supporters will cheer, but it was holding just their own. Small chunks of undecided voters may now move to each of them (most to Richardson, Clinton and Edwards -- Dodd started too far back to get anywhere), but there was no super moment for any of them.