Monday, July 23, 2007

"This is a ridiculous exercise." and other thoughts on tonight's debate

You're looking live at The Citadel, South Carolina, for the first "official" debate of the Democratic Presidential cycle (although I don't imagine this one will be any more important that the previous million debates). This is the You Tube debate, where the questions have been submitted by You Tube users via Internet video.

I'm highly skeptical of the format. Hopefully, CNN will choose questions that deal with important issues, not trivial ones. And hopefully the questioners won't be total goofballs. And how should the candidates respond. Do they thank Hotguy69 for his question? Do they look into the monitor to respond?

I think the candidates have a very high chance of looking incredibly foolish. I hope it doesn't turn out that way, but I fear that the whole thing will be gimmicky and diminish all of the candidates. If it had been up to me, I'd have chosen the questions in advance, and them brought the questioners to the debate to ask the questions live, not using video at all. Maybe that's how they'll do it. I guess we'll see...
  • OK, this is already goofy. They're all looking up at some goofball in a hat using his fingers to do quotation marks while he lectures the candidates to answer the questions asked. He is condescending.
  • And apparently Biden tried to stuff the box, busted...
  • Anderson Cooper is tumbling so often, I wonder if he's been drinking.
  • See, this guy from Utah might have a great question, maybe not, but the giggling girl in the background and the "Oh, I'm running out of tape!" makes the whole thing seem like a joke.
  • Dodd talks like a senator. I can't get past that to hear his answer. I guess that's my fault, but I can't get into him at all.
  • At least this is fairly fast paced...Kucinich standing up for his anti-war "strength through peace" message at The Citadel. Good for him for not standing down.
  • Michelle: Hillary's make-up looks awful. I agree. She looks really pale, almost unhealthy. She did make sure to note the questioner's name, however.
  • Rob Porter is a smarmy ass. Hillary, are you a liberal? She prefers the word "progressive" and considers herself a "modern progressive." I suppose.
  • Gravel whacking Obama for his contributors and their bundling.
  • If you had to pick a GOP running mate, who would it be, Joe Biden? Chuck Hagel, Dick Lugar. Edwards? Hagel, but let's not talk about that, let's talk about change. Takes a nice whack at Bill Clinton's "triangulation" strategy.
  • Chris Dodd, with a funny video about white hair and rabbits. Not bad.
  • Will, just ask the question! Reparations for slavery? No dipping and dodging (although dippin dots night be tasty). Edwards...No. but let me talk about something else. Power to the people.
  • Obama doesn't answer the question at all, but says we need more money for poor minority schools in "The Corridor of Shame." Sounds like someplace David Vitter has visited, maybe he could help.
  • Kucinich is for reparations, and the bible.
  • Another question for Dodd, apparently all of his grumbling about face time in the earlier debates has paid off. Speaking of which, I wonder if Richardson will get to say anything tonight. Oh, there he is...And he fumbled the answer, saying we need to remove the red tape that helps people rebuild.
  • I think Obama is saying that he's black enough to not get a cab in Manhattan? Maybe? He kind of muffed what could have been a good line. It sounds like he and Clinton are going to get most of the questions again. Clinton with a much better answer, talking about how she doesn't have any choice but to run as a woman and she's proud of it. Obama should take these questions head on.
  • Edwards is patronizing Obama and Clinton. Yuck. Stick to the question. He says will be a better advocate for women because of his stance on economic issues. Clinton trying to keep up, but Edwards has set the bar on this issue, and Clinton is trying to meet his standard. I think he wins.
  • Why do they make gay people look stupid? I suppose they did the video themselves, but if there were so many questions about the topic, why get the one that has goofy people asking it.
  • Kucinich yes, Dodd no. Richardson, no, because it can't be achievable. I like that honest answer. Essentially, he's saying that the country will only go so far, but that we should push them as far as they will go, making gay relationships as close to traditional marriage in the eyes of the law as is possible.
  • Edwards, why is it OK to use religion to deny gay marriage, when it was wrong to use religion to uphold slavery? Great question. What a fantastic question. And Edwards does not answer it. He's boxing it around. "I don't believe gay marriage is right, but I wouldn't use my religion to affect my decision as president" or something like that. I'm so confused. He's not making any sense.
  • That Clinton campaign video is awful. Show me something about you, not a list of what is wrong with the current administration. We already know that. At least Dodd put some thought into his video. This was clearly thrown together at the last minute by some intern with something better to do.
  • That is absolutely fantastic! Wow! Edwards hit's a home run with that video. I love it.
  • Richardson gets a question right in his wheelhouse about Darfur, and he's taking a good swing. Talking about his experience at the refugee camps in Darfur, and how he'd do it. It's the first time he's sounded passionate in any of the debates. He needs to do more of this.
  • Biden trying to go one step farther and putting American troops on the ground. Clinton trying to say no to US troops without explicitly saying no. Anderson Cooper pins him down.
  • Are we watching the same blanking war? How do we pull out now? He asks us four times. Did the questioners have to use all 30 seconds? If you can ask the question in 10 seconds, then turn off the cameras. Biden says he's the only one telling the truth here, that it will take at least a year to pull out the troops.
  • Another good question. Are Democrats afraid to end the war because they don't want to be blamed for losing? Clinton says we've been trying, but the Republicans are blocking them. Kucinich says "the Democrats have failed" on Iraq.
  • Dodd talks in big senatorial words "nation-state", "sexual orientation".
  • Richardson: "The lives of our young troops are more important than George Bush's legacy." He'd pull them out with no residual force.
  • Gravel says yes, in fact, the soldiers in Vietnam and Iraq are dying in vain. Obama says that no, I don't want to answer the question, so I 'm going to tweak Clinton for asking about withdrawal four years after she should have asked.
  • Should women register for selective service? Dodd appears exasperated that the question was given to him, and sighs audibly. He does, but since he's against the draft, it doesn't really matter. Clinton says the same thing, but she seems more secure with her answer. Both of them talk about public service on the same level as military service. Kind of reinforces for some people the idea that Democrats don't quite hold the military in the highest regard.
  • God Bless America! Can Obama answer even one question directly? The question isn't about the Tuskegee airmen, it's about women in selective service. And when he does finally get to it, he smushes it saying something about maybe not in combat roles. Just a bit chauvinistic, eh Barack?
  • Would you meet with despotic leaders with no reservations? Obama, yes. He's been getting an awful lot of face time tonight. Hillary, no. She falls into his trap, by suggesting what conditions might exist in order to meet. Edwards agrees with Hillary. I don't. We shouldn't worry about whether someone else will use us for propaganda. We're the most powerful nation in the world.
  • A good tussle on Iraq. Richardson will pull out all forces in six months. Biden says it's not possible. At least a year, and we've got to keep a residual force to protect the civilians remaining. Clinton agrees with Biden.
  • As an aside, Hillary "hopes to goodness" that the questioner's youngest son doesn't die in Iraq. It's OK to say "God" Hillary, especially in this context. Again, she's reinforcing anti-Democratic stereotypes.
  • Richardson just recycles one of his campaign commercials, instead of coming up with a new video. Funny ad, but kind of weak.
  • Who was your favorite teacher, Mike Gravel? The guy who taught me to speak. Too bad you don't let me use that skill, Anderson!
  • This question from Trona, California is stupid. Or the presentation is, at least. For what it's worth, I've been through Trona, CA on the way out of Death Valley, and let me tell you, it might be the most desolate, god-forsaken place in America. Richardson is winning over the crowd with a passionate answer on No Child Left Behind. It always helps to have the crowd cheering in the background.
  • Public or Private School for your kids? Good question, but I wish they would follow that up by asking each candidate why they made that choice.
  • Anne works for Planned Parenthood and wants to know if the candidates have talked to their children about sex using medically-appropriate terminology. Talk about throwing a bomb! Let's see who squirms and who doesn't...Edwards is stammering and staggering. Yes. And off to Obama for comment on the Romney criticism.
  • See, this is what I don't like. I don't want to hear an Amos and Andy skit, I want to hear questions. And what the hell is with the snowman? I'm sorry, but that's not funny, it's embarrassing. Not that I think any of these guys (and gal) should be "above" this kind of stuff but they're running for President of the United States, not the senior class.
  • What the hell? Gravel says we're going to save money on energy by changing the tax structure? Speaking of taxes, Dodd at least has the nuts to say he'd raise taxes on corporations that add to pollution.
  • Nuclear power? Edwards no, we should be looking at cellulose-based biofuels. Obama yes, we should look at it "as part of the mix." Nothing with Obama is ever yes or no, it's always yes,, but. Clinton is "agnostic about nuclear power." Thank goodness.
  • Richardson is in favor of optical scan balloting across the nation. I have voted with them a number of times here in Massachusetts and I completely agree. It's the only way to go.
  • Biden also recycles a campaign commercial for his "You Tube style video." Meh.
  • Who is Kucinich texting P-E-A-C-E to?
  • Raising the Social Security tax threshold is "an option on the table," according to Obama. Everything is "an option on the table," nothing is yes or no, just "an option on the table. What do you stand for.
  • The problem with the question from the guitar guy (besides the fact that having a guy sing a question is stupid) is that all of the taxes he complains about are local taxes, not federal taxes. It sounds like he needs to take it up with his city council and state legislature. These candidates can't help.
  • And now I'm just about totally offended. Here are a series of questions where the questioners are exploiting the infirm and disabled to make their points. I am against human props. This is becoming uncomfortable. If I were the Republicans, I'd cancel the You Tube debate in September before the sun rises tomorrow.
  • Dodd is getting frustrated about the format, and the fact that Obama and Clinton seem to get to respond to every question.
  • Richardson will probably take some heat for a semantic flub in his answer about health care for undocumented workers. In an effort to explain that everyone should get health care (including undocumented workers) regardless of their status, he said "every American deserves the right to quality health care." He could get hammered by the far right for suggesting that undocumented workers are Americans, if the far right cares at all about Richardson's candidacy.
  • I think the question about a Clinton-Bush dynasty is a good one. It is one of the reasons that I am hesitant to vote for her. I don't think it's healthy for us to have the same political machines in Washington year after year. Think about it, anyone who began working in politics in the last 27 years has worked either with a Bush or Clinton in the White House. That would be almost everyone.
  • I think Clinton would have the quarter say "In Goodness we Trust," based on her answers tonight.
  • Edwards says he won't impose his faith beliefs (seems redundant) on policy decisions. I think that's a little bit disingenuous. One's beliefs always influence their decisions.
  • Wow. Biden just called that gun nut a gun nut. I'll bet that will get a lot of press tomorrow. Nice of him to say what he thinks.
  • Dodd loves Elizabeth Edwards. And Edwards doesn't like Clinton's coat. I'm glad someone said it. This is a stupid question. Biden tells the truth "This is a ridiculous exercise." I agree.
  • Anderson makes a funny. Can't find anyone left of Kucinich. Pretty good.
That's it. This was a stupid format. Even so, there were a few really good questions. If they had gotten rid of the silly crap and asked more good questions, and it could have been a pretty good idea.

Winners: I thought this was Richardson's best debate, even though he stumbled a bit, he was much more passionate and less wonky than he had been previously. He seemed to connect with the audience for the first time. I also thought Biden did well. He spoke honestly and could barely hold his contempt for the format and some of the questioners. I'll bet there were a number of viewers (like me) who felt the same way. Edwards was OK too.

Losers: I though Obama was awful. He just cannot give a straight answer. I didn't think Clinton was as good as she has been (I thought she won the last two debates).

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment


No Drumlins Copyright © 2009 Premium Blogger Dashboard Designed by SAER