Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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The Democratic “Debate”

April 27th, 2007 · No Comments · Politics

It sucked. A load of dull, Bush-centric nonsense that we’re supposed to think is a “debate” of some kind. We get it. You’ll all be running against Bush, rather than one another. Can we just draw straws and hope one of the marginally entertaining candidates gets lucky and wins the Democratic nomination as a result?

Moving on, a few obvious observations:

Of the eight people on stage, half are non-starters. I can’t imagine Kucinich, Gravel, Dodd or Richardson even being seriously considered as running mates for the eventual victor. Still, I guess getting to hang out with Brian Williams is reason enough to at LEAST form an exploratory committee. That dude is one suave mofo.

Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich are clearly bug-fuck crazy. Between Kucinich’s “as President, I will negotiate with anyone, at any time - even sub-national warlords, maniacal despots, theocratic fundamentalists, self-identified multi-national terrorists, Cobra Kai Dojo, the undead and the Sith” platform and Mike “Who the hell is Mike Gravel?” Gravel’s paranoid raving about the military industrial complex, I think I smell the feel-good duo of the early campaign season. Just please don’t vote for them.

Everyone else kept teetering into weird territory - especially near the end - where they’d just bust out with some sort of awkward statement relating to just how willing they’d be to kick Iran’s ass if it seemed appropriate. In a moment of truly bizarre theater, we got Kucinich baiting Obama into blurting out:

“I’m not planning nuke anybody. *pause* Right now.”

You could almost see some weird pre-debate exercise kicking in and forcing him to avoid sounding weak on defense by suggesting that he might SOME DAY plan to nuke someone.

Edwards just imploded here and I have no idea why. He’s effectively bullet-proof at the moment, with massive sympathy support, the ability to lay into current Senators for failing to capitalize on the Democratic take over of the Congress and his status as part of the team everyone WISHES they’d voted for last time around. But tonight he was hesitant, wobbly and just plain off most of the time. He gets tossed a softball about his “moral leader” and it takes him a full ten seconds of DEAD FUCKING SILENCE to come up with the response that he doesn’t have one, then awkwardly half-recovers and mentions Jesus, his sick wife and something about his dad.

I seem to be the only person who thinks Obama is a pretty piss-poor speaker when he’s not stumping off a script. In friendly and/or controlled environments, he’s obviously got talent, but his “ummm”-to-response ratio is atrocious when he’s on the spot. And what the hell was up with having his major, PERSONAL contribution to saving the planet be “working on” switching to compact florescent bulbs? I barely CARE about the issue and I’ve done that much.

Clinton was Clinton. She steamrolled the rest of the group a couple of times - most notably when she opened up her magic box of “I was New York’s Senator on 9/11″ ammunition. The “please don’t let him call on me to follow-up” vibe was palpable from the rest of the candidates.

I actually dug Biden. He’s pragmatic, he’s good on his feet, his statements regarding defense come across as credible, rather than being awkward-bullshit or lunatic pacifism. He’s funny, too. His major hurdle (aside from being a distant fourth behind Clinton, Obama, Edwards and - let’s face it - Gore) is his seemingly uncontrollable need to say stupid, off-color shit at random times. Near the end, he certainly seemed to angle a bit for being Clinton’s potential choice for a running mate, which I think could be a very strong pairing.

So, in order of preference, my current stand is:

Biden
Edwards
Clinton
Obama
All of the crazy people.

I’d probably slot Gore near the top if he were legitimately running at the moment, but that may just be the result of residual affection for the alternate world I occupy in my mind where he won in 2000 and Everything Is Just PERFECT.

The upcoming GOP “Debate” will - almost certainly - be more exciting. I hope Crazy McCain shows up. Mostly Subdued McCain is no fun at all.

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