I'm including this write-up because it amuses me and it's political. Politics is mostly what this blog is about. I've ALWAYS (and I'm talking since 6th grade here) thought that it was highly unusual for America (once the greatest nation in the world) to decide upon it's all-important leadership by watching a televised debate. Other than smoothness is a combative verbal situation, it proves nothing and allows the truly arrogant to hide behind debate oriented rhetoric. Let's face it "Boobus Americanus," it is a grand spectacle of a dog-and-pony show where the only losers are the ignorant and uninformed voters. And it's a truly silly way to quantify a presidential candidate.
Democrat Debate Bared a Lot More Than You Think:
By Kevin Hassett
April 30 (Bloomberg) -- When eight Democratic candidates for president debated last week in Orangeburg, South Carolina, they took sides on almost nothing yet agreed unanimously that the U.S. should get out of Iraq. That was about it.
If you want a Hollywood analogy, think of that scene in the movie ``Airplane'' where everyone takes turns slapping a hysterical passenger. Then let that passenger be President George W. Bush.
If it's economic substance you were looking for, you went to the wrong place. John Edwards extolled the wonders of his health-care plan. Senator Barack Obama pretended impressively to have one (which he does not). New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson mumbled something about the minimum wage.
Still, even with the wriggling and evading, the debate told us a lot about the Democratic campaign.
Before the debate, everyone knew that the Democratic field has three tiers. The first tier (the Frontrunners) includes Senator Hillary Clinton and Obama; the second (the Challengers) includes Edwards and Richardson, and the third tier (the Impossibles) includes Senators Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel.
We know a lot more now. How did each of them do?
Mike Gravel: If more viewers than usual stayed to watch through the end of the debate, there is no question that Gravel was the reason. He was angry, combative and unbalanced, at one point breaking the all-time presidential-debate creepiness record by screaming to Obama that he should tell us who he intends to nuke. Obama missed a golden opportunity to score with viewers when he evaded the question, rather than giving them the answer they craved: ``France.'' (Grade: F)
Dennis Kucinich: I have a theory about Kucinich. I think the other candidates should pool their money and finance his candidacy, because anyone, man or beast, standing next to Kucinich on stage will appear presidential by comparison. Kucinich's problem, however, is that Gravel came out of nowhere to steal his place as the strangest candidate. The train-wreck- loving crowd will clearly give their money to Gravel, and you should expect Kucinich to be gone from the field within six months. (Grade: F)
Joe Biden: Biden gave the shortest and best answer of the night. When asked whether he could be disciplined enough to control his legendary verbosity, he answered with one word, ``yes.'' He made it through the debate without a gaffe, a first for him, but otherwise failed to distinguish himself. (Grade: C)
The Nuremberg Factor
Christopher Dodd: Dodd reminded voters of the wonderful job his father did serving as a counsel at the Nuremberg trials. On that he scored enormous points with everyone who watched the Nuremberg trials. He will be gone before Kucinich. (Grade: D)
Bill Richardson: It seems that every primary season some governor comes out of nowhere to steal the nomination. Richardson showed in this debate that it might well happen again. He was genuine and tough, the kind of guy who could pull the troops out of Iraq without looking wimpy. If he has a couple of more debates this good, money will start flowing his way. (Grade: A+)
John Edwards: Edwards deserves credit for being the most substantive candidate. He discussed his proposals to provide universal health care and raise taxes with details the others lacked. He talked about his efforts to unionize workers, and otherwise harm the economy, showing clear affinity for his base.
About Those Haircuts, Senator
He seemed completely unprepared, however, for a question about his $400 haircuts. He responded to that by talking about how poor he was when he was growing up, pointing to his dad in the audience. Telling America how terrible a provider your dad was, while he is watching, is something you might expect from Gravel or Kucinich, but a real loser for a major candidate. (Grade: C-)
Barack Obama: Obama was as jittery as an aged Katharine Hepburn, and gave away the natural advantage of his tremendous intellect by failing to provide any specifics. He shied away from engaging frontrunner Clinton and appeared timid and uninformed. His candidacy can't afford another appearance this bad. (Grade: F)
Hillary Clinton: We learned in this debate that Clinton has a tremendous advantage. The other candidates are shy of confronting her, either because they think she is the presumptive nominee, or because they don't want to appear to be bullying a woman. She showed genuine emotion when discussing her trip to Columbine High School, scene of the 1999 massacre, and impressive humility concerning her own failings. (Grade: A)
If the Democratic primaries continue along the path they began last week, then Richardson is the only thing between Clinton and coronation.