Friday, November 16, 2007

Presidential Debate #12,304,501 of the 2007-2008 Election Cycle

Ok, so even I’m getting tired of these “debates”. So I confess ahead of time that I didn’t watch more than 25% of the thing. That being said, I have several comments:

1. Wolf Blitzer is a nobby toad who should be immediately fired. He spent the entire night feeling self-important and trying to force candidates into unfavorable positions with yes/no or either/or false questions.

2. The candidates should have beat back on Blitzer more. He’s more or less universally considered a nob. There’s no downside on a Blitzer beat down.

3. The non-big 3 (Dodd, Kucinich, Biden, and Richardson) need to immediately go away. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I’ll address each:

- Dodd – I like your bulldog style. You can be the next Sec of Education or something. But you’ll never be president. You’re wasting my time.
- Kucinich – I like that you believe in ETs and conspiracies. You can be the next Sec of the Interior. You know, some out of the way, barely in public view type of job. You are embarrassing.
- Biden – I love how you just say stuff without care. But really, what they hell are you doing? You’re not in line for any position aside from Senator (D-Delware). So please stop now while I still like you.
- Richardson – Look, just own up to the fact that you’re just not that good a politician. You stink in these debates and you come off looking bloated. I hear you’re a great diplomat. You get Sec State.

(From here on, any reference to “candidates” will only refer to the big 3. Unless specifically mentioned, I will now ignore the irrelevant tier.)

4. I didn’t think anyone made any particularly strong inroads on any topic. Some commentators think this means Hillary won. I don’t know. She’s better at these events than Obama but I thought she exposed serious weakness by saying she wouldn’t increase taxes on the top 6% of Americans to pay for social security. Nothing like standing up for the wealthy from a Democrat. I thought Obama skewered her on that and she came across as a petty, scolding schoolmarm in her response (by correcting Obama when he misspoke and said “tax reduction” instead of “tax increase”).

Generally, I think Hillary is coming across as increasingly sour and unpleasant. And personality matters in politics. People forgave Bill for his “transgressions” because they had a vision of laughing it up with him in private. They liked him. People also liked (like?) Bush and even if he does a crapilicious job, history has shown the public still votes for likeable characters. To me, Hillary is increasingly unlikeable. I can’t imagine having an engaging conversation with her while I can envision that with Obama or Edwards. Maybe my impression is incorrect. But this is what she is putting off in my eyes.

5. Obama and Edwards need to skewer Hillary on her Iran vote. CNN (i.e. Clinton supporter Carville – so much for journalism ethics) was saying that it won’t hurt her much unless Bush takes military action against Iran. He’s wrong.

The entire Democrat defense of voting for the Iraq war authorization bill was that “it didn’t authorize force” and that they expected that Bush would ask for further congressional authorization. He didn’t. The defense of the Iran vote is that “it doesn’t authorize force” and that Bush would have to seek a second resolution. Only an idiot would think that Big Tex would keep his word this time around when he didn’t last time meaning that only an idiot would vote for that bill. Hillary voted for it. Do the math.

The perfect moment to skewer Hillary came when she talked about how she’s always built bridges and worked in the spirit of bipartisanship. Obama should have stepped forward and said that bipartisanship is not always a good idea and cited her votes for Iraq and Iran military action as exhibits A and B. Her desire to seek “compromise” directly contributed to the greatest foreign policy disaster in 40 years. That’s not the mark of leadership – it’s the mark of cowing under pressure.

These votes authorizing the President to seek military solutions to our MidEast problems are the defining moments of Hillary’s Senate tenure and shouldn’t be allowed to go away. Obama has built his campaign on being a principled man who won’t bend in the face of GOP nuttery. He has to contrast that by showing that Hillary is either a) an idiot for making the exact same mistake she made with Iraq by voting for the Iran bill or b) someone who caves under the pressure from the Bush admin and GOP freaknuts.

Let me recap to make this a bit clearer.

Obama et. al. attacked Hillary for voting for the Iraq War.

Team Hillary responded by saying it wasn’t a mistake but had she known then what she knows now, she wouldn’t have voted in favor.

The others responded with, “she won’t admit making a mistake and Iran!”

Hillary says “it wasn’t a mistake and the Iran vote didn’t authorize war.”

The others: ….uh…..

Now is the time to strike back. Hillary’s Iran vote proves that she learned nothing from her Iraq vote and indicts the central premise of her campaign – that she’s experienced enough to lead and that she learns by doing. Voting for a law that President Bush would definitely use to launch a war against Iran if he gets his gumption up is the best argument that Hillary isn’t the choice.



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