...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, September 05, 2003
      ( 12:48 PM )
Mama's Debate Coverage

There is a lot of post-debate debriefing going on everywhere. So probably most people are tired of it already. But of course I have to give my 2 cents! All in all, I thought it was a good forum. I liked Bill Richardson's opening speech and the fact that it was bilingual. I think the attempts at spanish were nice in intention, but not sure if that really impressed Latinos. Just checked: nope, didn't impress them. The best looking and most well-spoken one there was Ray Suarez. I've always been a HUGE fan of Ray's and I really respect him. I hope he will return to host more debates.

Gephardt came across very strong...but sort of belatedly angry. I find it difficult to be wooed by the new found fire when it's only covering up the fact that he stood side by side with Bush on the war and the Patriot Act...and he was never a true motivator for the Dems to be an effective opposition party. I think his time has passed, but it was good to see his clear energy. Kerry did not look well. I don't know if he is again battling health problems because of the schedule he has to keep for the campaign. Perhaps a haircut would not make him look so thin and gaunt. He too is backpeddaling his original positions - I could vote for him if he were elected candidate, but I'm not sure that he truly appeals to a very broad audience. Edwards - good lookin' kid. And I emphasize kid. He just looked so young. He has good ideas, and in fact last year this time I was really liking him - but he has too many DLC positions and he is too fresh. I think he can do some good in Congress if he keeps voting the way he has been, but I don't think he will pull out enough support to be the candidate without a huge surge. I LOVE Carol Mosley Braun. She is not only beautiful, well-spoken and graceful, she is incredibly smart and has intelligent and reasonable positions. I noticed several of the other candidates repeating some of her ideas. I've always liked watching her in these forums - I'm glad she's sticking around to add a much needed viewpoint and tenor to the scene. I missed Al Sharpton. I felt that Bob Graham phoned it in. He appears weary and not very convicted of his positions, but he is very appealing in what he DOES have to say - just not in the way he says it.

Dean maintained. I think that's pretty much all he needed to do. He is much more deliberate and thoughtful in these forum/debate settings than he is when he's at rousing stump speeches, which I think is fine -- as long as voters get to see both sides. He seemed bemused at times at what some of the other candidates were saying, which made it seem to me like he was really trying to figure out where they were coming from. I'm reading around the blogosphere that he seemed stiff and nervous. But I didn't get that feeling at all - mostly that he was trying to think through what he said. I was surprised by the "bring them back now" line about the troops - but I think he meant the ones who are there now in the context of replacing them with international troops. He has repeated over and over that he believes we're in Iraq for the long-haul, so I don't think he was changing his position on that.

I also think that he needs to be very positive and forceful about his plan for the tax cuts. People say that it is bad to reverse them, but I disagree with Lieberman that middle class people are getting "thousands" back - that's simply not true. And the reality is, we can't balance the budget or return to an economy and chance for rebuilding our infrastructure and healthcare system without returning to the previous tax levels. I would go for more taxes on the higher incomes, though...but that could be deadly as a platform. Overall, I don't think he was harmed by the debate, and in fact may have been helped some by Lieberman's cheap shots.

And finally, old Joe. Someone in one of the comments on DKos, said "He's dead to me now. DEAD." I had to laugh. It really felt like last night was the final blow. I just can't take him. I don't see realistically how he could end up as the candidate, so I'm not all that worried about the horrible choice of having to vote for him. Frankly, and this is really why I can't stand him (despite the fact that he seems to have landed in the wrong party) - how could you listen to that voice for four years? Aack.

At any rate, I thought the overall tenor of the evening was good - it re-enforced the whole attitude that the Democrat party is out to win and these candidates are definitely united in wanting Bush out. They each had somewhat of a chance to outline their thoughts and ideas and plans. The questions were good for a forum like this, which was mainly an "Introduction to the Candidates 101" sort of thing. Lieberman's attacks were not only in bad taste but were ill-informed since he did not state truly what Dean's position was. So all in all, a good start to the "debate" season. They will continue to be forums like this for a while. I will look forward to when there are fewer candidates and some really indepth debating can take place.

One thing is for sure, any ONE of those candidates could smash Bush like a bug in a debate. And that is one thing I think we can all agree on.

UPDATE: Oops, how could I forget: Kucinich! Of course I agree with most of his positions, except that I don't believe his NAFTA position is realistic. But for the most part, I'm glad he's there to keep the left issues on the table, even though his personality can be a little grating.

| -- permanent link