October, 30th 2007

Democratic debate, round I

– Liz Mair

OK, so first of all, rising health care is a problem in this country. Remember that.

And John Edwards needs to eat less sugar, because that "good evening" intro was wigged-out.

Ooh, and Hillary's a liar about Social Security (actually, I didn't realize she'd said anything much at all on the subject-- I thought she was trying to avoid talking specifics, full stop).

And I love how Hillary has been politicking for 35 years, not a) being a lawyer and b) being a famous wife. Also, apparently, the reason Social Security is going bankrupt is because Republicans overspent on contracts with Halliburton. Who knew? Sadly, it sounds plausible.

I think Hillary is also about to eat Tim Russert's privates, with that grinning while he quotes Jim Webb's to her on Iran. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

And, it's all about "vigorous diplomacy." I wonder, does she also strenuously object?


Chris Dodd has no flies in his hair, so it's a good night so far. And actually, I think apart from saying "Irania" (did I hear that right?) his answer sounded pretty good.

Joe Biden is also sounding relatively sensible tonight... so far.

And Obama just ducked an important question. He doesn't want to define the point at which we might have to take military action against Iran. Looks like someone has been checking out some polling numbers, and doesn't want to sound like a lily-livered pacifist who will let the mullahs take over America.

Oh, look, Hillary doesn't want to define the "red line," which once crossed, would necessitate military action against Iran. My guess is, that's because she'd put the red line rather close to where we are today, but doesn't dare say so given the Democratic base's aversion to the idea of more war in the Middle East.

And wow, she really won't answer the question about the "red line!" Take that, Brian Williams!


John Edwards is making some sense. One doesn't increase pressure to behave on Bush and Cheney by passing a resolution they want passed. But, does anyone care? Maybe, were this coming from Obama, they would, but with Edwards doing so badly these days, my guess is they won't. Oh, but of course, Obama can't talk about this because he missed the damned vote! Bet he regrets that now...

Richardson doesn't look like he needs Alka-Seltzer tonight. He's also annoyed some people by saying that he's the only one who's conducted diplomacy (correct me if I'm wrong, too, but isn't he?). And he's prepared to identify a red line. This is one reason to like Richardson. At least he answers questions, occasionally.

Dennis Kucinich is dissing all the other Dems. It's irrelevant, really, but with luck, someone will get ornery and start a fight. My money is not on it being Obama. Maybe Biden. He looks like he's up for it.

Dennis also seems to have gotten the only applause line I've heard.

What a weak answer from Hillary. She won't stop Iran from getting a bomb, but she'll do everything she can, whatever the hell that means.

Oh, and Edwards will pledge to take all reasonable steps, etc. This sounds like lawyer speak to me. I used to insert "all reasonable endeavors" language into a LOT of loan documents, I can assure you, and it's appropriate there, but pretty lame in the context of political debates where one wants candidates to commit.

Obama's got the nice cuddly patriotic rhetoric going on again, which is great and all, but I have no idea how it relates to Iran.

Biden has reframed the question-- the issue is not keeping Iran from getting the bomb, but rather keeping Americans safe. Good point. I'm not thoroughly convinced Biden can do it, but he's right to point out that Iran isn't the only concern-- Pakistan is a worry, too (and yeah, it is).

Dodd seems to be making a case that he has the best experience to manage foreign policy. Uh, no...


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