Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Last Night's Debate

The "truce" of the Nevada debate didn't last, and the gloves came off. This was by far the most contentious debate so far, and the pettiness of the bickering will keep the talking heads entertained for days.
I was disgusted. As Clinton and Obama attacked each other over ever more minor nuance, I wanted to grab them both and say "stop doing the Republicans work for them." If this keeps up, the eventual nominee will go into the general election pre-damaged for the Republican nominee. Yes, the Republicans will attack the Democratic candidate with all manner of slime (it's what they do), and we should be prepared for it, but eating our own doesn't benefit the party or the country.
Here's Josh Marshall's take on it:

It's hard for me to think of much good from this debate. If you view debates like a boxing match, I guess it was lively and perhaps entertaining, in the sense that a good boxing match can be, though the fighting was more intense than well executed. But that's only if you have no investment in the outcome. If you're watching this with a mind to wanting one of these three to be president in 2009, as I do, it wasn't a great thing to watch.

One observation stands out to me from this debate. Hillary can be relentless and like a sledgehammer delivering tendentious but probably effective attacks. But whatever you think of those attacks, Obama isn't very good at defending himself. And that's hard for me to ignore when thinking of him as a general election candidate.

In most of these cases -- such as the Reagan issue -- I think Obama's remarks have been unobjectionable but ambiguous and certainly susceptible to both misunderstanding and intentional misrepresentation. And if you're going to talk like that -- nuance, as we used to say -- be able to defend it when people play with your words. And I don't see it.


It's this type of mud-slinging that leaves so many Americans disgusted with politics, and leads to the lousy government we currently have.

We deserve better.

Added: I agree with Dave Johnson:

Now with that said let me add that our candidates should all be going after Republicans and defending each other. I will strongly support candidates who have an instinct to defend fellow Democrats against Republican attacks, in any race for any office. I will strongly support candidates who make it clear that they understand that the current Republican party has devolved into something unknown in American history, something dangerous and undemocratic and particularly dishonest.


Any of the three Democrats will be an improvement on the current administration, but first we have to win.

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