Monday, June 04, 2007

Firing the First Salvos

After as uneventful South Carolina debate where essentially nothing surprising was said, the candidates came out ablazing last night. Some impressions:

Joe Biden: I wish his candidacy could gain more traction. He spoke with passion about Darfur, and gave a laudable defense of his vote in favor of the democrat's capitulation funding bill.

Bill Richardson: Is it me? or is he by far the most annoying of candidates? He constantly went over on time; rudely dismissing Wolf Blitzer's pleas for him to move on; began every response with "as the governer of New Mexico." Okay, Bill; we get it. You were the governer of New Mexico (which you said in your intro), and you did some good things while governing one of the most irrelevant states in the union. Now stop lying about being drafted by MLB teams, stop opining about things you have no clue about (favorite SCOTUS justices), and stop pandering to the NRA. Most importantly, stop running for President.

John Edwards: Gained points in my book for attacking Barack & Hillary for not showing leadership in casting their votes, and sticking by his assertion that the "War on Terror" is nothing but a political slogan.

Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel: Why are they still being invited to these things?

Dennis Kucinich: Gotta love the guy, but has no shot at the presidency. His answer to the Bin Laden hypothetical is not what America wants to hear. But he did come tantalizingly close to requesting that GWB be hauled in front of an international criminal court.

Hillary Clinton: Deftly played the role of front runner; said nothing controversial. All in all, an expected satisfactory performance from a candidate facing increasing mounting challenges.

Barack Obama: Did not like his stab at John Edwards for coming on to the anti-war bandwagon four and a half years too late, but did immensely like his rebuke of Wolf's question on whether English should be the official language. It's obvious that the moderators will ask questions like that to divide, but he handled that like a President. Barack also drilled that hanging curveball left by Kucinich's pacifist response to the Bin Laden question. I think Barack needs to work on his staccato delivery of responses. It might behoove him to not begin every response with "look, we all.."

Comments from other dudes?


Head Dude said...

Biden showed again why he'd make a terrific VP, or Secretary of State (as he might have been under Kerry). But he's too much of a windbagger to be a presidential candidate -- his chance was 20 years ago, before he plagiarized his way out of frontrunner status. One of my law professors was his chief of staff for 20 years, so we got to meet him at the Capital in 2002 and he's a very charismatic guy in person and very impressive. Again though, probably an ideal VP for Clinton or Obama.

I just can't stand Edwards. I'm reading Bob Shrum's autobiography and he tells a repulsive story -- when Kerry was down to Gephardt or Edwards for his VP pick, he had a heart-to-heart with Edwards, who told him (roughly) -- he'd never told anyone this before, but when his son Wade died, Edwards laid down on the slab in the funeral home with Wade and made a vow to him always to carry out Wade's values to make the world a better place. The problem? Edwards had told that exact same story, with the exact some "I've never told this to anyone" intro two years earlier. That's just wrong.

I agree with you completely on Hilary and Richardson -- get him and his governor bragadacio off the stage, along with Dodd, Gravel, and Kucinich.

I'm still dreaming of the Gore-Obama ticket...

The Dude said...

But Bob Shrum doesn't exactly carry the day either when it comes to political credibility and gravitas, considering his track record in presidential elections. I saw his interview on Meet the Press and was less than impressed. Is John Edwards is a flawed candidate? Of course... But there isn't a candidate without flaws - all you need to do is watch the republicans tonight (which I won't be doing), and you'll see many flawed individuals waxing nostalgia about traditional values.

Head Dude said...

Actually, as to Shrum he's very candid in his memoirs in acknowledging his own shortcomings and mistakes, and the reality is his track record in presidential races is more myth than anything -- I think he can take a lot of blame for Kerry, and some for Gore, but in the other contests he was backing Democratic underdogs in primaries where they wouldn't have won with or without him.

But I just can't get away from thinking Edwards is a bit too greasy, and that story only drove it home. Sure, Bill was/is too, but he's a political genius so he stays popular. I saw Edwards speak at a Dallas Bar event a few months ago, and after hearing how great he supposedly is in person, I was pretty disappointed.

The Dude said...

Why the heck is one of our google ads inviting us to join Rudy Giuliani's campaign??? Our blog should not be hijacked!

The Franchise said...

I second Head Dude's dream of a Gore-Obama ticket. And after watching parts of both debates, I'd say the opportunity is there for Al to win if he wants it...

Head Dude said...

At least a few of the Republican also-rans had the guts to criticize Bush. Of course the same can't be said for Giuliani, Romney, and McCain. And I can't stand Brownback and his constant sneer and creationism silliness. You can boil the Republicans down to this -- a bunch of middle-aged white men eager to mention Ronald, talk tough on terror, bash gays and abortions, and extol the virtue of guns. Except Ron Paul -- he's a renegade!

The Dude said...

John McCain is middle-aged?