Dem Debate #1
I don’t know how the podium standing chart was written for the first debate of Democrat presidential candidates last night, but it seemed almost like a political spectrum, with Bill Richardson at their right and Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel at their left. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were in the middle, with John Edwards to Hillary’s left.
My personal views had me agreeing most often with Kucinich and Gravel, but the important contest was taking place in the middle of the stage. I was most interested in how the middle two would come across to me, and this is my report on my impressions.
I have admitted being turned off by Hillary and turned on by Barach, but last night was a formal opportunity to see them operate side by side. Hillary narrowed my visceral gap. Her calculated answers and deliberate positioning were evident, but they came across as signs of her capability and wisdom. Barack’s charisma and suavity were also present, but they seemed to reveal undertones of posing and pretense.
Hillary’s answers I remember; Barack’s I do not. Each only had about ten minutes of actual air time, but I remember Hillary talking about going to ground zero after 9/11 as a NY Senator, going with the President to Columbine High School after the killings there, and talking about what she learned from her failed attempt to overhaul our health care system. She obviously was center stage material.
But what about the “dynasty thing”; are we ready for a Clinton II? Bill Clinton was born a politician; Hillary Rodham was not. Bill mentored her, while also using her as a resource. She learned from his successes and mistakes, and from her own. Bill’s stupid sex lark while President gave Hillary a stronger independence, which she has used wisely. Hillary needed Bill to become the first viable female candidate for our Presidency, not because of any shortcomings on her part, but because of our backward American attitudes about women being empowered. Bill and Hillary achieved power based on personal ability, not on family history like the Bush dynasty, which enabled two of its family to rise way beyond their ability.
If nominated, can Hillary win, especially with the viciousness that will be thrown at her by the rabid right? Do a Google image search for Hillary Clinton and look at the images that come up first, the most popular ones showing her looking hideous, and you will get a sense of the hatred some people hold for her. But for what reason? The question includes the answer; there is no legitimate reason that comes from unreasonable people. But those nuts will not decide the election. They are the ones who still support George Bush in the polls. We reasonable Democrats should not let the nuts prevent us from nominating Hillary if we think she would make the best President.
Quick impressions of the “also rans”:
Edwards seems to have only one or two notes to sound.
Biden does like to hear himself talk.
Dodd is mainstream sensible to the point of being unnecessary.
Kucinich shows that being right is not as important as being imposing.
Richardson seems to be running for Hispanic status and a cabinet position.
Gravel provides the impatient passion of a senior maverick, with comic relief.