Thursday, February 14, 2008

debating debates

Many pixels have been spilled over the Democratic presidential race recently on side issues--like how Super Delegates should vote, what to do about Michigan and Florida--which probably will all fall into place if either Obama keeps on winning or HRC takes off again. (more on where the race is going below) But the silliest discussion line of them all is about debates.

Hillary Clinton is much better at debating than Barack Obama and she is also at this point behind him in the race. Therefore, she is calling for debates like Sam I Am called for the eating of Green Eggs and Ham ("...would you would you in box, would you would you on Fox [News]?"). It is as simple as that. And to waste hundreds of thousands on an ad that mentions that seems to be a waste, even if she was able to sneak her in advantage on health care. Why not spend that money on spending a day in Wisconsin, which shows her within the margin of error? Instead, she is camping out in Texas and Ohio. I just don't get it.

Obama's response is pretty lame too. But is the public really clammoring for more debates? And who really makes their minds based on a debate? In 2004, Kerry cleaned Bush's clock in the debates, but he still lost. In 2000, Bush won due to the expectations game (and sighing by Gore)...yet Gore won the popular vote. My favorite "TV show" these days is CNN's ballot bowl, because it shows alll of the candidates at their events (rallies or town halls) without commentary. I know CSPAN does this too, but it doesn't have the crawl going in case an event gets mega-boring. Such event-watching to me is better than a debate. Presidents don't debate Congress or the American people, they give speeches and hold press conferences/town hall meetings. You can see a potential president's ability to react and human side much better with citizen/press questions than barbs by their oposition.

This afternoon, I bumped into two prominant local Democrats and asked them what they thought of the state of the Democratic race. One thought Obama had the clear edge and was going to win, "you can't attack a movement" was a comment that stuck with this person. The other came to the oposite conclusion. "Every time Obama gets momentum, she comes right back and wins." This result was presumed to be due to women rallying to her campaign when it gets too picked on. What do you think? Is Hillary poised for a comeback or is the wave of momentum too high for her to stop?

Personally, I think she could come back too, and Obama now has to win Wisconsin convincingly in order to make a game of it in Texas and Ohio. I wonder if Lincoln Chafee's endorsement of Obama will help Barack at all in Rhode Island. Afterall, even though voters tossed him out in 2006, they still like him on a personal level.

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