That debate last night.
As of right now, there are over 12,000 comments lambasting the debate and moderators at ABCNEWS.
First, to get this out of the way, Hillary clearly ‘won’ (please note that I am an Obama supporter) the Philadelphia Democratic debate which took place at the National Constitution Center last night (Wednesday, 4/17/2008) .
She came off as cool, rehearsed, on-message, in-control, and unflappable.
She dutifully took the opportunities Gibson and Stephanapolous gave her to beat Obama over the head. Obama came off as shaken and very much on the defensive. There is a tremendous difference between Obama the orator or Obama on the offense and Obama on the defensive. (It may actually be a positive for Obama, as he seemed more ‘real’ dealing with the pressures while Hillary seemed more rehearsed. It will be interesting how this is perceived, given Hillary high “distrust” ratings).
But the real raspberry in this affair goes to ABC, for what is quite possibly the absolute WORST debate in modern American history. Without reliving the horrors, just revisit my post title. I don’t know what’s the more troubling assumption – that they are biased towards right-wing talking points or that this is what they believes the average American thinks is important?
Here’s a summarized timeline of the questions and answers. Below you’ll find a tagcloud generated from the top-75 tags (of 1370) parsed from the transcripts as posted by the NY Times and run through Tagcrowd (excluding common words):
The first 45-minutes consisted of entirely GOTCHA moments, mostly to Hillary’s relief and Obama’s detriment, focusing on the Clinton-farmed and media-fanned non-scandals of Rev. Jeremiah Wright (note that Secretary of Defense Bob Gates agrees with Rev. Wright that 9/11 was blowback for prior US policies), Bittergate, his Weatherman affiliation – a question spoon-fed by Sean Hannity – (although Obama did get in a bodyblow about President Clinton’s pardoning of TWO Weathermen), and American Flag Lapel pins. To be fair, Hillary did have to duck occasional sniper fire from the moderators. Was this debate underwritten by the RNC?
Then we got to Iraq – in my opinion the only real policy issue discussed, and even then it was a GOTCHA moment. “Will you bring the troops home, or are you lying?”
I understand that much of Pennsylvania is RED, at least in terms of counties and election returns. But when you view the state in terms of population, the picture becomes tinted a dark, regal purple. Playing to Republican priorities and using Conservative talking points during a Democratic debate (Obama, I’m looking at you regarding the Social Security red-herring) like gun control, quien es mas macho on Iran and nukes, and my personal favorite, the capital gains tax question, which ‘moderator’ Charlie Gibson clearly seems to be personally invested. I know that Americans are a little silly (and optimistic) when it comes to their own economic situations (note that not-insignificant numbers of Americans self identify as middle-class with incomes ranging from as low as $20,000 to as much as $150,000), but can the top-end of the middle class REALLY be over $200,000 (note, that is the 97% percentile, with only 3% of Americans making more per year in income)?
Unfortunately, no one rushed the stage and wrestled Gibson to the ground, although he was sorta booed at the end. Crooks and Liars has a ‘worst-of’ roll of the debates events.
Tags: ABC, Bob Gates, Charlie Gibson, clinton, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jeremiah Wright, media-fanned non-scandals, National Constitution Center, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Sean Hannity, United States, USD