Sunday, January 6, 2008

NH Debate

The question for me during the debates last night was, what will any of this change?

Clinton we know, is trying to push the experience angle, and I think she did as good a job of pushing that point as she could have. The problem is, is anyone listening, does anyone care?
She had an angry outburst early on, answering my man Edwards' painting her as an agent of the status quo. She lit up and started to rant that she had spent her whole life making change, by working hard. It was a little poignant that all that just doesn't seem to be enough.

Obama was remarkable not for anything he said necessarily but for what was said about him, by the Republicans. Both McCain and Huckabee waxed poetic about the impressive movement that seems to have grown up around Obama, with young people, Independents and some Republicans moving to support him. Even the normally jaded punditocracy seems starry-eyed over the Obama phenomenon. He didn't make any mistakes, nor did he say anything that stood out particularly.

We saw Edwards come out fighting, and firmly attaching himself to the Obama coattails, and against Hillary. I still like the man for promising a zero-lobbyist zone around the whitehouse, not taking any PAC money, etc., but I am beginning to believe more and more that he is going to soon be an also-ran. I note that he has pledged to remain in the race "through the convention and on to the White House." I hope it happens, but unfortunately I'm not feeling it.

On the Republican side, Romney was the night's punching bag, with both McCain and Huckabee tossing jabs at Romney's flip-flopping on issues. I thought it remarkable that Romney defended the Pharmaceutical industry, basically calling himself out as the Corporate Republican on the stage. Huckabee's more-populist approach is a welcome contrast on that side of the isle.

Thompson, as usual, seemed half awake through the entire debate. Guiliani, I don't even remember speaking really, except repeating Ronald Reagan's name as often as he could. Ron Paul had some good sparring at the beginning, but the others started laughing at him at one point and he seemed to quiet down for the last half of the debate.

So, what changed? Not much. We knew Edwards would try to "triangulate" Hillary by aligning with Obama, and I think his attempt is a bit too transparent. Hillary is trying to tread water and stay alive, a position she wasn't anticipating. Obama just seemed to coast, although with the polls putting him even with Hillary, you'd think he'd come out a little more passionately.

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