Tuesday, June 05, 2007

TALK TALK. For me the highlight of Sunday night's Democratic debate was when the candidates, spurred by Clinton of all people, began to push back at Wolf Blitzer's ridiculous hypotheticals. I would have immediately sent a check to whoever got up and pushed Blitzer off the lip of the stage -- Mike Gravel, are you listening? -- but I guess we have to take what we can get.

Of course this not-answering can get out of hand, and I winced each time a direct question was answered by an only mildly relevant stump speech. The Times transcript runs about as long as the Unabomber manifesto, and there was plenty of mouth-running, but some genuinely interesting stuff happened.

Edwards' "bumper sticker" comment provided a good deal of blog grist, but it's notable that he didn't try to backpedal or qualify it -- on the contrary, he owned it. I guess he figures that after all the attention paid to his haircut and house, there's no point worrying about being misconstrued.

And he may be right. Maybe for the moment there's less need than usual to fear the rightwing noise machine. They'll still ferociously spin everything into accusations of treason, but even American voters, dim as they are, may at last have seen through that particular grift.

Speaking of grifts, he seems to have worked out a nice deal with Obama; it was fun to watch them shoot professions of admiration and respect at one another, especially as they had to shoot them through Hillary Clinton.

Other observations:

Clinton is full of shit -- she didn't need to read the NIE because she felt "thoroughly briefed"? By George Tenet? -- but that shit is tight: she's the most confident campaigner in either party at present. She may or may not be electable, but it's impossible to say that she can't cut the mustard.

I'm glad Dennis Kucinich is getting some time to talk at these things. While the frontrunners addressed health care with measuring spoons and deferred payment plans, he stepped up and said that people are driven to bankruptcy because of health care costs that are driven by insurance companies, and this has to stop. He also reminded everyone that the if they wanted to stop the war, not voting to fund it would be a good start. The Party will shove him to one side soon, but at least we can pretend for a few months that it's a progressive party rather than the last hope of a desperate nation.

God bless Joe Biden and his righteous indignation over Darfur etc. The poor man is difficult to follow when he is being genial, but extremely lucid in his bursts of anger. Fortunately or not, that isn't the kind of behavioral mix voters trust with the football.

How did Bill Richardson ever get elected to anything?


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