A Debate With 3 Winners
I know you are anxiously awaiting my take on the Democratic Presidential Debate, so here it is. Oddly, I think all of the candidates accomplished most of what they wanted, and were effective in different ways.
John Edwards - Frequently looked like the only adult on stage, and was quickest on his feet and probably scored the most points. Pressing Obama on ALL of his "present" votes, was far more effective than Clinton's laundry list. Even if there is a good reason for all of them, he couldn't explain them all away, or the issue. If it were November, or his opponents weren't celebrites, this might really be a three way race.
Barack Obama - Showed he can take it and hit back, though I thought he was a little winey in some of the exchanges. Put to rest the Reagan/ideas story, which was sadly necessary. Did manage to bring things around to his change theme, but not often enough, especially for MLK day, and seemed less inspiring than usual. But the crowd seemed to like him, and I think he may have played it well enough to solidify a victory in South Carolina.
Hillary Clinton - I agree with some of the CNN pundits -- whether she meant to concede South Carolina or not, she was definitely playing to a national audience. I think some of her shots were a little too harsh, and Barack may benefit in South Carolina from the "don't mess with our guy/gal" votes that she got in New Hampshire. Time will tell if any of the points she raised will help her later, but they might.
I wish Edwards would prep my guy, because I think he missed some great chances to score.
Immigration/Health Care: I think Obama could have used Edwards' admissions that none of their plans covered undocumented immigrants to point out that none of the plans were "Universal", tied it briefly to a need for immigration reform, and spun it back to the need to change the playing field, not just the game. A little dangerous, because he would have had to duck promising it himself (not a good sound bite for the general election), but he would have scored points with Latinos. It also might have shut down the issue, because Clinton would NOT want to have to take a stand on that point.
Changing Stances and the 2 Clintons: Voters seem willing to accept that somehow Hillary's service as First Lady in Little Rock and Washington, D.C. counts as "experience", so it's probably time to stop fighting it directly. Instead, use it. Tie her to every decision her husband made, and every time he flip-flopped. For obvious reasons, I'd start with Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA. NAFTA works, too, since she's not really for it any more. Ask her where her strength and experience were when those things didn't get done. If she says she wasn't a politician then, you can go right back to the question of what her experience was during those years, and the unreleased notes from the library. Plus, he could then bash both Clinton's with one strike instead of having to pivot from one to the other.
I don't think there is a "Most Electable" candidate this year. We've gotten used to having an established candidate or opponent, which isn't true this year. It depends a lot on the winner of the Republican primary, which we won't know. My thoughts:
Huckabee - If this one's close with any of the three democratic candidates, something went horribly awry.
Romney - Similar to the above. He probably loses some of his base due to his religion (sadly) and any of the 3 can remind voters how we did with an MBA-in-chief.
Guiliani - Hillary Clinton. It's hard to imagine a Democrat winning the White House without NY, and he might put it in play. If a Democrat can win without New York, though, it might be Obama vs. Guiliani, because more Southern and Western states will be in play.
McCain - Obama. Hands down. Even if you grant that Hillary has the most foreign policy experience, she will not best McCain on the point. It will be about cross-over appeal and winning independents. The only person in the democratic field who can best McCain with independents is Obama.
Political - I didn't really like Obama's answer to the question about whether President Bill Clinton was the first black president. It worked OK for him, but if John Edwards had similarly equated dancing ability with "blackness", especially in a political realm, he would have been vilified as the second coming of David Duke. I would have liked a better answer from Obama
The cute boys added to Prison Break tonight -- they died at the end of the episode. With the exception of Sucre, hot Latin men on Prison Break have the life span of someone with a red shirt on Star Trek.
Excitement - I am allegedly getting the keys to my house tomorrow. Again. What's 2 levels below cautiously optimistic?