Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who won the debate?

As I was listening to the post-debate babble from various spinsters, my mom called and asked me who I thought won the debate. Good question with more than one possible answer.

Looking at it in terms of who won over the audience sweltering in the stadium, Kucinich was the one who kept hitting it out of the park. Certainly he gave us the most progressive responses, answering the questions directly and to the point. He also scored great style points in his delivery and emphasis, gaining many cheers for his principled positions on labor issues. Gotta love a candidate who is a member of IATSE! My mother agreed that he did well and noted that his debating skills have improved dramatically over the course of this long primary campaign.

And then there were Barack and Hillary, both with impressive debate skills on display last night. I love listening to Obama talk. His voice is is probably the best of them all in terms of pitch, resonance, and articulation. He has a freshness about him that is highly attractive, although sometimes that freshness can veer toward naivete, as some other candidates have been pointing out.

Hillary is, to be honest, sensational. There's no getting around it, she has been consistently impressive from the beginning. Although her voice is not what one would call beautiful, it is highly effective. She knows how to stump and she knows how to think on her feet. She also is presenting the image of a president that many Americans are longing for. We are looking for the anti-Bush, the president who is effective in working with all branches of government. We want a president who will extricate us from Iraq while at the same time is reaching out to collaborative political solutions for problems in the middle east.

The more I watch Hillary, the less I think about her husband. I think Hillary will be her own woman when it comes to running the show. She may not have Bill's schmoozing talents, but she sure has the intelligence and the self-discipline.

Who lost last night? Mike Gravel lost for not showing up. Evidently his people did not fill out a questionnaire and return it to the AFLCIO, and so lost his place on the stage. Joe Biden, very foolishly, brushed over a question from a miner's widow, yet another example of his recurring "foot in mouth" disease. Too bad, as I rather enjoy listening to Biden. I know he's very establishment, but he is personable, which is something Chris Dodd needs to work on. Dodd seems to be a very nice hard working democratic senator who doesn't have that something extra that lifts him above the pack -- until he went one on one with Bill O'Reilly over the Daily Kos website smears. That won't be enough to save his campaign, but I hope he gets a nice job in the upcoming Democratic white house.

John Edwards just doesn't do it for me. He appeared desperate last night, trying ever so hard to wave the banner of labor by boasting of his 200 walks on the picket line. The very announcement of that count of picket line appearances came across as calculating rather than someone who has an actual stake in the matter. It is hard to take his concerns for the working class seriously. He's rich, he's a lawyer, and I personally feel he should be at home taking care of his wife and family. I know, Elizabeth says she wants to be out on the campaign trail and isn't letting the big C change her life. However, it appears like the family is being driven by one member's obsession to become president -- at the expense of what may be their last few years with Elizabeth. Finally, he really needs to do something about the nasal quality of his speaking voice. It is not pleasant to hear.

Bill Richardson has expressed his support of arts education in all the schools and a nationwide starting teaching salary of 40K, so you know I support that. I am strongly leaning toward a Clinton/Obama ticket but if that doesn't work out, I'd be happy to see Richardson running as Hil's VP.

Meanwhile, I'm still displaying the banners of Gravel and Kucinich, because they have been pushing the debates in directions that are closest to my own positions. I do believe they have had an effect on the mainstream candidates, who hear the crowd responses and read the polls having to do with Iraq and know they must not let the public down.

Added later: I'm digging all the comments people are leaving -- love to hear what everybody is thinking at this point in the race. I'm a debate watching junkie! And my own response tends to be from the acting teacher's perspective. Then I reflect awhile and watch the next show, looking for signs of growth, and always looking for truthful performances. My acting teachers taught me to ask two questions of a performance:

Did you understand it?
Did you believe it?

I think we would all do well to keep those questions in mind as we watch these candidates.

Meanwhile, please check out tigercourse's diary at Daily Kos. It is a biography of Hillary's career up to the point she met Bill. There's no denying how hard she has worked to get where she is.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your take on the poitical goings on, Village Green. I think your comments here regarding the debate are folksy yet insightful and dead on. I, too, like Gravel and Kucinich but know in my cycnical heart that neither are electable in the bigger stage. Like you, I appreciate the talking points they bring to the table.

On a side note, I have never beenable to understand how Kucinich has gotten labled with this "kook" banner. I think he brings a populist message that is true to the liberal causes and still is common sensical. So why is he always presented as the joke candidate? Am I just that out of touch? I hope note.

I wish Edwards was a better candidate. I want to like him but I just can't make myself do it. I guess in the end I just don't trust him.

Village Green said...

Hey Anon -- thanks for stopping by.

Kucinich is vegan, wants a department of Peace instead of War, and has an aura of New Age about him. I'm not so keen on New Age practices (although I swear by yoga as a physical discipline), but I love the idea of a Department of Peace. Why shouldn't peace be a major goal for our country in this 21st century? It is something we should always be working towards. Unfortunately, the main stream views wanting peace as being "weak" in the eyes of the world.

Kyle said...

I enjoyed reading your analysis.

Kucinich generally makes me cringe during these debates, but he was pretty good during this one. His line about digging a hole to China was brilliant.

I have added The Village Green to the list of Akron blogs on my site. Keep up the good work.

terra said...

I can't stand Hillary. She is, as Obama said, Bush-lite. "You don't say everything you think when you're running for president?" I want honesty. Obama '08

Village Green said...

Terra, I feel your intense anti-HIl vibes. I have had them too. She hasn't won the Village Green's endorsement yet, however -- when she delivered that line about standing up to the right wing and it that's what you want then she's the girl -- damn, that was a great line! And delivered beautifully.I don't think she was bluffing. I think she will stand up and maybe even kick some Republican butt.

There was a wonderful diary oh Kos today by someone who had taken the time to gather as many of the biographical details from Hil's life before Bill. She worked very hard to get to where she is today and was influenced by some great liberals from my youth. I'll add the link to the article above. Please check it out.

Village Green said...

Thanks Kyle -- I have added you to my regular blog prowling list!

KevinBBG said...

I agree that Hillary did great, I'm always a bit surprised by that but she does well every time. But I constantly see her as bought by big money and far too conservative for my tastes. I think Richardson killed himself off in the newest debate when he said being gay was a choice.

I've always liked Edwards best but thought this was his worst performance so far. He did look like he was trying too hard and a bit desperate. Although I like Obama he does seem to be the most inexperienced of the group, makes naive statements and fails to make the telling point when he gets an opening. Kucinich really is a New Age flake, even though I agree with him quite a bit politically. He and Mike Gravel do hold an important place as the tellers of truths in the debates and you are right, as the other candidates see the applause they get it makes the top tier candidates lean more to the left.

But as far as a winner I have to give it to Hillary. Her "I'm your girl!" just nailed it and is the best sound bite so far in the campaign. Of all of them she comes off as the strongest, most experienced and the natural leader, but I have mixed feelings about that, she's too much a part of the establishment.

As far as VP I don't think she will choose Obama but will go for Edwards in order to get the southern white boy up there on the ticket. I think she, and most of her advisers, will think asking Americans to vote for a woman and a black man on one ticket will be too much. Sadly, I think they are right.

I think Obama will be president some day but he's just not ready yet. Of course, Obama is more popular and has raised more money than Edwards, so who knows?