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Hillary Commands The First Democratic Debate

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Debates in politics always strike me as paradoxical. On the one hand, everyone knows that what a candidate says in a debate has little to do with actual performance in office. On the other hand, a debate does provide us, the voters, with a sense of the candidate’s persona, perhaps even soul. And, often, this sense comes less from what the candidate says and more from how the candidate says it.

By that criterion, I’d say Hillary was the clear victor in last night’s Democratic debate on MSNBC. She seemed comfortable, clear, and in control. Not that anyone else seemed out of control – with the exception of former Senator Gravel – but Hillary Clinton projected the most Presidential tone.

Barack Obama and John Edwards were ok, but not as assured and incisive as Hillary. Since Hillary is the front-runner, this is not good news for either man.

As for the rest, Joe Biden gets creds for the best one-word answer – “Yes” – in response to a question about whether he could keep his verbosity in check. And his praise of Hillary may have won him a place on the ticket as VP, if Hillary gets the nomination.

And MSNBC gets praise for the way it ran this debate – with the exception of several questions in which candidates were asked to raise their hands. The camera-person or the director must have been nodding off – it was almost impossible to see who was raising their hands – at least, on my television screen.

It’s still early days, and a lot can go right or wrong for any of the candidates. But Hillary came across as cogent and even dynamic in a tough field, in which a misstep could have boosted the prospects of Obama or Edwards. If she keeps this up, she’ll be hard to beat in the primaries next February.

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About Paul Levinson

  • Arch Conservative

    “It’s still early days, and a lot can go right or wrong for any of the candidates. But Hillary came across as cogent and even dynamic”

    Cogent and dynamic?

    To me it was more like contrived and deceitful.

    It’s a moot point anyhow. If the Dems insist on running Hillary the American public will be biting at the bit to elect our first Mormon president.

    That’s right.

    Vive le Mitt Romney!

  • Lumpy

    I think your theory about hillary dominating the debate might be a bit off. A poll held right after had obama beating her 31 percent to 2d percent.

  • Arch Conservative

    I si t me or did the all of the Dems seem like hypocrites last night as they ranted and raved about global warming and carbon footprints but all took private jets to the debate?

  • Arch Conservative

    “I would say it’s definitely just you…”

    Great.

    Nice to see liberal hypocrisy is juast as alive and well ON BC as it was in South Carolina last night.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Arch, Arch, so many questions. You’re giving me a ‘eadache…

    Such as why, considering the result of the last election and the even-more-prickish-than-usual-because-he-can’t-get-his-way behavior of the President, you think Romney has it in the bag?

    And why you assume everybody hates Hillary just because the Republicans do?

    And why Paul saying “It’s just you” is hypocritical? Did I miss something?

    And how you know all the candidates traveled to the debate on private jets?

  • ava

    Obama did a good job at Thursday’s debate. Not great, but good. I think it’s too soon to pronounce him the “loser” and Hillary the “winner.” I’ve noticed that you press guys (and gals) suffer from severe amnesia.

    If Hillary Clinton is so “experienced” and a “professional”, then why all the foolishness from her over the past few months? – The fake accent and RIDICULOUS, shrill speech in Selma? (Shows she’s quite capable of being verbally tone deaf to the point of making a fool of herself) Having her attack dogs go after Obama because of Geffen’s remarks? (Proves she’s thinned skinned) The whole “me too” thing with comparing herself to JFK, just because Obama was compared to JFK? (Scared) Having her husband cry “it’s not fair” about the press’ love of Obama? (Once again, she’s scared)

    Come on, if Hillary can have 2 decades in politics and make so many ridiculous mistakes in the three short months since beginning her campaign, Obama is performing very well (as are the other candidates). Her performance on Thursday not withstanding, if her behavior over the past several months has been that of an “experienced” political operative, I’m scaaared. Please.

    Given Hillary Clinton’s behavior over the past 12 weeks, I’m not overly impressed by her so-called “experience”. Not to mention the fact that she had 8 years (yes – EIGHT) under her husband’s presidency to create a health care plan that works and she couldn’t do it. By all accounts, it was a dismal FAILURE. How do we know she’ll be any more effective if given another chance?

    Given all Hillary’s experience – where’s HER health care plan? She’s been running for the presidency for 15 years, you’d think she’d have her health care plan down pat by now. Sen Clinton spent tens of millions on consultants for her senate and presidential campaigns. Why isn’t she leading the charge on health care and with a STRONG, DETAILED foreign policy plan? Where are Sen. Clinton’s policies. She should be leading on these issues. A few brief responses in the Q&A session that passed for a debate on Thursday does not a president make.

    Sen. Clinton can’t even keep her mind straight about Iraq.

    Hillary has been tripping all over herself for weeks now. She did fine on Thursday, but If Hillary Clinton is the epitome of “experience” that everyone is looking to, then a number of candidates still in the running.

    Hillary Clinton has been around for a while, but she’s done nothing to deserve a pass on these important issues. In fact, her past performance in the oval office shows a failure to achieve the same goals she claims to be so “experienced” about.

  • jquinn

    Hillary won the debate.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Polling in South Carolina had Obama winning:

    Obama 31%
    Clinton 24%
    Edwards 14%

    Polls taken last week nationwide show Clinton’s lead over Obama shrinking by a couple of points.

    Of course, none of this matters so long as the Republicans nominate Giuliani since he’ll crush either of them.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    And why you assume everybody hates Hillary just because the Republicans do?

    And why Paul saying “It’s just you” is hypocritical? Did I miss something?

    And how you know all the candidates traveled to the debate on private jets?

    1. The number of people saying that would absolutely not vote for Hillary under any circumstances is higher than any other candidate on both sides of the aisle according to all of the recent polls.

    2. It is hypocritical because Paul is a liberal he has no problem with the liberal candiates for pres being total eco-hypocrites.

    3. It was reported by several news media that they did and not a single cadidate has said otherwise. I guess “do as i say and not as i do” is the acceptable position on the environemtn when you’re a prominent figure in the dem party. The rest of us mere peons must change our lifestyle to save the environement because it is our and only our fault while the leaders of the dem party are outglobetrotting in massive fuel burning private jets whilst they rebuke the rest of us for being such energy pigs. Let’s not forget all the holly wood hypocrites that do this as well.

    I have a solution for Sheryl crow’s one square idea. Why don’t we all just use her mouth as a toilet and her tongue as paper. That would save a lot of fucking trees Sheryl!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    In fact, I’m very excited about Obama being in the running. As I wrote last month, a Gore and Obama ticket would have a lot going for it.

    Except Gore will destroy the economy trying to reduce CO2 emissions to meet Kyoto…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Arch #14: TOTAL eco-hypocrites? Exactly how many low-fuel-consumption, zero-emission jet aircraft do you think are on the market? Or would you have preferred some of the candidates to limp into the debate days late because they had a bike tire blowout in Maryland?

    Now matter how good our intentions are, we are all going to run across situations where it’s difficult or impossible to be eco-friendly. All anyone can do is their best, and it’s extremely counter-productive to have some clown leap up and shout “gotcha!” every time they fall short.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Except Gore will destroy the economy trying to reduce CO2 emissions to meet Kyoto…

    The economy will destroy itself quite happily if no action is taken. The fundamental flaw with the capitalist system is that it assumes a limitless supply of raw materials. Which is clearly not the case.

    Economic growth can’t be sustained indefinitely. Which is why I’m puzzled as to why certain European countries are worried about their shrinking populatons. You’d think that having fewer mouths to feed would be a good thing.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle


    The economy will destroy itself quite happily if no action is taken. The fundamental flaw with the capitalist system is that it assumes a limitless supply of raw materials. Which is clearly not the case.

    So untrue. Capitalism does not assume unlimited raw materials, it assumes a dynamic resource environment. That could be new materials, or it could be new techologies, or it could be recycling old materials or developing different ways to use resources. All it really assumes is that things change and evolve, thereby creating new opportunitites for profit.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Paul wrote:

    Not likely. In fact, the development and sale of better hybrids and all-electrical vehicles should be a big boost to the economy… (emphasis added)

    As long as they’re American made, that will help, true.

    But meeting the 80% reduction in US CO2 emissions demanded in the Kyoto protocol will require us to cut back seriously our production and consumption of electricity among other things, which will be very damaging to the economy, since virtually all industry depends heavily on electrical power.

    with my sweet Prius.

    See emphasis in above quote from your comment.

    Fat lot of good you’ve done for the US economy with a Toyota, even if it is built in the US.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Dave: what is dynamic resource environment but corporate-speak for using any and all available raw materials?

    Paul: I was thinking the same thing, but don’t count on NASA to get us there.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    Gravel beats out Kucinich as the best running mate on a “Unity08″ type ticket headed by Ron Paul, who is the only one of our 535 Legislators who casts his every vote based on an answer to the question: “Does the Constitution allow the Federal government to be doing this?”

  • zingzing

    that’s a pretty fucked up question, and nevermind the grammar. the constitution allows you to do a lot of things. not all of those things are things i would like the government to do.

  • http://www.hillary.org/hc/Hillary_Clinton_Forum_1207_chat1.cgi Dave in Tampa

    Have you seen
    Hillary’s Blog
    ?

  • Treasury Bills SOLD!

    I think the only winner in the debate is Jackie Chan. His country subsidizes USA in its standard of living by buying US debts, keeping its interest rates low for americans to afford housing and great goods at Wal-Mart and $stores.

    Here’s what I learnt. Check this out

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