Monday, January 21, 2008

Democratic Debate: I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes

I didn’t watch, just read the transcript (part 1, 2, 3), but I thought Obama came off whiny when he complained that Hillary and Bill were both attacking him and it wasn’t fair. “Well, I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes.” Barry: Hillary’s the one with the pearls.

Later, he is asked if Bill Clinton was the first black president. Says he would “have to, you know, investigate more of Bill’s dancing abilities.” Hillary says that could be arranged. At least then Obama would probably be able to tell them apart.

Hillary later says, “I believe that this campaign is not about our spouses.” Yeah, but only because CNN didn’t allow the short guy with the hot spouse into the debate.

Obama notes that Hillary was a corporate lawyer on Wal-Mart’s board, she notes that he was lawyer for a slumlord.

Edwards rather neatly skewers Obama’s explanation for voting against a 30% limit on credit card interest:
EDWARDS: You voted against it because the limit was too high, is that what you just said?

OBAMA: That is exactly what I just said, John, because...

EDWARDS: So there’s no limit at all.
Obama explains that he voted “present” 130 times in the Illinois state senate because that’s how they do things in the Illinois state senate.

Hillary notes, “It is very difficult having a straight-up debate with you, because you never take responsibility for any vote, and that has been a pattern.” She kinda has a point, but she was taking quite a risk that he wouldn’t bring up her circumlocutions about her vote authorizing the Iraq war. Which he didn’t.

I think I’m actually with Obama on not making it mandatory to get for-profit health insurance, but his explanation kind of sucks: “every expert that’s looked at this has said there is not a single person out there who’s going to want health care who will not get it under my plan.”

Favorite exchange:
EDWARD: Let me be really clear about that. It’s amazing now that being the white male...

OBAMA: You’re feeling all defensive about it, John. It’s all right, man.

EDWARDS: ... is different.

Obama says he is a proud Christian. He says D’s should go after the evangelical vote: “And when you don’t show up, if you’re not going to church, then you’re not talking to church folk.” I’m pretty sure they’re allowed out of the church from time to time. Also: folk?

I had a line about “carny folk,” but I thought better of it.

Edwards asks Hillary to take a pledge not to employ any corporate lobbyists in the White House. She says she doesn’t know. But “I’m independent and tough enough to be able to deal with anybody.” Isn’t that a well-expressed answer? The wrong answer, of course, but well-expressed.

Edwards responds that “When somebody gives you millions and millions of dollars, I think they expect something. I don’t think they’re doing it for nothing.” She says that trial lawyers are giving him lots of money. He says, “And what they expect from me is they expect me to stand up for democracy, for the right to jury trial, for the right for little people to be heard in the courtroom.” Rarely has the moral high ground been lost so fast and so ludicrously. Also: little people?

Final question: who would Martin Luther King endorse? On this, everyone is in agreement: Fred Thompson. Obviously.

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