Just a few random, possibly unrelated thoughts on the Democratic debate Sunday night (transcript here):
1) It is logically inconsistent for Hillary and Edwards to insist that they were “totally briefed” on what was in the NIE and got quality advice on what to do with that information, while still trying to make the case that Bush gave them bad information.
2) Hillary and Barack deserve credit for admitting that there are a few things that President Bush has done right on terrorism, but they still say what the leftwing base wants to hear — Bush screwed up Iraq, Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror.
3) John Edwards can hammer Clinton and Obama all he wants to about their perceived reluctance to vote against the war funding bill. But the bottom line is that they had to make a decision about it, and cast a vote, and they ultimately did what they thought they had to do. Do we really know that John Edwards would have voted against that war funding? Maybe if he had to vote on it today, he would. It’s a lot easier to take tough positions when you don’t have to back them up with votes. Obama has always been against the Iraq war, and he’s probably the only totally consistent anti-war candidate that the Dems have (at least the only electable one).
4) Hillary knows that she has to look more serious on the war than either Edwards or Obama. That’s why it was a very smart move to condemn Edwards’ defense of his “bumper sticker” statement regarding the war on terror. I am very uncomfortable with most of her domestic proposals, but as far as saying most of the right things on the war on terror, she looked the most hawkish of the three. She didn’t scare me as much in this debate as much as she did in the last two debates.
5) Will somebody give Biden credit for explaining to his colleagues on the stage why voting for the Iraq war supplemental was a good idea? He made a strong defense of the reasons that he voted for the Iraq war, including financing the mine-resistant vehicles, and he said that he didn’t want to deny troops the funding they needed. Of course, he also said something else that Hillary and Barack would not — that they didn’t have the votes to stop the war funding. I think he needs to tone down the intensity of his arguments, but he’s a quality candidate who deserves more attention.
6) Dennis Kucinich was asked about taking out Bin Laden if he had the opportunity as President. It shouldn’t surprise anybody that he was opposed to it, calling it an “assassination” and arguing that Osama should be tried for his crimes in an international court. The majority of the other candidates supported taking out Bin Laden, although there was much concern about the possibility of killing of innocent civilians. There’s no way this guy should be taken seriously as a candidate, even a Democratic candidate. His ideas are so out there that it makes the other candidates look like Rush Limbaugh by comparison.
7) Even though he looks like a smart man who has done some good things in NM, Bill Richardson just isn’t on the same level as Hillary, Obama, and Edwards…or even Senator Biden. He doesn’t seem to be a very good debater, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the length of time he was given to answer questions. I’m not sure whether he just doesn’t prepare for these debates very well, or whether he chokes under pressure. Either way, he hasn’t been showing that he deserves a shot at being in the top three. He totally bombed on Meet the Press, and Tim Russert pointed out quite a few inconsistencies in his statements and record. He’s got a few areas where he needs to improve.
8) Can we please stop this obsession with Bill Clinton? He’s not our President anymore. The Clinton years were not the golden age the Democrats want to make it out to be. Get over Bill Clinton. Move on. Find a future.
Stay tuned…the Republicans are up next in NH.