Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Notes on the Dartmouth Democratic Debate

On September 25th, MSNBC held a Democratic debate. I know I'm running a few days (ahem, a week) late on this one, but there's something refreshing about going through the notes again, living it again, remembering the nuance so that it doesn't just fade away - although the next one is coming up in less than 3 weeks. This is pretty much blow-by-blow-by-subject, so feel free to skim for the juicy bits or skip to the end for main commentary. Let me know if I left anything (or anyone) out.

Remember, these are my notes and sometimes relate to my impressions of the response and not necessarily the content therein.

General Petraeus

  • Obama: Sometimes all I can hear are the "uh"s. He's getting better, but if he's going to be a serious contender in the next couple months, he's got to straighten that out.

  • Clinton: Well spoken.

  • Edwards: "all of our combat troops" does not include everyone, does it?

  • Richardson: Get 'em out! Yay!

  • Dodd: We have the "power of the purse," so why aren't we using it?

  • Biden: Mr. Biden, this is way different than Bosnia.

  • Kucinich: 2007? "ready to be president today." Bad bobble. Nice catch.

  • Gravel: Did he just say "scruff of the neck"? Did he just say "Fantasyland"? You have me caught between "Hell yeah!" and "what the hell?"

  • (Side: Kucinich: You're just splitting up Iraq.) Exactly.

Iran & Israel

  • Clinton: This is where Tim Russert gets pwned. She will answer the way she wants and there ain't no man strong enough to shut her down. Who's running this shindig? Chris Matthews talks later about Hillary's Leash. See Tim for its location.

  • (Side: Kucinich: I'll answer it!) If they asked him the same amount of questions, this would be funny.

  • Obama: Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

  • Edwards: [Ah-mahn-EE-di-jad] "cannot be trusted." Perhaps he needs Bush's pronunciation guides.

  • Richardson: Likewise, but [Ah-mah-DEE-ni-jad]

Sanctuary Cities

  • Richardson: He's Hispanic like Giuliani's 9/11: Part of them, but not campaigning on it, but always talking about it.

  • Biden: Bush is the most uninformed person in foreign policy. Poignant and accusatory. Excellent. Smile. Don't have a laugh.

  • Dodd: The president is wrong. Good job. Biden did one better.

  • Kucinich: We are misdirected.

  • Obama: Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

  • Clinton: Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

  • Gravel: Did you just say we're failing in spending our treasure? Aarrgh, matey!

Hillary, Mistakes, & Sideshoots

  • Dodd: Something about Mission Accomplished.

  • Hillary: (health care) "with a different plan," "what Americans want." No, Kucinich has what Americans want: not-for-profit health care.

  • Biden: It's hard for Hillary. That's cute. I'm sure she appreciates it.

  • Edwards: You'll lose your health care. What was he talking about? I was sipping wine.

  • Obama: "Take on special interests and win!" Except for the insurance industry. They apparently have his nuts in a box somewhere near Zanesville, OH.

  • Gravel: Did you just say we should stick the bill to the credit card companies?

  • Kucinich: Good job getting the record straight on Cleveland; not all good, but a lot of good.

  • Richardson: He's right in between Obama and Clinton: if they had a baby, it wouldn't be a mulatto, but a Hispanic! Actually, it makes sense.

    Same Sex Education
  • Edwards: "Nobody made me God," education's okay, but not the practice.

  • Obama: Has he? No: "My wife has." And the American public will hone in on what you are "feeding them." A little New World Order speak a little too early.

  • Clinton: We need to Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

Social Security and Medicare

  • Biden: Raise the 99K cap

  • Clinton: Did you just say "dissing"? No, Tim, you shut the hell up.

  • Obama: Lift the cap.

  • Dodd: We need pensions, financial literacy. Right on.

  • Richard: Fiscal discipline.

  • Edwards: Blah, difference, middle class, blah, 97K - 200K shield. Huh?

  • Kucinich: Wall Street privatization, lower retirement age to 65.

  • Dodd: Let's bring people together.

  • Clinton: We're doing that.

National Smoking Ban (note: Pat Buchanan is a douchebag)

  • Clinton: Local level.

  • Obama: Local level.

  • Kucinich: I've been breathing in a lot of second-hand smoke.

Drop Legal Drinking Age

  • Biden: No, drinking's bad, blah blah MAD

  • Dodd: Alcoholism! Bad! Smoking!

  • Richardson: We need to look at rehabilitation and research.

  • Gravel: If they can die for our country, they can have a drink, damnit. Amen to reason.

  • Kucinich: A-OK: we need to trust in America's youth. Okay, so we have two people supporting the troops. Anyone else?

Lightning Round

  • (Side on "Now to the lightning round" Gravel: "We never got to the real round.") True dat.

  • Obama: [turn the page] divisive politics, blah, bloorrgghhhhkkhh.

  • Clinton: [Bush/Clinton Dynasty] Stand her own ground, blah, blah.

  • Biden: [ Charge] Yes.

  • Kucinich: [Gas above $3.00/gal] Hell no. Choosing a president who wants to effect change "or have a president who's tall." Brilliant.

  • Gravel: [Gas] Get 'em off gas, oh, it's your 30.

  • Dodd: [Temp ban on China] Hell yeah!

  • Obama: [Jena 6] I was in Iraq, made a statement...wait. Is this 'cause I'm black?

  • Richardson: [Boy Scouts Gay Ban] Accept that? No.

  • Obama: [Back to Iraq] Who the hell's ranting?

Nuclear Power

  • Edwards: No nuclear power.

  • Obama: Nuclear power is okay.

  • Kucinich: We have better ways - solar and wind.

  • Gravel: Wind!

  • Clinton: Against nuclear dump at Yucca Mountain.


  • Obama: No torture.

  • Biden: Torture was possibly responsible for our faulty Iraq info.

  • Clinton: No torture. (but Bill?) "He's not standing here right now." Nice.

  • Dodd: It's a dreadful way to collect information.

  • Richardson: Having to deal with terrorists "doesn't mean we become like terrorists."

  • Clinton on Hsu (blah), Obama, donor building, Edwards was poor when he was a kid stop talking about his haircut. Not worth 3 separate points.

Fav Bible Quote?

  • Obama: Sermon on the mount.

  • Clinton: Golden rule.

  • Gravel: That thing about love.

  • Kucinich: St. Francis, instrument of peace

  • Edwards: What you do the least...

  • Richardson: Sermon on the mount. (Obama: Stop copying me!)

  • Dodd: Good Samaritan

  • Biden: Warning of the Pharisees

Red Sox or Yankees

  • Obama: Sox are the wrong color. Something veiled there...

  • Kucinich: Indians! Yay!

First summary note - never again
I will never do this again. I thought an answer-by-answer shot of the debate would have some merit, some posterity. I was wrong. Only 20% of the debate was noteworthy and therefore 20% of the above scratch is noteworthy. I believe an overview of my personal thoughts on the main points with some quotes is more enjoyable for me (it won't take me a week to trod through it) and more enjoyable for you to read. An experiment gone bad. A lesson learned.

Bill Tossing Confusion
For that thin slice of the population tuning in for the cavalcade of debates scheduled in order to get a better feel for the candidates, many probably don't have a full comprehension of the voting history of the candidates, specifically as it relates to voting for the war, voting to fund the war, etc. And to get the reference to H.R. 1400 (further sanctions on Iran, condemn any presence in Iraq, controversial because it did not include language forbidding the president from invading Iran without Congress's expressed approval), which was voted on (and passed) the day of the debate, you've got to be relatively well-steeped in politics. Should the topic be avoided? No. But Tim Russert should've done a better job clarifying.

I really don't have anything else. The questions were distributed on a scale related to how much money the candidate had raised for their campaign. It's like a student council election: you get the distinct feeling that some of them want it because they know they can get it and some want it to pad their resume. The one or two kids who actually want to change things for the better don't have the Prom Queen points, so they get ignored.

Sorry, a little disillusioned about the election today.

No comments: