April 27, 2007

And the Next President Is ...

Last night, the Democratic Presidential candidates for the 2008 election participated in their first debate, televised on MSNBC. All eight announced candidates, from favorites Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to Mike Gravel (who?), were there. Most of the pundits are saying that Clinton won the debate and that Obama also did well but slightly flubbed one or two answers. I thought there was another winner, and a surprising one at that.

Senator Joe Biden from Delaware won the debate last night, on both substance and style. Biden spoke the funniest line of the night, maybe the funniest line in years. When asked if he had the discipline to rein in what some see as his tendency toward verbosity, Biden answered with one syllable: "Yes." Moderator Brian Williams of NBC News waited for more of an answer, but it never came. The crowd roared. Substantively, Biden is the only candidate (indeed, the only official of any political stripe) to have a specific plan for Iraq, which is the central issue of the upcoming election. Biden proposes to divide Iraq into a loose federation of three ethnic states (Sunni, Shiite and Kurd), and to guarantee each group autonomy, safety and a portion of Iraq's oil revenues. While people may disagree that Biden's plan would work, at least Biden has laid out a specific plan.

The biggest winners last night were the American people. Those who tuned in saw an impressive crop of Democratic candidates, most of whom have many years of experience in tackling tough issues. While the candidates sometimes had very different points of view, each one was serious and thoughtful, and, with only a couple of exceptions (Gravel and Dennis Kucinich), each candidate appeared to have the gravitas to be President. The evening was short on hysterics, histrionics, fear-mongering, Bible thumping, race baiting, gay bashing, jingoism, phony patriotic slogans and other cynical appeals to our basest instincts. That could be a far cry from the field of Republican Presidential candidates, who have their first debate next Thursday.
Note: I have no association or relationship of any kind with Senator Biden.


At 5:28 PM, Blogger Aileen said...

Argh! I'm still frustrated with the Democratic party (though I do consider myself a Democrat). It's a sad but true fact that it takes more than just being the best candidate to get elected. Unfortunately, serious and thoughtful with specific plans just won't cut it. Yes, they may be the intellectual's party, but they need to look closer at what it takes to win an election. It takes the "it" factor. It takes someone that can appeal to middle America. While I personally like more than one of the candidates, middle America will not elect a woman or an African American. If the Dems want to give this country a chance to implement their ideals, policies, etc. they need to learn a thing to two from the republicans about how to "sell" to the American people.
OK...I'll be quiet now. It's just a hot button of mine.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger media concepts said...

Maybe Middle America will surprise you this time. Or maybe they will vote for one of the Democratic white men, such as Biden or John Edwards, or for Bill Richardson, who, with an anglo last name and a Hispanic mother, seems to be the dream demographic candidate.

Here's what Middle America will have to choose from in the GOP pack: A guy who is bald, Roman Catholic, has an Italian last name, a speech impediment, a long record of divorces and adultery, and an atrocious record of keeping New Yorkers safe from the 9/11 attacks (that will become more clear soon); a 70 year old short bald man who sings songs about bombing Iran and who thinks that an Iraqi market is safe to stroll through as long as your definition of safe includes helicopters, a hundred troops, snipers and body armor; and a Massachusetts Mormon who has flip flopped on the major issues more than a fish out of water. I'd say all of those candidates are going to be a very tough sell to Middle America.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

I'm encouraged that there are at least some good choices out there. Unfortunately Aileen is only too correct. I hope they learn how to sell whichever candidate they choose and I hope everyone gets on the bandwagon to do it -- no splinter groups or independent candidates. We need a unified front with a strong message to win this time. I don't even want to think about the future if we don't win...


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