Friday, August 24, 2007

The New Political Weapon; TouTube

If you missed the YouTube debate you missed out. I was worried this was going to be dumb or cheesy or dumb and cheesy. Instead it was quirky, heartfelt, entertaining, tough and substantive. By far the best debate of the season.

Hillary Clinton kicked a whole lot of ass. She was polished. Poised. Presidential. She really does have a presence and a power on stage. She looks every bit the frontrunner. I only wish Gravel had put her on the spot about her bundlers and her Wall Street money. Obama took most of the real heat in this debate, and I think did a nice bit of political judo to keep from absorbing a direct blow. It’d be nice to see someone challenge Clinton directly, rather than nibble around the edges about her triangulation (Edwards) or her lack of a specific health care plan (Obama). My guess is she’d acquit herself ably — but that’s only a guess.

Clinton certainly inflicted some damage, pouncing on Obama’s over-eager agreement to a YouTuber’s challenge to meet face to face with Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez etc., offering a more serious answer about using high level envoys to ensure that she were not participating in a “propaganda” effort by our enemies. It made Obama look callow, and reinforced her talking point of the evening about being the best candidate to “hit the ground running” in November January 2009.

Clinton must be loving the huge group. Her top competitors had some nice moments last night. Edwards talking about the Virginian who lived with a cleft palate for 50 years. Obama alfa dogging Gravel. Biden and Richardson showed they had game too. But there’s so much competition for airtime that it’s impossible to get any momentum and have a truly breakout night.

The gay marriage questions were outrageously disappointing. Folks: separate but equal institutions are against every moral fiber your party is supposed to stand for. If he weren’t so smug about his stance, I’d be giving Dennis Kucinich some mad props right now.

The candidate videos were a fun addition. John Edwards’ campaign’s Hair video hit it out of the park. One question: Where was this six weeks ago?

One last thought. Clinton/Obama/Edwards/Biden/Richardson. The Democrats have five candidates on that stage who would be a stronger nominee than John Kerry was. Even the inhumanly senatorial Chris Dodd would have given Kerry a run for the money.

What did you think of the format and the substance?

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