Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where is that Beef Anyway?

OK – so the most composed person at the Democratic debate was Brian Williams. And Dennis Kucinich seemed mainstream by comparison to Mike Gravel. And Joe Biden didn’t muck up his a Calvin Coolidge moment by being even slightly verbose about being too verbose. But anyone looking for something other than lackluster job interviews was bound to be disappointed despite the chorus of hype by every MSNBC talking head on the payroll.

It's a shame that neither Barack nor Hillary showed off why they are considered first tier candidates rather than maybe just the best of the lot at raising money (ask Howard Dean about the difference).

What is Edwards waiting for -- and I don't mean the suspiciously long time he took to answer a question about who his moral authority is (I guess Edwards' opposition to gay marriage stems in equal parts to "my lord," his wife and his father).

The First Taste is -- Dull

People: these early debates are for political junkies. Given NBC’s onerous re-use restrictions most of what you say will die on the vine anyway. Play for a tie later. Give the pitiful few of us already mainlining campaign stuff what we need to get through the day. It isn’t the Boy Scout Oath or an ode to first responders.

You get off with a warning this time: don’t leave us wanting more Dennis and Mike, or yearning for Al Sharpton.

1 comment:

Bob said...

These nearly scripted, almost offensively polite, and maddeningly content-free TV escapades known as presidential "debates", encouraged by the country's top TV journalists, seem ever more like extensions of the soft, "party atmosphere" gatherings about which Frank Rich scathingly wrote this morning:

"After last weekend’s [White House] correspondents’ dinner, The Times decided to end its participation in such events. But even were the dinner to vanish altogether, it remains but a yearly televised snapshot of the overall syndrome. The current White House, weakened as it is, can still establish story lines as fake as “Mission Accomplished” and get a free pass.

To pick just one overarching example: much of the press still takes it as a given that Iraq has a functioning government that might meet political benchmarks (oil law, de-Baathification reform, etc., etc.) that would facilitate an American withdrawal. In reality, the Maliki “government” can’t meet any benchmarks, even if they were enforced, because that government exists only as a fictional White House talking point. As Gen. Barry McCaffrey said last week, this government doesn’t fully control a single province. Its Parliament, now approaching a scheduled summer recess, has passed no major legislation in months. Iraq’s sole recent democratic achievement is to ban the release of civilian casualty figures, lest they challenge White House happy talk about “progress” in Iraq.

It’s our country’s bitter fortune that while David Halberstam is gone, too many Joe Alsops still hold sway. Take the current dean of the Washington press corps, David Broder, who is leading the charge in ridiculing Harry Reid for saying the obvious — that “this war is lost” (as it is militarily, unless we stay in perpetuity and draft many more troops). In February, Mr. Broder handed down another gem of Beltway conventional wisdom, suggesting that “at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback.”---Frank Rich, "All The President's Press"