Loose Democratic Debate Thoughts

There were a few other observations I had of the Democratic debate last night that didn’t make it into my column:

–John Edwards’ insistence on calling the War on Terror a “bumper sticker” reveals a desperation on his part, making it pretty clear that he won’t be the nominee. If you give the benefit of the doubt to Edwards, he is making the intellectual argument that while we do need to fight terrorism, categorizing it as a “War on Terror” can be used for propaganda purposes to justify all sorts of things. But in a political context, such nuances don’t get conveyed, and Edwards comes across as someone who doesn’t think terrorism is a problem. This gave Hillary Clinton the oppourtunity to establish herself as more hawkish by declaring that as a New Yorker (it’s been over six years and I still can’t get over that) “I have seen first hand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists.” Edwards’ progressive populism will win over a certain portion of the left, but in the end the party will go with a more mainstream candidate, just as Democrats ditched Howard Dean at the end to go with John Kerry.

–It’s been pointed out on other blogs, but for the second debate in a row, Bill Richardson bombed. I always thought Richardson would make a strong vice presidential choice given the fact that he is governor of New Mexico, which is a crucial swing region, he is Hispanic, and is the candidate with the strongest resume. I thought he’d be an especially great fit for the VP slot if Ovama were the nominee, because Obama would have to pick somebody more experienced than he is to reassure voters. So, I’ve been quite surprised to watch Richardson struggle through another debate. His answers were rambling and often off topic, and he was overly eager to tout his experience. He was at his most juvenile when after a question about Darfur, he said “I was there” about 83 times.

–Joe Biden evidently thinks that the candidate who yells the most looks the most presidential. He’s wrong.