Jeff Jacoby

THERE CAN’T be much doubt about who turned in the best performance in last night’s New Hampshire debate. Only one man on that stage was consistently calm and thoughtful, well-spoken and well-prepared.

He didn’t wilt under pressure, he was forceful without being discourteous — if anyone appeared ready for the responsibilities of the White House, it was he. Too bad Brit Hume isn’t running for president.

Indeed. Dean Esmay and Kathy Kinsley apparently agree.

And too bad Wesley Clark is.

Clark was awful — whiny and defensive and acting nothing at all like a former four-star general. But at one juncture, he was worse than awful — he was positively appalling.

Refusing to repudiate Michael Moore’s slanderous description of George W. Bush as a “deserter” was a colossal political blunder.

Agreed. I forgot to mention that in my entirely-from-memory debate roundup last night. It’s every bit a bizarre as Dean’s business about Bush knowing about 9/11 ahead of time. And certainly more damning than Dean’s “I have a scream” moment.

On the whole it was a tedious evening — too many candidates, too many panelists, too many long-winded answers.

Hey–I said that last night. Get your own impressions!

Fortunately, there were moments of comic relief.

It was worth the price of admission just to see that blowhard Al Sharpton try to answer a question about the Federal Reserve. It was funny to discover that John Edwards doesn’t appear to have the slightest idea what the Defense of Marriage Act is all about. And it was hilarious to watch Clark try to wriggle out of Brit Hume’s devastating query about his political loyalties: After reciting a litany of examples of Clark’s pro-Republican record, Hume asked, “Can you tell us when you first noticed you were a Democrat?”

Hume really was terrific last night. Maybe it’s not too late to get him on the ballot.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. richard says:

    i couldn’t agree with each of these points more

  2. jen says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Brit Hume – he’s smart with a sharp, dry sense of humor. He’d get my vote, for sure.