DEBATE BLOGGING

Kevin Drum and Robert Tagorda did it in real time. WaPo has a (currently partial) transcript.

I watched a little of it and listened to a little more but the format makes these things almost unwatchable for me. Too many candidates, too many questioners, not enough time to actually answer the questions.

The only things that really stuck out to me were:

  • Joe Lieberman didn’t seem to really want to be there. He has to know he’s done, can’t understand why, but can’t quit just yet.
  • Dennis Kucinich shouldn’t be there but really wants to be. I’m not actually sure where Dennis should be.
  • Al Sharpton is simultaneously clever and not particularly bright. An unusual combination. He clearly got one of those “word a day” calendars as a kid but just learned the words without memorizing the definitions. His quip

    I wanted to say to Governor Dean, don’t be hard on yourself about hooting and hollering. If I had spent the money you did and got 18 percent, I’d still be in Iowa hooting and hollering.

    was pretty funny–even Dean seemed to enjoy it.

  • With vastly lowered expectations, Howard Dean came across as almost human. Perhaps they tweaked his emotion chip. His attempts at self-effacement over the Yeeeeeeeeeeeyaaaaaaah from the other night were only mildly successful, but his best chance.
  • John Kerry likes to to talk about Vietnam. I give him a lot of credit for serving, with distinction, in an unpopular war when, as a rich kid, he could have gotten out of it. But, damn it man, that was over thirty years ago.
  • Something’s not quite right about Wesley Clark. Aside from the fact that his name is “Wesley.” He can’t help that. Although he could insist that people call him “Wes.”
  • I like John Edwards. I don’t think he’s experienced enough to be president, don’t think he’s a hottie, and certainly don’t have a growing male crush* on him. But he does come across as bright, earnest, and pleasant.

    *Hat tip to Dan Drezner.

  • FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
    James Joyner
    About James Joyner
    James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

    Comments

    1. Rosemary Esmay says:

      But he does come across as bright, earnest, and pleasant.

      Earnest and pleasant I totally agree. But bright? That’s now a bit questionable. When a lawyer doesn’t have a clear grasp on the DOMA and his excuse is he wasn’t in Congress when it passed – that doesn’t fly. I know plenty of people that aren’t lawyers and never served in Congress and can explain the DOMA.

    2. James Joyner says:

      Rosemary–I actually missed that one; the first I heard of it was the Jeff Jacoby column I posted a couple minutes ago. My guess–not having heard it–was that he was ducking the question rather than actually didn’t know.

    3. Jared says:

      I don’t know; his answer seemed extremely flawed. He kept criticizing what it would do “if it passed” (paraphrase), causing Brit Hume, in a follow-up question, to seemingly slow down and carefully enunciate the “which passed in…” part, and yet, even after that, he talked about what he thought it would have done if it passed.

      Does the senator not know that the DOMA is law? And that, as Hume pointed out, it does precisely the opposite of what he claims it would do “if it passed”?

      I agree with Rosemary; Edwards was hopelessly uninformed on this and several other points during the debate.

    4. James Joyner says:

      Interesting; I’ll take a look at the transcript. He might have confused it with the Defense of Marriage AMENDMENT, which is being bandied about?

    5. Beldar says:

      Aside from the fact that his name is “Wesley.” He can’t help that.

      The name “Wesley” fits him just right. Smarmy, priggish, condescending, insufferable.

    6. Bloggerhead says:

      Hmmm. Edwards is hopelessly uniformed and not experienced enough to be president. Now which sitting president does this remind one of? My impression of my state’s senior senator is that he’s plenty quick on the uptake, and he certainly recognizes that Saddam did, in fact, let the inspectors back in prior to invasion (for just one of many examples). It’s good to see the fear of God in some people, though.

    7. Martha says:

      The debates only proved one thing. The Democratic party is decrepid and dead. In Arizona, after the primary, watch registered democrats change thier voter registration to Independent and Green if Dean does not win the primary.

    8. James Joyner says:

      BH,

      Four years in the Senate is not much experience. Granted, six years as governor with no previous political career is less than I’d prefer, but governing a large state is much better preparation for heading the federal executive branch than being a legislative backbencher.

      I think he’s a bright guy who could learn on the job if he were elected. Given the current international environment, I’d prefer someone to be able to step right in, but that’s unusual. Mainly, I think his policies, especially his foreign policy, are less desirable than a second Bush term.

      And, honestly, I see nothing wrong with his uniform.

    9. carsick says:

      Why should Clark insist people call him “Wes” when they currently call him “General”?

    10. James Joyner says:

      But it’s always “General Wesley…” That sort of cancels one another out.

    11. Bloggerhead says:

      Oops. You got me, JJ. I meant “uninformed,” of course. I should have just pasted the two quotes that inspired my post. Blogging on the sly, with a nosy assistant, will do that. Too, the second sentence should probably read–instead of “sitting president”–“shit-eating president,” for that famous smirk so on display the other night.

      Snark aside, what is it precisely about Edwards foreign policy that makes you prefer Bush’s? It seems to me that an Edwards 2000 victory would have resulted–and I’m assuming that no-one, even a Democrat less obsessed with missile defense and being the anti-Clinton, could have prevented 9/11–in an Afghanistan much more under control, an Iraq crawling with inspectors and being pressured to change, and an America with better port and nuclear security, and still respected worldwide, not resented. Imagine Osama caught or killed, Saddam well contained, and our military not dangerously over-extended. Seems a pretty damn desirable foreign policy outcome, if you ask me.

    12. James Joyner says:

      BH,

      Sounds like we’re operating in fantasyland here. Edwards voted for the Iraq War, although now he says he was opposed to it. But, assuming he would have kept us out of Iraq, it’s unclear how we’d be better off. We’ve got Saddam under lock and key and have all the time to inspect that we want now.

      Our military isn’t overextended. We mopped up the Iraq operation in 21 days. Stability ops are indeed manpower intensive, but that’s mainly an issue of force structure not end strength.

      And, assuming Osama is even still alive, it’s unclear what Edwards would have done that would have resulted in his capture that isn’t being done now.

    13. The New Hampshire Debate
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    14. Ipse Dixit says:

      Priceless
      “I enjoy Al Sharpton in much the same way that I enjoy the San Diego Chicken. Neither of them are…

    15. Oh! You Wanted Serious Commentary
      Outside the Beltway posts about real time blogging of the debate and also points to the best quote, so far, by Professor Bainbridge about the Dean scream. Insults Unpunished has serious comments and Roger Simon agrees that Lieberman was the

    16. Oh! You Wanted Serious Commentary
      Outside the Beltway posts about real time blogging of the debate and also points to the best quote, so far, by Professor Bainbridge about the Dean scream. Insults Unpunished has serious comments and Roger Simon agrees that Lieberman was the

    17. Debate Wrap
      The following bloggers discussed the debate – either as it happened or following the conclusion: The Command Post Mike James Joyner Kevin Drum Robert Tagorda Dean Esmay Kelley Glenn Reynolds Roger Simon Jeff Jarvis Michele Catalano If I missed it,feel…

    18. That’s Debatable
      All right, it’s time to recap last night’s debate.

    19. Open debate thread
      Feel free to debate the debate here — click here for the full transcript. Useful blogging on the subject from Kevin Drum and Robert Tagorda. I was watching intermittently while giving Sam a bath, so I can’t claim my focus…

    20. Open debate thread
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      Before I write down thoughts on the individual candidates, I’d like to note that aside from Brit Hume and Peter Jennings, the panelists in last night’s Concord debate was among the worst I had ever seen. Jennings and Hume were…

    DEBATE BLOGGING

    I’ve seen most of the California recall debate. Frankly, it hasn’t been very productive owing to the combination of an amazingly timid moderator and the inclusion of too many fringe candidates. My impression of the major players:

      Bustamante: I’d say he won the debate, even though I disagree with him on most of the issues. He was calm, actually answered the questions, and thoughtful.

      McClintock: The candidate I most agreed with. He was the only one with the guts to take the unpopular stand that illegal immigrants are, well, illegal. He was also the only one that seemed to grasp that having the government classify people by race was more likely to result in racial bias than not classifying by race.

      Schwarzenegger: He was fairly entertaining and had some good answers. But he didn’t get away from the canned responses, issued contradictory proposals, and didn’t answer the questions.

      Huffington: Rude and a moron. Why was she invited, let alone allowed to hijack most of the debate with her vitriol, given her non-existent standing in the polls two weeks from election?

    FILED UNDER: US Politics
    James Joyner
    About James Joyner
    James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

    Comments

    1. Eric says:

      Good analysis (even if I’m about as far to the left of center as you are to the right). You didn’t mention Camejo, whose “tax the rich” mantra got old when he repeated it for the 20th time. The loser were Huffington, who was obnoxious and failed to focus on California issues, and Schwarznegger, who was good with platitudes but showed little knowledge of the facts.

    2. James Joyner says:

      Thanks. I mentioned Camejo (along with Huffington) as “too many fringe candidates.” Damn, it sure seemed like more! But I didn’t expect anything different from the Green Party guy; that’s what they do. They’re sort of the opposite of the Libertarians.

      Huffington was phenomenally obnoxious, though, even by her standards.

    3. melvin toast says:

      http://realclearpolitics.com/commentary.html

      Survey USA did a snap poll of 579 registered voters last night asking who they thought won the debate. The results were: 32% Arnold, 22% McClintock, 13% Bustamante

    4. James Joyner says:

      Interesting.

      Clearly, what appeals to a mass audience is different than what appeals to a political scientist. I like Arnold personally, but don’t think he did particularly well; that’s clearly not reflected in mass opinion. I didn’t know much about Bustamante, but was pleasantly surprised with his performance.

    5. PoliBlog says:

      Debate Fun
      James of OTB has a pretty good round-up of the ReCAL debate from tonight. I agree with his basic assessments. The only quibble I have is that I am not sure I would declare Bustamante the winner, except by default,…

    6. ScrappleFace says:

      McClintock Fails to Prepare Debate ‘Zingers’
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    7. A confession
      Despite the fact that I am a registered California voter, and planning to visit the trailer park and vote on October 7 (yes, my polling place really is in a trailer park), I skipped watching the debate tonight. From what…

    8. http://www.hayekcenter.org/prestopunditarchive/001695.html
      Outside the Beltway on the debate. Quotable: Bustamonte: I’d say he won the debate, even though I disagree with him…

    9. A spectrum of opinion
      Scoring the big debate: -“Gray won” – Dave Jensen, Condor blog -“I’d say (Cruz) won” – Outside the Beltway blog -“I don’t think anyone won” – Dan Weintraub, Sacto Bee -“Arnold totally disappointed me” – Matt Welch, at RogerLSimon.com -Arnold…