Mike Gravel Dominates First Democratic Candidate Debate
The first primary is still eight months away but the first debate of the 2008 cycle took place last night among the Democratic candidates. I heard a few minutes of it on the radio last night and was wondering who the nut was whose ravings made Dennis Kucinich seem momentarily plausible. It turns out to have been former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel.
Dave Weigel has an excellent rundown of the debate for Reason. His impression of Gravel was apparently quite similar to mine: “Check out the lefty blogs, especially MyDD. They think Mike Gravel – whose brain I think I heard rattling around his skull – won. These people are different from you and me.” [See UPDATE below]
Glenn Reynolds has a nice “Gravel-mania” roundup. Some of the more thoughtful analyses:
- Ann Althouse: “Gravel… that’s news to me. I didn’t even know he was still alive!”
- TigerHawk: “Gravel is a loon, by the way. He makes Kucinich look sober as a judge.”
- Hit & Run commenter COOP: “President Gravel? Only on an episode of The Flintstones.”
A surprising number of people live blogged the event. Memeorandum has a sampling in addition to links to several press accounts.
Hotline‘s Nora McAlvanah reports on the post-debate spin game:
As expected, our inboxes were swarmed with spin. “THE REVIEWS ARE IN: HILLARY ‘SUPERB,’ ‘STRONG,’ ‘VERY SOLID’ IN FIRST DEBATE” … “John Edwards: Winning the Issues Debate” … “DODD DEMONSTRATES PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP AT FIRST DEBATE” arrived in tandem last night. In reference to his highly-regarded one-liner, Biden’s press release was titled simply “yes.”
Thankfully, I’m not on their mailing lists. I expect a similar deluge after the first GOP debate, though.
UPDATE: Some commenters are challenging Weigel’s assertion that “the lefty blogs … think … Gravel won.” Doing some not-so-random checking, I’m seeing some positive comments (see Taylor Marsh, for example) but no assertions that Gravel was anything but an entertaining protest candidate.
UPDATE: Weigel revises and extends his remarks in the comments below.