Day By Day

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Debate

Watched most of the Republican debate in Iowa this afternoon, caught the rest of it tonight on replay. My conclusions:

The moderator was an ass. She exemplified the arrogance and insensitivity of the PBS/print media crowd.

Romney looked really, really good. Very presidential!!! Fully in command of his facts, confident, articulate. He is the only candidate from either party who is fully credible in the role of President.

McCain just looks tired. He should drop out.

Huckabee lost me completely when he started off on that environmental stewardship stuff. I like him, think he is a terrific campaigner, would like to see him in second spot on a ticket because he is such an able hit man, but keep him out of the Oval Office.

Thompson stole the show by bitch-slapping that horrible woman who called for a show of hands on global warming. Here's the moment.

It was great TV. If you look closely at the video you will note that when Thompson challenged the moderator Giuliani and McCain already have their hands way up in the air. That tells us something interesting about them.

Finally, this is two strong performances in a row for Romney. I don't know if he will be able to move the polls, but he should. Here's hoping.


Well, the post-debate commentary ignores Romney's performance and focuses on the awfulness of the moderator. I see three reasons for this:

Thompson called attention to her awfulness and that fed a narrative of the revolt of the candidates against the local media. Note the commentary in the big city bi-coastal MSM emphasizes the image of Iowa as a second-rate fly-over media market served by incompetents.

Republicans who did not perform well at the debate need an excuse for their failure to meet expectations -- yeah, I'm talkin' bout you, Rudy and John. Their supporters are glad to shift attention to the awfulness of the moderator.

Democrats want to soften up the setting for their upcoming Iowa debate. They hope that the local media will be cowed into niceness. Of course this sets up a situation where the Republicans will be able to scream about media bias.

A final observation -- I'm starting to like the debates -- if only for the fact that the leading candidates and MSM hate them so much. Over the course of ten debates we the public have begun to get some general idea of the personal qualities of the candidates and are far better able to judge them now than we were at the beginning of the process. And shifting judgments are changing the whole process. McCain once looked like a plausible candidate -- he no longer does. Hillary once looked inevitable -- now she doesn't. Obama and Huckabee have both added important dimensions to our national political discourse. The long grueling process may be messy and nasty and inefficient, but that's the nature of democracy.