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Friday, February 01, 2008

On Debates and Records

Neither the Republican nor Democrat debates this week were memorable. In the Republican debate, McCain and Romney acted like street fighters against each other, knowing the nomination is now between the two of them. It did nothing to advance any dignity or substance into the discussion. Huckabee whined that he wasn't getting enough time and R. Paul almost looked the most dignified by not whining and simply answering the questions asked of him. The moderator was Anderson Cooper who clearly lacks any concept of anything Republican.

The Democrat debate was one I only clicked on a couple of times to get the flavor of it. Clinton and Obama decided to have a love fest and act all warm and fuzzy towards each other. No one buys it but Democrat politicians have never had much respect for the voters, thinking them to be stupid sheep. Don't worry your pretty little head, they'll take care of you. The Hollywood celebs were seated in the front rows while the California politicians, like the hard working, respectable Jane Harmon were stuck up in the balcony. Quite telling of the Dems and where the priorities are as a party. They are way too interested in being the cool kids.

There was no mention of the war on IslamoFascism in the Dem debate.

The debate sights were telling, too. The Republican debate was hosted by the Reagan Library, in the Air Force One Pavilion with the aircraft in the background. Very Presidential. The Dems were at the Kodak Theatre. I noticed Kelsey Grammar in the audience for the Republicans. I saw Rob Reiner at the Dem debate. I still watch reruns of 'Frasier'. Just sayin'.

The Dems had Wolf Blitzer and the more senior writers for the Politico and LA Times. No surprise. Why send the seasoned, mature media folk to the Republicans when they are so easily mocked and dismissed?

The latest annual polling results from the National Journal are out. A bi-partisan publication, these ratings, according to results of 267 votes used as a measure of the liberalism or conservatism of a politican, have been produced for 27 years now. It is important to remember the measurement is used on results produced from votes taken when the candidates were both voting, in the case of Clinton and Obama.

As will not surprise those doing their homework, Obama has the most liberal voting record with a rating of 95.5% in 2007. He is the most liberal senator in office. Hilary is ranked at number 16, with a rating of 82.8%. By contrast, in 2006, She was ranked 32nd and Obama was 10th. It is also not surprising that candidates would lurch left or right in the lead up to primaries.

Is it change if you vote for your party and its legislation 95.5% of the time? Are you someone who offers a new tone?

Out of the 267 votes used as a measure, where both voted, they only differed 10 times. "The policy differences between Clinton and Obama are so slight they are almost non-existent to the average voter," said Richared Lau, a Rutgers University political scientist.

An analysis of the individual votes shows, according to a Clinton campaign advisor, "Her voting record as a whole shows she takes a comprehensive, balanced approach toward policy. Senator Clinton looks at the broader picture. She tries to see the challenges from not only the blue-collar worker's face, but also the white-collar worker's, not only Wall Street but also Main Street, and from that tries to put together a policy that's best for America as a whole."

The first political commercials are being run here in Texas. So far I've seen Huckabee's ad emphasising his promise to abolish the IRS. There is an ad being run that is paid for by a group not known to me which morphs McCain from Hillary. So, the tone is set.

I'm going with the wisdom that when the results of Super Duper Tuesday (could we have a more stupid name?) are in, the Republican nominee will probably be known. The results for the Dems, I think, are still a bit more up in the air. It will be a great time for those of us who live for this.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

"There was no mention of the war on IslamoFascism in the Dem debate."

Actually, yes there was. Quite a bit.

As for the venue, did the candidates select it? I have no idea. But the very enormous theater was packed to the gills, which is a good sign in my mind.

As for Obama's liberal record, some of us don't consider that a bad thing. And I believe you are completely missing the point on what "change" it is we seek.

On more common interest ground, did you see the poll showing that given a choice between Sunday's event and Tuesday's, 40% said they were more excited for the Super Bowl. 37% said they were more fired up for Super Tuesday. I think that's remarkable, and encouraging, and it just flat tickles me to death.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Actually, yes there was. Quite a bit.


What did they say?

Jennifer said...

They discussed it at as much length as as any other, given these sound byte debates that cover such a broad range of substantive issues permit, both in context of the war in Iraq and outside the context of the same. Diplomacy, Iraq, the worldview of the US's strengths and weaknesses, the very real threats we face as a nation - all were topics of discussion.

The subject was far from ignored with "no mention".


The entire transcript of the debate is available on CNN.