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Has Edwards Turned Anger into a Campaign Theme?

According to this interesting analysis, Edwards used raw "mad as hell" moments to win the debate, and certainly he did succeed in calling attention to himself. He also wittily defused the hair issue. But this author concurs with most in adding that Hillary had a pretty darn stateswomanlike performance, despite the inevitable missteps. Obama and especially Richardson proved again that debate-type events aren’t their strength. Obama either had an enormous gaffe or a particularly shrewd moment (in appealing to actual Democratic voters) in his promiscuous promise to meet directly with any and all tyrants. This contest, of course, is very unlikely to have any enduring impact on the actual campaign.

Discussions - 18 Comments

I can't speak for whether Obama's promise to meet with tyrants will appeal to Democratic voters--he did get wild applause for the remark--but it certainly did make it more apparent than ever to me that he is just nothing more than a child politically. He made Hillary look like a statesman. I cannot imagine that anyone other than snot-nosed Democratic primary voters would find much appeal in those remarks. He looked like he'd come straight out of dormitory bull session to me.

John Edwards didn't do himself any favors either with his hem-hawing over the gay marriage question. "My wife thinks it's a good thing, but I'm conflicted . . . blah, blah, blah." Goodness gracious, man--stand up for your opinion and get out from behind your wife's skirts!

I've been saying that all along. Obama is junior varsity, if that. A pleasant speaking voice, a somewhat photogenic face, and nothing more. A guy with a Harvard Law degree, who doesn't have anything to offer when it comes to foreign policy. It's an amazing site to behold. It's as Julie said, the guy actually made Hillary look responsible and sober, mature and seasoned.

And as for Edwards, just think, the Democrats actually let him get on the ticket in '04. Amazing.

2: Dan -- "Amazing"? Is this the right word?

And yet, according to Drudge, Obama was polling as the winner of this "debate."

Julie: Yeah, I saw that, which means that D primary voters are all about change. A couple of analysts have, with some jusitce, given the victory to Biden, who actually has a plan for Iraq.

DF, depends on your mood I suppose.

Sometimes, when you think of our nation, of all the talented people out there throughout the fruited plain, and you ponder that some opportunizing trial lawyer like Edwards was the Vice Presidential candidate of America's oldest party, "amazing" isn't the word that immediately comes to mind. "Disgraceful" "pathetic" seems more apt.

It's all about your mood.

It's a sad social commentary though, that's for damn sure. And that's regardless of mood.

Dan, an "opportunizing trial lawyer" is just fine for the Democratic party. Edwards is also really slick, and he sounds like a regular guy to certain kinds of voters. Combine that with a rigidly liberal ideology and a ruthless determination to do whatever it takes, and Edwards' place on the '04 ticket was no surprise.

As a quick comment on last night's Democratic gong show (hardly a debate even by today's low standards): Obama continues to demonstrate his McGovernite liberalism and his lack of substance. As for the man's style, someone should make a modern version of "The Candidate."

Robert Redford's character in "The Candidate" was downright substantive compared to Edwards and Obama.

These guys are making Hillary look well credentialed.

Hillary is sure playing her exchange with Obama right if her sights are on the general election. So, if Peter is right and the Dem primary voters are "all about change" then Hillary must not be too worried about it.

Hillary's sights may be on November. But we have to wonder whether she's not falling into the clever Obama's trap when it comes to Dem. primary voters. Maybe we Reps. should even hope she is. Maybe only something like Obama's irresponsible naivete could make foreign policy a winning issue for Reps. next year.

Possible, but probably wishful thinking. Biden polled best of the second tier candidates. He talked more responsibly about Iraq and foreign policy. When the Biden voters have no where else to turn, they'll turn to Hillary. That leaves only the usual suspects for Obama. There are too many naive voters in the Dem. primary . . . but I still don't think there are enough for them to make all the difference in the end. I think it will be closer than H. would like, but I still think she'll pull out ahead of O. If she had any real reason to think she was in trouble, do you really think she would bother herself about the ethics of saying whatever she needed to say to shore up support? She's looking at November '08 because she knows she can.

They all--except maybe Ron Paul, I guess--try to say what they need to say. Julie, I agree you're probably right, and that Hillary will be hard to beat, because she's positioning herself as plenty responsible on the national security front. But let me counter anyway: The Biden voters so far would fit into my messy office, and so they won't help H. much. The Eduward voters (he's polling double-digits), though, might gravitate to Obama--as he positions himself as the anti-war, change, made as hell but nice about it candidate. The Vietnam revisited/African-American coalition might be hard to beat, especially, as seems likely, turnout is high from both voters.

I've got to give it to you: that's the best argument I've yet heard for an Obama squeaker. Even so, I can only admit it as a remote possibility. Among the Vietnam revisited/African-American coalition you discuss, there will be just enough who are neither young enough nor stupid enough to eschew victory. There will be enough who sense that the Dem nominee has to win in November if they are going to get half of what they want--no matter their personal preferences. These guys won't cut off their noses to spite their faces. In the end, the Dems always hang together in a way that gets the job done--or,at least, is more impressive than the unity of Republicans ever seems to be.

Oprahbama doesn't have the ... guts ... to run an all-out, meaning a tough and clear, campaign. He's really just a pseudo-intellectual pantywaist, running for VP, or, failing that, president of Black America. Along the way, he will become a universal pinup for Democratic and quasi-Democratic women. Some journalists may also allow Barack to qualify as a latter-day Gene McCarthy or Adlai Stevenson -- previous intellectuals or apparent intellectuals in the Democratic party. If Shrillary should lose in '08, the little guy can perhaps run for real in 2012.

1: Obama "a child politically ... straight out of a dormitory bull session." Exactly, Julie.

I agree with David 100%: Obama is running for VP, simple as that. The Hillary/Obama ticket will galvanize the Dems into some sort of enraged mythological beast which I have little hope of defeating. We need good news from Iraq in the fall to have a chance in 2008.

Obama won't do anything that will disqualify him for VP, and the H/O ticket, as Andrew says, is likely. It will be almost impossible to beat absent the unlikely very good news from Iraq.

15, 16: Oprahbama and Richardson are about even bets for veep. Another possibility is Evan Bayh. I do not think the Dems are unbeatable. Good news from Iraq is not necessarily the key. The Dems will not admit the news is good, and neither will the Democratic-controlled media. The American people's view of Iraq won't be a great deal better than it is now, no matter what. They don't have the sophistication to process the information necessary to judge this thing, after so much water under the bridge. Improvement in Iraq could help us hold the White House, but more important is an excellent candidate who runs and excellent, hard-hitting, and FEARLESS campaign. There is too much FEAR in your posts!!!

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