Here are three views of the first Democratic Presidential Debate held in South Carolina — one by someone who watched it carefully on television, one who was on the floor of the debate and a guest of one of the contenders, and one from someone who did not watch the debate live but watched the post-debate punditry and caught excerpts.
The names will not be disclosed.
View One — TV viewer:
The bottom line is that all showed well, though I don’t think Gravel did myself. Some think Gravel stole some of Kucinich’s leftist fire.
Joe [Biden] got the most applause and general commentary with his one syllable “yes” answer.
People think Clinton and Obama both gave strong performances. My view is that Dodd was lackluster — Joe was good. Richardson both good and some how not impressive despite getting a lot right. Why is that?
What bothered me most is that they still think that the best way to respond on GWOT issues is to whack bad guys — rather than steal the audience, or develop the global economy, etc. . .
But generally this is seen as a first showing , and that probably — no opinions changed.
View Two — There in Person:
The way it looked from here, Richardson came off as something of a buffoon, Dodd was invisible, Kucinich and Gravel were an amusing but distracting component, and Edwards slipped on his response to the “moral role model” question.
I would add that I was a little taken aback when Obama said China was “not our friend”. Now that I know, I’ll stop being friendly to them immediately.
View Three — After the Fact:
I didn’t watch it but listened to commentators on Larry King and learned a lot less about what people said than from your blog — though it sounds as if it is a lousy format for 90 minutes and so many people. They probably should have limited the topics and asked everyone the same question. Bottom line is nobody won and nobody lost.
I was surprised the Kucinich, the pacifist, has a loaded gun in his house.
Also I agree with Obama that we need a larger military, but not with just that statement. I haven’t heard any candidate propose what I would do to increase the size of our military and fix its broken state. I would go back to a much larger degree to the old days and get rid of Blackwater, i.e., and have support troops as part of the military and not highly paid mercenaries. And it will take years just to re-equip military. It is badly broken.
Interesting perspectives. I have to say that in my own critique of those who just want to increase the size of the military without a true “management fix”, View Three’s comment about the problem of private militaries and displacing them with official military personnel is the best counter-point I have read to my views.
— Steve Clemons