Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Hampshire Debates

In an attempt to remain as unbiased as I possibly can, I wish to discuss the debates. Am I political. Yes. I am. I claim to be a FLAMING MODERATE. . In past elections I've been MODERATELY interested in the candidates, usually revealing a keen interest in their stance on issues as election day rolled around. However, this year is different. I'm addicted. I was so disappointed when I came home and found I missed the first 45 minutes of the Republican debate. I was fortunate enough to hear some of the commentary (what is with the FACEBOOK thing--UGH, who cares!?! First it was the YouTube debates and now this. Enough already! What's next? The Google debates? The Yahoo debates? The Blogger debates--now that might be interesting . . . )

First off, my general feelings--there were a lot of empty platitudes-- Obama is an excellent talker. That isn't a knock on him, he is just well spoken and it shows. He has a powerful presence and I'm sure that irritates the heck out of Hillary. The word "change" must have been uttered a few hundred times. I'm certain someone counted--how could you not. It was like an annoying teenager saying "like" every other word. I get it already--you want change, you are the change, we need change. Giuliani addressed this when he said that change is great, but what kind are you talking about? What do you mean by CHANGE? Good one. I wished they would have discussed the economy more--I felt they didn't address this enough and when they did, they were all very vague--must be a tough topic to tackle. They also didn't say BOO about education. One mention about how we need to get rid of NCLB, but that was about all I heard. They talked about the war, they skirted the issue of big biz making huge profits on gasoline, they hopped all over immigration--most off all, they tackled and hopped all over each other. I think there are some sore losers in the room after the Iowa results. My hope is that with each debate they reveal more and more of themselves. The simple fact is they have to crack open sooner or later. I just want to be there when they do.

Now I could go on and on about how they stand on the issues, but you can read all about that just about anywhere on the net. I am more interested in their overall presence. Are they honest (or have the appearance of being so)? Do they seem sincere? Passionate? Motivated? Are they PRESIDENTIAL? My poor husband asked me what I thought after watching the debates. He thought it was safe--I was peacefully sitting nursing J. He thought wrong. An hour later I'm certain he wished he'd not said a word. So, I share my thoughts with you. I'll keep it brief. Actually, I'll "bullet" my thoughts as best as I can. I've also included a performance score from 1-10 (1 being poor and 10 being excellent):

Republicans (I only caught the last 45 minutes--so my review is a little limited here)

Giuliani: Seemed reserved through much of the debate that I saw. His responses were calm and he was extremely well-spoken. He seemed confident, but not in an arrogant way. I was drawn to his head. It seemed, well, it seemed large. It could have been because it had no dimension. I'm sure the matte makeup had something to do with that. Overall Performance: 7

Huckabee: I've only recently taken notice of Huckabee. It could have been that night he was on with Jay Leno (earlier in the week). Tonight he and Guiliani seemed very similar in their overall composure. Huckabee seems self-assured (which could be a result of his win in Iowa). I'm concerned about his name--Huckabee. I can hear the goofy songs on morning radio, the brow-raising jokes on late-night TV already. I am already making up a funny rhyme in my head. Overall Performance: 7

Thompson: It seemed like he came alive today, in an understated sort of way. He had a few quick barbs aimed primarily at Romney (actually, who didn't have barbs aimed at Romney tonight?). He seemed much more on his game than in his earlier debate. He seemed rather presidential--a "take-no-crap" sorta guy. Overall Performance: 8

McCain: He was the McCain from years ago tonight. He has that same enthusiasm I remember seeing when he ran against Bush. He finally feels like a true contender. For some reason Romney thinks he can win by "beating" on McCain. I think McCain, who often works together successfully with both parties, is very well respected and I'm not so sure that people take kindly to this war veteran being bashed. Overall Performance: 8

Romney: No one liked this guy tonight. He came across as a slick city lawyer. From the hair to the facial expressions, Romney seemed almost calculating in his responses. He was out to take jabs and I felt that this deterred from digging into the issues. The other candidates clearly made him a major target. Overall Performance: 4 (you get 2 points from me just by showing up.)

Paul: He looks like the priest of the Catholic church just down the road from us. He seems incredibly sincere, like a sweet old grandfather. I keep waiting for him to offer someone a Werther's Original candy. Moth balls and checked pants aside, he appeared incredibly sincere in his responses. I really believed him. The question is whether or not he'll appear strong enough when he faces other world leaders. Overall Performance: 7


Clinton: She was on fire--not necessarily in a good way. It was clear that her tone has changed since she had such a poor showing (for her, anyway) in Iowa. She was on the attack. She is desperate to knock Obama from his perch--I just don't know if she can do it, even with all her experience. Clearly Obama has proven by his win in Iowa that experience does not equal a clear path to the nomination. She raised a good point about the changes she made and she seemed human when she confessed (if it really was a confession) that the fact that the New Hampshire voters appeared to like Obama better hurt her feelings. Up until then I think a lot of people wondered if she had any feelings that could be hurt. Overall Performance: 6

Richardson: This is another candidate I did not know before the elections started. He actually made some rather insightful comments. He even took the high road and encouraged his counterparts to do the same. He reminded everyone that he was a governor quite a few times, so clearly he has an advantage in terms of experience. Overall Performance: 7

Edwards: Wow. Edwards obviously knows where his bread will be buttered best. I see him aligning himself with Obama. He seemed the most passionate and energetic (his hair looked great and so did his pearly whites). As with Romney, I just feel Edwards is a bit TOO neat, TOO slick. He is a lawyer and no matter how he spins it, he did win huge settlements, but at what expense and at what gain (for him, of course). Overall Performance: 8

Obama: The man of the hour. Boy was he in a tough spot. All eyes were on this top dog and he did OK. The talking heads said he pulled his weight, but like I mentioned earlier, I still don't feel he gave SOLID responses--there was little substance. But boy is he one hell of an orator. I felt he also knew the perfect time to steal Edwards' thunder when Edwards went on an on about how he takes all this personally and started his teary-eyed speech about his family history. Obama was slick to move in on his moment like that. Obama also was rather repetitious as Hillary kept trying to knock him down--he knows he doesn't have the experience and was doing his best to leverage what he does have. Sadly, his defense kept me from learning more about the man behind the bid. Overall Performance: 7/8 (better than Hillary, but not quite as solid as Edwards).

I'm eager to see what happens on Tuesday. The madness of politics continues . . .


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rundown. I missed the debates tonight but hope to catch the next ones!

Beth is wfg said...

I don't normally get too into political debating...I'm a sit back and watch, do my voting privately, type...but I do have to say that not one of the Republicans impressed me. Either they didn't talk enough or they talked too much. Either way, I wans't hearing anything of substance.

The Democrats...On some things, they had something to say. On others, not so much. I wanted to hear more about education and the economy. They did a better job of balancing topics, at least. Obama came out ahead in my mind. Richardson feel the furthest behind (because of some gaffes he made in the beginning, I just can't see him dealing well diplomatically - especially when he SHOULD know better what with all of his previous "experience").

Allie Boniface said...

Hey, thanks! I didn't get a chance to watch the debates, so this was a good recap. Will be interested to see what happens in NH.

P.S. Didn't know there was such a thing as a "flaming" moderate LOL

L. Lemanski said...

"Flaming Moderate"--like that? Ha! It was the only response I could think of when my students begged me to share my political affiliation. I have to keep 'em guessing!

I was glued to the set this morning as the pundits recapped the debates. Looks like Romney did indeed take a beating and that Hillary is going to have a tough time stopping Obama's momentum.

Anonymous said...

Great run down. I am looking forward the next several weeks. I feel like I am getting to know the candidates more and more. I was thinking it would be cool if some of them would run together. It just seems I like this about one and that about the other. Makes it kinda tough at times.

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