We've scanned the web to get a general sense (salute) of last night's Democratic debate and have been surprised to find that we disagree with most people--at least, according to the Drudge Report poll.
We thought Hillary was sharp, composed, articulate, funny at times, and generally, good. Obama was less impressive than usual. And we don't mean, less impressive according to the standard he set for himself. He seemed less articulate and more convoluted in his logic than we have seen him in the past. We were especially bothered by his default tack: lecturing.
George Stephanopoulos was good. Charlie Gibson was also good. We were shocked, shocked that these two guys actually put hard questions to the two candidates. This was a sharp departure from the love-fest nature of past Dem debates.
On Monday was we drove somewhere, we listened to the Sean Hannity show on the radio. We don't listen to Hannity very often, but when he has an interesting guest, we like to tune in. And on Monday, he talked to Karl Rove and George Stephanopoulos. Sean wanted to know why the press hadn't asked Obama about William Ayers. We won't get into the nitty gritty of the relationship, suffice it to say that Obama's relationship with this admitted terrorist is troubling.
Stephanopoulos has taken a lot of flak today for posing that, and other questions, to Obama. What do these people think? That McCain or anyone else is going to let Obama slide on these things in the general election? The only reason Obama has been as successful as he has been so far is because the press has treated him differently to how they have treated Hillary Clinton.
And this may be the wonderful irony of this election. Because of the press' love for Obama, they may in fact be doing him a disservice by not giving his record the vetting and scrutiny it might normally get during this stage of the campaign. As a result, things are going to come out in the general election--Chicago machine--that will seem like they are being sprung on or swift-boated on the Obama campaign. The truth? The press won't have done it's job so it will take that long to be found out by bloggers or some other source.
This is the double edge of the fawning press sword. Sure, he gets good, free, propaganda from the MSM, but because they don't ask the tough questions he doesn't have to sort through any of the tough things in his past. And we suspect this stuff will come back to bite him.
We first read Stephanopoulos' book, All Too Human, back in 2002. It was fascinating for a number of reasons: it was a window into Clinton's presidency and showed the man to be a flawed genius; it talked extensively about the policy development and rivalries among the Clinton staff; it illuminated interesting points in American history. Now, Stephanopoulos' book suffers from all the same problems common to memoirs: it is hugely tainted by the bias of the author.
It has but one source.
Still, Stephanopoulos seemed pretty fair in the book. He didn't point a finger at everyone else and exculpate himself. He certainly showed himself to be a smart, fair, and idealistic young Democrat. We obviously don't agree with his politics, but his book presented him as fairly reasonable.
And after last night's debate, he gained a whole lot more credibility in our eyes. He asked tough questions of both Hillary and Barack--questions no one else seems to be asking. Partisan supporters of both camps certainly didn't like Stephanopoulos' questions, but we sure did.
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