I have to honestly say that I was bored and a little disappointed. I ended up only watching the first hour and fifteen minutes. First of all, half of the questions were about various squabbles between the campaigns in the past few weeks. I don’t think that all of those attacks are inconsequential, but I also feel like it’s pointless asking a bunch of questions about them when the candidates are only going to bullshit. If the answer to every question is that the person respects the other candidates and that his or her statements have been misconstrued . . . well, first of all it’s kind of insulting to the intelligence of voters, and secondly, it’s utterly purposeless.
That being said, all of the candidates were very cordial. It’s nice to see them not at each other’s throats. The problem is that they really didn’t discuss any of the issues, and I definitely blame this on Tim Russert and Brian Williams rather than the candidates themselves. They can’t answer the questions that aren’t asked. It would have been nice to see actual policy discussion in a rational, relaxed and nuanced forum. Too bad it was a televised U.S. presidential debate.
And while we’re at it, who the fuck keeps saying that it’s okay for Tim Russert to moderate Democratic debates? Who? And how do we get him or her out of a job?
I think that the sit-down format benefited both Obama and Edwards. Clinton seems slightly more comfortable at a podium, though I think that she did very well. She seems to be getting angrier and otherwise more comfortable. I have no idea how that will play out with the public, but I liked it. From what I watched, it seemed to me like Obama came out on top and was, in relative terms, the most genuine. He was the only one who actually answered the “what’s your greatest weakness” question when he said that he has personal issues with organization, and joked about how he instructs his staff to hand him a piece of paper “until two seconds before” he needs it. On the other hand, Edwards said that he “cares too much” (coughbullshitcough) and Clinton said that she sometimes gets “impatient” . . . because she cares too much. And did anyone else catch Obama’s joke when he was responding to Clinton’s criticism of his disorganization? He said that he understood that management and organization skills are a part of the job, which is why staff/cabinet members/etc are important, but also that organization isn’t everything. He noted that no one has ever criticized Bush for being disorganized and yet he’s still a shitty president, saying “I’m sure he never lost a paper. I’m sure he knows where it is.” The audience seemed to miss it, as did everyone else except for Edwards, who cracked up laughing. I had a pretty good chuckle at that one, too.
And for the record, Obama also got totally fucked out of his question for the other candidates. Absolutely robbed. They played it off like a joke, but fuck you Tim and Brian — you screwed him and you know it. Accidentally phrasing a rebuttal as a question does not count.
Anyway, what were your impressions? And is everyone else as happy as I am that Mitt Romney won Michigan? Not because I like Mitt Romney — I have a compulsive, slightly-irrational desire to punch him in the face every time I see him — but because I think that if we want an easy win, Mitt is our best hope. Keep up the good work, Romney!