One More Thought

April 16, 2008 11:44 p.m.

Let me add one more thought before signing off. I don’t think this debate will have much effect on the direction of the race. In fact, I’ve learned from past (often bitter — yes, his initials are AG) experience that the candidate who wins on points in a debate often doesn’t come out with the best result.

What I didn’t like about the debate, though, was the debate itself. Not only were most of the questions on partisan gotchas and frivolous points. But more importantly the questions upon which the candidates were pressed the most were ones that presumed the correctness of Republican agenda items, sometimes explicitly so — on taxes, capital gains taxes, gun rights, Iraq, etc.

There are issues like health care, and whose proposal will achieve universal coverage; some question about the credit crisis; perhaps some question about Iraq that presupposed that getting out is a necessary objective — like, noting ways that each has hedged on their promises to leave Iraq, rather than a question, the subtext of which was ‘what will you do when the serious people tell you we shouldn’t leave’; something executive power — a legitimate questions since presidents are seldom willing to renounce powers grasped by predecessors; the environment; perhaps, what will these candidates actually do — concretely — to crack down on executive branch corruption since Democrats have made such political hay of the issue at President’s Bush’s expense; perhaps a single question on the environment?

Do these questions presuppose concerns and priorities of Democrats? Yes, sure. But then, this was a Democratic debate. If they’d wanted Hannity to moderate, I’m sure he would have made himself available.

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