All eight of our Democratic presidential hopefuls squared off last night in the first of who knows how many debates down at South Carolina State. Today the press corps came out with a number of "winners" and "losers", so I figured that we should do the same here at 3QHQ. Everyone from The Fix to Slate to Joe Scarboro had their say on the winners and losers. Not that we give a shit. Here is our take.
Obama received mix messages. Many found him reluctant and milquetoast, trying too hard to maintain his status quo as the up-and-comer and drastically afraid to say something stupid when his already-strong momentum is crucial in catching Hillary Rodham in the first two weeks of February 2008. Yet there were plenty of others, like Chris Matthews, who found him sophisticated and deep. Then there was John Edwards who found him "high falutin'" or some such. HRC seemed to get positive reviews across the board, and that comes as no surprise. If you are looking for a careful, intelligent, centrist candidate she is your person. As a result, she will do well in every debate. This one was no different. Edwards was also mixed. He is hard to dislike with his old southern charm and $400 good looks. He also took it to the rest of the big 3 more than any of his compatriots (Barack and HRC, that is), but that awkward pause in the moral leader question certainly didn't help him. While we are on it, I reallllly felt that Obama looked around before raising his hand on the "global war on terror" question. Bush league. That was certainly my biggest critique.
Of the second tier, Billy Rich was the clear loser. He couldn't keep his words under control and he was gesticulating like a Valley Girl. Plus he appeared to be sweating profusely. Dodd was uneventful. Biden did well, but that is no surprise. Biden is a tight dude. Everyone loved his "Yes" answer, and his silver-haired patrician looks, and he certainly has good things to say. He is a longshot to win the nomination, but I presume he will come out of this fray with goodwill from a large faction of Americans. Meanwhile, someone in the blogosphere finally picked up on our friend at BHC's mantra that Kucinich deserves respect on account of his wife. She certainly towered over him on the stage last night. But seriously, Kucinich was arguably the biggest winner of the night from our vantage. He really brought the Quabbin Qabin down with his story about living in the same $22.5K Cleveland house that he bought in the early 90s. Take that, Edwards and Clinton! Imagine if Kerry was in the house. He spoke forcefully about the war, and his pocket Constitution gimmick was endearing, if a little contrived. Lastly, Gravel is a kook and need not be included in any more debates. In other words, bring out the hook!
Speaking abruptly from the Haymarket before it closes, we look forward to more debate. Stay legit.