Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giuliani in Republican debate - I'm not just about 9/11. Thompson still languishing in delivery and in polls

Giuliani very effectively answered the YouTube question asking about whether he is running only on his 9/11 record. Giuliani cited his history of New York City service including prosecution of complex cases, reductions in welfare and crime and abortions, and working with New York's enormous global economy.

Thompson, on the other hand, showed his characteristic debate problems - a slow and somewhat rambling style of delivery combined with what always seems to be a limited grasp of the nuances that underly so many complex political issues. Thompson is no Ronald Reagan and I think he has little chance of a late surge in the polls.

Romney, Huckabee and the Republican debate

Mitt Romney was not "weak" in tonight's debate but he didn't really shine either. In fact the candidate that really seemed to stand out as a forceful and thoughtful proponent was Mike Huckabee, perhaps an indication of why he's surging in many polls.

Huckabee appeared the most poised as he addressed issues like religion and the death penalty.

As candidates often do, Romney carefully parses many answers carefully to avoid damaging sound bites. His exchange with McCain over torture and waterboarding left one wondering if Romney is willing to take a strong stand, though his abortion statements seemed to please the crowd when he said he was wrong to be pro-choice early in his career and is now emphatically pro-life.

McCain - we are winning in Iraq

John McCain has stuck to our guns in Iraq, and argued in tonight's debate that the surge is now working and America must stay the course in Iraq. "If we continue this strategy we can succeed", "There is a lot at stake" "Let us win, let us win".

For a deep and thoughtful view of John McCain see his Charlie Rose interview of last night, which offered some of the best insight into the character and policies of McCain as Presidential candidate. Charlie Rose, PBS

Republican YouTube CNN debate

Tonight the Republicans debate was hosted by CNN and YouTube. Anderson Cooper did a stand up moderating job. I'm not enamored with the YouTube format, feeling that the questions tend to be quirky or sort of "gotcha!" style rather than a thoughtful reflection on the perils and promises of our American democracy.

But who am I kidding? The American elections are more an entertainment and marketing excercise than a study in debate and democracy, and tonight was no exception to that as YouTubers did ask some good questions like "what will you do about Black on Black violence" and "What would you do to repair the image of America" in the eyes of the world?