Wednesday, February 27

He Said, She Said: Hillary and Barack in Ohio

Overall Impression

The NBC debate in Ohio between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last night turned over little in terms of new ideas, but managed to suck the life out of the those that had been covered. Seriously, is it me, or does anyone else want to scream "enough" when it comes to the "mandate" differences between Clinton and Obama's health care plans? We all know that it will come down to what Congress will agree to and then it will be up to whichever one is elected to sign it into law.

I am sure I wasn't the only one to wish things like global warming initiatives and how they plan to deal with the economic crisis would have been discussed.

Also, am I the only one who is less interested in the hearing "shoutouts" to cities in the state? The formula seems to be "I was talking to a [fill in the blank] in Parma, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Youngstown and [he/she] told me [place issue here]."

Who Won

Overall, I think it was Hillary's night. She was much more specific and explanatory about her views. The format of the debate was more her speed. She started off sluggish by complaining about being asked the tough questions first and that Obama, basically, is being coddled. However, after that, she was all business.

Obama, while not ceding points to Clinton, was not disarming in his counterpoints, which has been his strong suit. Like Clinton, he was prickly about what he deemed to be unfair play by the Clinton camp.

Who Lost

NBC's Brian Williams and Tim Russert who seemed to delight in the picayune statements from the campaign trail and kept trying to push buttons to get reactions. They also did little to keep the debate on track.

Lines of the Night

Obama

On distancing himself from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan "I don't see a difference between denouncing and rejecting," he said, adding that he would both reject and denounce Farrakhan if it would satisfy Clinton, a remark that drew laughter and applause.

On the Iraq War: "The fact was, this was a big strategic blunder. It was not a matter of 'Well, here is the initial decision, but since then we've voted the same way.' Once we had driven the bus into the ditch, there were only so many ways we could get out. The question is: Who's making the decision initially to drive the bus into the ditch?"

Clinton

On Going First in the debates: “Well, could I just point out that, in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time,’’ Clinton complained last night in Cleveland. “And I don't mind. You know, I'll be happy to field them, but I do find it curious. And if anybody saw "Saturday Night Live," you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow.’’

On Universal Healthcare: "It's just that I know that parents who get sick have terrible consequences for their children. So you can insure the children, and then you've got the bread-winner who can't afford health insurance or doesn't have it for him or herself. And in fact, it would be as though Franklin Roosevelt said let's make Social Security voluntary -- that's -- you know, that's -- let's let everybody get in it if they can afford it -- or if President Johnson said let's make Medicare voluntary. "

1 comment:

Kevin said...

"it would be as though Franklin Roosevelt said let's make Social Security voluntary -- that's -- you know, that's -- let's let everybody get in it if they can afford it -- or if President Johnson said let's make Medicare voluntary"

Great questions. I was taken aback the first time I heard her say this. Modern liberalism, like conservatism, has never been much about voluntarism and this twist in the conversation highlights that fact. But, I think Clinton's rhetorical questions demand a great deal of non-rhetorical discussion. A good starting point: is there any value, separate and apart from (other?) practical consequences, of making something voluntary rather than mandatory? And, if so, is that value additive across people and across weeks & years?