Sunday, January 06, 2008

Post Debate Thoughts

This latest round of debates was interesting. I confess to having watched a number of them, while simultaneously knitting, reading books, or finishing puzzles. But last night was the most informative yet, given the winnowed number of Democratic participants. We really got to hear what Obama, Edwards, Clinton and Richardson had to say--and how they said it.

It was striking, how annoyed we all were (all four of us were watching at various points of the evening) with Clinton. I kept wondering if I held her to a differing standard, harsher, because she's a woman. The constant self-references were distracting. It seemed like the message was Me, rather than here are the thoughts and policies which I support.

Her best moment of the evening? Easily the point when she said, quite honestly, it seemed, that it hurt her feelings that people didn't like her as much as Obama, then dryly noted that she would go on. It was a glimpse inside, just a peek of who she really is beyond the performing I will not be a shrill woman on stage Hillary.

Obama was good. Smooth. On-message. He focused on his message, did his inspiring JFK thing. As he said, words are important. Hope works miracles when paired with action. And he definitely makes me believe miracles are possible if we act.

If we're comparing Kennedys, though, I'm still idolizing Bobby--and comparing John Edwards to him brings me no disappointment. Edwards radiated populist fire last night in classic late-era Bobby Kennedy fashion. He brought us back to his message again and again: economic fairness and the tyranny of the super-rich.

Yes, I know that both Kennedy and Edwards were/are among those wealthy few. I don't think this dilutes their message one iota. Edwards is using his wealth to focus us on the injustices of the US economic system. He's the only one who's been preaching to the middle class throughout the campaign. Now, when suddenly this week the economy is the issue, Obama and Clinton are jumping on the bandwagon. But Edwards has been playing my song all along.

They are all Democrats. In the end, I'd vote for any of them. They all play my song, in essence and in point of most facts. Obama makes my heart sing, but I don't always know what he plans to do or why. Clinton makes me annoyed that I agree with her, even as I'm tapping my foot to her tune. And Edwards? He's not as lyrical as Obama, as stone-cold poised as Clinton. But I know exactly who he's singing for and why. Which is why he continues to get my vote, though he has no money to buy it and may well be out of it by the time I get to vote.



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