Friday, November 16, 2007

Post Game Spin

After sitting down in front of my set for a few hours tonight hoping to watch a spirited debate, a few thoughts come to mind and I wonder if anyone out there shares them. Before I begin I would preface my comments by saying to this point I was an Edwards backer, but his performance of late has left me wondering about his ability to turn his campaign around so I now consider myself to have a "soft verbal" commitment to his campaign.

I was really looking forward to this debate. After the last MSNBC debate i thought the field had gotten closer and the media was doing a better job of refraining from a Clinton love fest and actually analyzing the candidates and their performance. I will not speculate here about who won the debate, I think both Clinton and Obama had good showings, and even "my boy" Edwards said some important things although he didnt get much facetime. But I will talk about who lost this debate. CNN and Wolf Blitzer. How AWFUL was their perfromance tonight? Oh let me count the ways.

1) Rules are ok, they are the reason debates tend to be organized and the moderato's bias is minimized. How many times did I count Wolf (I love Hillary ) Blitzer cut off Edwards or Obama when they were criticizing Clinton? Just about every single time. Some conspiracy theorists out there argued that he was trying to break up anti-Hillary sound bites. I just think he realized there was a time limit when he was hearing things he didnt like. Further, every time he addressed Hillary he began the sentence by saying "Hillary you have beeen criticized for...". First off, stop making her the victim, secondly this is a debate, ask her about issues, not about how she feels about being beat up on. I agreed with Hillary tonite when she said "They arent attacking me because I am a woman, they are attacking because I am in the lead". So lets move on and discuss issues.

2) CNN, nice touch with the undecided voter pool in the front, but next time actually let them participate instead of giving them questions to read for Wolf. Seriously though, those people were struggling to pronounce the words in the questions they were asking. Let them ask the questions they want, I know they may not sound good or capture the answer you would like the candidates to address, but wasn't that segment really suppossed to be about them? Maybe not. Also, as a laws student I appreciated the question about the Supreme Court Justices, but Wolf Blitzer did the same thing the abortion groups (either pro or con) have done for the last 30 years (if not more). He Hijacked the position of Supreme Court Justice and boiled it down to 1 issue, abortion. Abortion is an important issue, but i am pretty sure the young lady asked about what would make up an ideal justice, not whether they were for or agaist abortion. The Permanent link between the two, the judiciary and abortion rights is tired. Call me a West Wing ideallist on this one, but will we ever consider jsutices on anything other than their thoughts on Roe v. Wade? Wolf even tried to ask the audience memeber whether she wanted the candidates to answer her questions or Wolf's, to which she answered her own, haha take that Wolfy.

3) And finally, because its bedtime more than because I am not still dissapointed by this debate, can we please get some post game analysist that did not work for the Clinton presidency. I know Bill was in office for a long time, but there have to be high profile Democrats out there that can do post game analysis who dont owe the Clintons for prior appointments (looking at you here Gergen and the Ragin' Cajun). The debate was defintiely the Hillary and Barack show, but their analysis that claims that Hillary took the boys to school is biased and flat wrong.

4) And really CNN, you ended on a question about diamonds or pearls? Ugh.

At this point some of you probably think I hate Hillary Clinton. I dont. I actually think she would be a great candidate and is probably our (read Democrats) best chance to win in November, but what I cant stand is the love fest. Be objective, isnt that what the press is suppossed to be about? I thought one of the most important moments of the debate was when Obama made the comment about the middle class not being 6% of the population. The crowd went crazy and Hillary looked stunned. But after a full hour of post game spin that moment wasnt mentioned once. (although i did take a brief bathroom break, but you get the point). MSNBC had done some of the same early on, but as the race got closer they got their act together. CNN let me down tonite and I wonder if anyone else out here noticed any of the same things?


Anonymous said...

I liked this analysis... what did edwards do to lose some of your confidence?

Goose said...

Thanks. I would not say he has lost my confidence, but I think he is not positioning himself as a leading candidate in his comments. I have agreed with his strategy to bring down Hillary since he began it, because I think it eventually takes away from the glow of her "frontrunner-ness". However last night he did not make many policy statements. He kept talking in the abstract about choices and about people not being perfect. So I guess although he has not lost my confidence, he is losing some of his footing in the race, and that scares me. Ever since 2000 I have succumb to the vote for who can win philosophy (hence not voting for Nader as cool as he would have been). So as time passes my support is wanning. This is all irrelevent however since I live in neither Iowa nor NH.

Mike said...

I liked your analysis Chris. I also noticed Wolf cutting people off as they went after Clinton but he cut people off all the time in other contexts as well so I did not think that was that offensive. I just finished watching the debate (thank you Tivo) and so I do not know what the analysts have said about it but I thought I would quickly share a few thoughts.

First, I thought that Joe Biden "won" the debate as much as anyone can win these sorts of events. In terms of substance and presentation, I thought he was by far the most impressive. The other candidates, especially Obama, seemed to answer questions in relatively indirect and convaluted ways. It seemed clear to me that he and the others were not comfortable directly answering questions so instead would skew the question to the "bigger issue" and talk about that. For example, Obama would talk about his "comprehensive immigration policy" rather than talk about why he was for or against giving undocumented workers driver's licenses. I was backing Obama before the debate so his performance definitely dissapointed me. Biden on the other hand would stand up, confidently answer the question, and sit down. I loved it. I was particularly impressed by his experiences with Musharef and Bhutto and I think his foreign policy experience would be a real asset. I know he's way behind in the polls but, after watching him tonight, I'm hoping that he will be the VP on the democratic ticket.

As far as CNN's performance, I thought that the final question was pretty stupid but overall I thought the questions were relatively substantive and reflected what is on many Americans' minds. Also as a law student, I was frustrated by Wolf's question regarding using a "litmus test" for Supreme Court candidates that don't support abortion. I thought Hillary and Biden handled it the best for what it was.