Saturday, January 5, 2008

Live-Blogging the New Hampshire "Facebook" Debates

I'm live-blogging the New Hampshire "Facebook" Debates (yes, that's what they're called). I missed the first hour because I was at a Bollywood cover band concert. ^__^

Editor's Note: All of Blue's personal biases concerning the candidates
absolutely factor into her analysis.

First Impression:

* Tuned in mid-point to hear Richardson denigrating "a president who has ignored the Constitution and established himself in a dictatorial role." I thought "wow, that's ballsy," and then realized he was talking about Musharraf.

On Pakistan:

* Richardson proposes to invade Pakistan and establish a supervisory presence. Ten points from Hufflepuff.

* Clinton proposes to attack Pakistan, as long as we can do it without getting India involved. Ten points from Slytherin.

* Obama thinks both the idea of "invasion" and "invasion+force" are wrong, and invokes Iraq... then offers no other solution. No points awarded or revoked.

On the Threat of a Terrorist Attack on US Soil:

* Edwards says a long string of incoherent words. Ten points from Ravenclaw. Imitating Luna Lovegood does not a viable presidential candidate make.

* Clinton insists we will attack the terrorists' homeland, so that they do not have the opportunity to return to a "safe haven." Twenty points from Slytherin.

* Richardson says there are bigger things to worry about. Ten points for Hufflepuff!

On "Is Obama Inexperienced?" (This was an actual question posed to all of the candidates.)

* Clinton says that promising change does not equal change, and claims that Obama has flip-flopped on past issues (e.g. health care), which makes him a flake.

* Obama argues that he has not flip-flopped, but matured. Then he describes the single-payer health care program he would like to create: the "Jimmy Buffett pays more than Joe Schmoe" plan. He says people should not be penalized for not having health care (the Clinton/Edwards "mandatory health care" plan), since the people who don't have it are the ones who can't afford it. Quote: "No one wants to avoid having health care!" Ten points for Gryffindor!

* Clinton tries to steer the conversation back to the horrors of flip-flopping. Ten points from Slytherin.

* Obama asks everyone on the platform to please avoid turning this debate into a series of personal attacks on each other. The camera zooms in for a sexy, sexy close-up. All we need right now is some inspirational music. Twenty points for Gryffindor.

* Edwards says something incoherent. "The forces of status quo are going to attack." WTF? Ten points from Ravenclaw.

* Clinton reminds everyone that she provided health care to children in New Hampshire and the National Guard. She invokes her experience and her past history of accomplishments. Assuming she's representing herself accurately, twenty points for Slytherin. Pretty impressive!

* Richardson tries to recreate Obama's special "can't we all just get along?" moment, and follows it with his own list of accomplishments. Unfortunately, it falls flat, especially since he prefaces each accomplishment with "what's wrong with....," as in "What's wrong with being the Secretary of Energy?" Five points from Hufflepuff.

* Edwards just doesn't make a damn bit of sense. Easy on the eyes, though.

On the Tenuous Position of the Middle Class:

* Edwards says that middle-class people who need jobs can go work at Costco! Or at AT&T: "They'll even be unionized soon!" Edwards, tell me what kind of middle-class family can live on $7/hr. Screw you. Twenty points from Ravenclaw.

* Obama says that the lower and middle classes are working harder for less money, less time with families, and less health care than ever before. He wants to change this. He doesn't really explain how. Ten points from Gryffindor.

On Iraq:

* Clinton wants to pull out immediately. Like... tomorrow. Doesn't explain or predict what will happen to the Iraqis. No points awarded or revoked.

* Richardson acknowledges the giant clusterfuck that we've gotten ourselves into, and suggests pulling out within a year, although he admits that there are a lot of problems still to solve. Ten points for Hufflepuff.

* Obama says he has opposed the war from the start. He supports a phased reduction of troops, which will send a "clear signal to the Iraqi government." What kind of signal? He also says he will force the Iraqis to create an Oil Law. Um... I guess I don't know what he's talking about here, and I'm going to assume it's because of my own ignorance. Five points for Gryffindor.

* Edwards says that when the Brits pulled out of Iraq (when were the Brits in Iraq?) there was an instant reduction of violence. He says right now the American troops are acting like enablers, "propping up" Shiite/Sunni violence, and that has to stop. He proposes pulling out within a year. Ten points for Ravenclaw.

* Richardson starts trying to make that inspirational speech again. Still not working. The moderator tells him to stop talking. Ten points from Hufflepuff.

Commercial break!

On "Why do you think people like Obama more than you?" (Another actual question. Is this Facebook's contribution?)

* Clinton says "you mean people don't like me?" and then reminds everyone of how awesome she is. Nice save for a really ridiculous question. Ten points for Slytherin.

* Obama says that any of the Democratic candidates would be "better than Bush," although he's glad that people like him, because he represents change. Then he cites all of the things he's done that are awesome. It's about time, Obama. Don't let Clinton hog all the "I've done cool shit" glory. Ten points for Gryffindor.

* Richardson says that experience should count for something, and that he's the only person on the stage who has ever balanced a budget. (Guess checkbooks don't count.) Lame. Then he says that he's the only person on the stage who's negotiated with foreign governments. Worth noting. No points awarded or revoked.

* The moderator says that Richardson didn't actually do much as Secretary of Energy, and we still have the same energy problems we had ten years ago. Richardson gets pissed off and starts turning red. Ten points from Hufflepuff.

* Then the moderator asks Richardson a question about whether "youth is a detriment," and Richardson reminds us all that Kennedy was a very young president. Sitting next to him, of course, is Ms. Clinton, wife of the youngest elected president, whom Richardson either forgets or ignores. Ten points from Hufflepuff.

* Edwards says "this battle is deep inside me." Doesn't actually answer the question about youth vs. experience. Ten points from Ravenclaw.

Missed the next section because I was busy looking up whether or not Clinton was actually the youngest president, which is something I remember from high school but I think is actually... um... wrong. Internet says it's Kennedy. Ten points from me.

Okay... everyone's sound-bites are starting to jumble together. Clinton's talking again about how no one's done as much change as she has, and now they're all talking at once. The audience is applauding. I guess Facebook-users like this kind of stuff. ^__^

Blue Gets Loopy 'Cause She's Heard Too Many Words:

* Edwards talks a lot. Did you know he was the son of a mill worker?

* Obama says the best president is the one who can inspire an entire country to be better. Camera closes in on him again. He's like the SRK of the Democratic candidates... any minute now I expect him to start singing.

* Richardson seems hurt and disgruntled that he's not doing better. He's very defensive. Bad mojo.

* I think it's Edwards' clauses. He puts them in the wrong order. His sentences have too many provisional clauses, and by the time he gets to the object we've forgotten completely what the subject was.

On the Environment:

* Richardson proposes mandates. 30% by the year 2020, 80% by the year 2040. Not sure what that means. No points awarded or received.

* Obama sees Richardson's mandates and raises him a "100% auction." An auction? Then he starts talking about "cap-and-trade." I really should start boning up on my environmental buzzwords. Oh, then he mentions that Americans will have to sacrifice. I can get behind that. Ten points for Gryffindor.

* Clinton skips the environment entirely and talks about the upcoming recession. Once we get the recession taken care of, we can start working on energy efficiency.

On the Economy:

Blue's slipping, team. This is harder than she thought it would be. They're all using lingo and numbers... oh, wait, now Edwards is saying that our veterans are living under bridges and our college students can't find jobs... um... ten points for Ravenclaw... how can anyone listen to all of this and absorb it?

This is probably why the majority of Americans will vote on the "blink" principle. For me, that's the following:

* Clinton's smart, but she's too aggressive and I don't support her plan to kick the asses of other countries.

* Richardson is too volatile. He's getting angry at the moderator, for goodness sake! I don't want that energy running our country.

* Edwards doesn't make a damn bit of sense.

* Obama may not have all of the plans (yet), but Ceiling Cat Almighty do I want to get in line and follow where he's taking me. I trust, instinctively, that he can make the right choices when he comes to them.

And while I was typing the above, the debates ended. So I can say I live-blogged to the finish!


ctrlalteredmind said...

i have to confess that I read through the first half of this post and then skimmed through the rest (sorry! :P)

Obama did say categorically (his first line if I'm not mistaken) that he would strike west pakistan that "we know" is harboring al qaeda ("who are their strongest since 2001"), if there is positive intelligence about their location and activity.

I was a tad disappointed to see Obama take a weakened stance this evening, and with a noticeable loss of eloquence (and I'm told that NH is pretty much Clinton territory, and she was pretty persuasive).

Richardson was the only one this evening to mention the sad state of education in the US (and the huge competition presented by engineers from India and China). I'd say 50 points to Hufflepuff on that one :)

Blue said...

Ctrlalteredmind: Don't worry. I, too, read the first half and skimmed the rest. ^__^ Trying to keep track of what everyone was saying was a lot harder than I thought it would be!

Which was probably why I missed all of the details you caught. I bet I missed the West Pakistan thing because it was before I turned on the TV. I do remember Richardson's comments on education and should have noted them. Did he provide a plan?