Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Democratic Debates- Las Vegas

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The Democratic Debates
Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Edwards won. Hillary regained her stand. Obama...Stuttered.

Democratic frontrunners Obama, Clinton, and Edwards took a more civil approach for their race to the oval office at the Democratic debates yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada. The viewers were happily reminded that the democratic candidates "are all family in the Democratic party," as Hillary Clinton humbly stated, "We are so different from the Republican's on all of these issues." This statement was genuine and sincerely accepted by her fellow party competition, and greatly appreciated by a largely indecisive audience.

MSNBC aired the debate with light humored moderators Brian Williams, Tim Russert, and Natalie Morales, while viewers were given the opportunity to voice their concerns and questions to the hopeful candidates via the Internet.

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This debate revolved around hot topic issue including the economy, immigration, health care, the environment and Nevada's personal issue with Yucca Mountain and nuclear waste. All responses from each candidate seemed thought-out, important, and honest, although each contender at some point of the night resorted to old tactics despite the pleasant light-hearted tone of the debates.

Surprisingly Barack Obama, who has experienced media success since he was first announced to be running for President, including his win in Iowa doing nothing but boosting his fan base, seemed to be on the defense most of the night. His defeat to Hillary in New Hampshire must have jogged his natural smooth-talkin' self, because for the first time he seemed to be losing. What was his biggest mistake of the night? When asked what his biggest weakness was he responded, "my greatest weakness, I think, is when it comes to -- I'll give you a very good example. I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it. You know. The -- you know. And my desk in my office doesn't look good. I've got to have somebody around me who is keeping track of that stuff. And that's not trivial." Although I'm sure it was intended to be a joke it still seems a little uneasy to me that this candidate doesn't even believe that he himself can manage something as simple as organization. Clinton used his answer as a way to attack him in a later question. She very brutally compared his lack of managerial skills to that of the Bush administration, a cold slap to the face indeed, but a correct one at that. Of course, though, Obama being the media favorite did not get much negative press from his response and no matter how terrible it was it will be forgotten tomorrow the same way Edward's is forgotten even when he's on the top of his game.

Hillary was talking heavy, and was the only candidate to express her same old ideas in new and interesting ways. This debate made me want to tell Edwards to keep the message but get some new sob stories, and to tell Obama to explain what "bringing people together means" and to find a synonym for the word change (EDIT: after looking up the synonyms I can see why this is the only suitable word to use, but still he should find a new approach to his ideas). Rethinking Hillary's win in New Hampshire, I'm starting to think that perhaps it was deserved, despite the incident that "humanized" her.

Edward's seemed to be the winner of the debate, yet still, somehow, does not receive the media attention he has deserved for over a year. A viewer from San Diego asked Edwards a vital question concerning many voters, "the policy differences among the remaining candidates is so slight that we appear to be choosing on the basis of personality and life story. That being said, why should I, as a progressive woman, not resent being forced to choose between the first viable female candidate and the first viable African American candidate?" When it comes to Edwards campaign I think this is the most important question to be asked. Edwards did his best to respond, reminding us of his poverty stricken past, and relating that to his fight for the middle-class, health care, unions, and the struggle of the American people. One thing he said that differs him from his fellow candidates is how he believes "the system in Washington is broken." Claiming he is a candidate that can bring the change that the democratic party has promised, because of his passion, and personal connection to the average American needs. With this beautifully construed answer I still don't logically understand why he continues to be to be third in this race.

Clinton remained cordial and verbally considerate, making me like her the way I did before the race became a chicken fight. However, her earnest side that she discovered right before New Hampshire came alive when she revised her opportunity to drill a fellow candidate with a question, and instead asked Obama to buddy up with her to help stop our current president from invading Iran. She did so, mind you, beginning with a long rant leaving me to wonder if she understood what she was asked to do. Although a courageous effort to end her aggressive campaign against Obama, and to bring up a vital issue regarding our current administration, I still don't understand why Edward's wasn't asked to party up with them as well. Also, why that had to be done at that moment? I wanted to hear real questions, from each of them, but instead it became a publicity stunt. I found myself rolling my eyes just like I did when she was eating that meal, and answering that question with "something in her eye" in New Hampshire.

Despite each candidates represented mistakes, this is the first time that I felt in a while that I was actually getting my questions answered with real answers. No one was selling me hope, slamming their competition, or making me vote out of guilt. All three of these candidates are advocates for change, and I wish that they could all be in apart of the future 2009 administration, but, in the end, only one can sit in that chair, and only one can change the damages created in the past seven years.

written by: Jessica Erven (c) 2008

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