Thursday, January 22, 2004

I was tempted to summarize tonight's Democratic candidate debate very quickly: blah blah Bush blah blah Cheney blah blah Halliburton blah blah Ashcroft blah blah Patriot Act. But that wouldn't be fair. There is so much more to it than that.

John Edwards seems to begin every answer by attacking Jesse Helms. But my analysis ends there, cause I forget everything else he said. Edwards is one of those people who makes my eyes glaze over when trying to discuss any subject more complicated than food texture (which, I concede, is a good quality in a trial lawyer).

Joe Lieberman's courage dominated the forum. The boos he got after passionately defending the Iraq war are a badge of honor as far as I'm concerned.

John Kerry angrily blames the dangerous fuel additive MTBE on the Republicans, which is kind of fun because this was originally an anti-pollution additive demanded by environmentalists. Kerry somehow manages to be both stiff and angry at the same time. He makes Al Gore look relaxed and fun.

"I intend to have a very interesting journey to the planet earth." Yes, Dennis Kucinich really said that. I swear.

Brit Hume, who has a supremely dry sense of humor, asked Al Sharpton a question about Iran, and the very concept still makes me smile uncontrollably. And then there was Al's answer to Peter Jennings's question about the Federal Reserve Board, which reminded me of that moment in every Three Stooges short where the snooty dowager asks Moe to explain the workings of some gadget he is pretending to be an expert on. "Well, you know, it's all in the action of the central frammistat! Get over here, knucklehead! Why you..." *pokes Curly in eye*

Hume had the best line of the night, saying to Wesley Clark, "I think it is not unreasonable to ask when you first noticed you were a Democrat."
Clark was so flustered by it that he could only mutter some weak non-sequitur about "family values" and then started talking about "the war against the Taliban in Iraq"--a line that, if George Bush said it, would go straight to the next Leno monologue. My favorite Clark quote of the night: "To be honest with you, I have not looked at the facts."

My favorite of the evening's many non-sequiturs was Howard Dean's "This isn't about gay marriage, this is about jobs." Dean did well, seeming confident and forceful even as his campaign gutters in the wind. No candidate can survive late night jokes like "I'm sorry, but I can't vote for someone I believe may have rabies."

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