The debate made me wish we could just elect the party, like they do in Britain, and allow all of those leaders to form a single executive government. They'd elect among them a single Prime Minister (assuming of course they don't go Pirate's Court on us and each vote for himself or herself as king), and the rest would slide into the roles for which they're best suited. John Edwards .... obviously the attorney general, if not for his legal career, then his Bobbiness, leaving young Obama to prove his management skills (and devotion) as head of healthcare. Richardson, duh, would best serve us as secretary of state. And frankly, Biden would probably make one hard-ass secretary of defense, assuming that someone more dove-like was his boss. I'm not suggesting we go with the consummate peacenik; sweet-singing Kucinich would excel as a secretary of education or housing, or even as the supreme guardian of the environment if we can't rope in Al Gore for the job. But if Gore was going to be part of this government, he'd fit best as president with Hillary as his vice.
This isn't an endorsement for a Gore-Clinton ticket, but my roundabout way of declaring the debate's winner, which I finally articulated while watching last night's torturous Republican debate.
Despite being a mess of technical slips -- strange wrong-answer buzzer noises, dropped dialogue, and a couple of camera operators who never learned how to pan smoothly -- the Republican debate was just lame, lame, lame, full of half-baked panderings and bald-faced ignorance. Hell, if I could see any of them working nicely with anyone to achieve anything.
The three worst things I heard:
1. GUILIANI: In arguing for the Geico-ization of healthcare, he said, "Health insurance should become like homeowners insurance or like car insurance. You don't cover everything on your homeowners policy. If you have a slight accident in your house, if you need to refill your oil with your car, you don't cover that with insurance. But that is covered in many of the insurance policies, because they're government-dominated and they're employer-dominated." His plan, in its vague and estimate-free current form, would call for an end of employer-provided health insurance, and instead, "we should be giving you a major tax deduction, $15,000 for a family, so you can buy your own health insurance. If you buy health insurance for $8,000 or $9,000, you'll save $5,000 or $6,000 in tax- free money ..." Right, so what about the currently uninsured, the unemployed, the disabled, the low-income, and most importantly, the children?
2. HUCKABEE: On explaining his pro-life stance, he said, "If you look at us with a contrast to the Islamic jihadists, who would strap a bomb to the belly of their own child, march him into a crowded room, set the detonator and kill innocent people, they celebrate death; we celebrate life ... It's the fundamental thing that makes us unique, and it keeps us free. I pray we never, ever abandon that basic principle." Basically, Huckabee's claiming that Muslims embrace a culture of death because they kill innocents, and Republican embrace a culture of life, because they're the pro-life party? Uh, since when is Islam pro-abortion? And how come, as a culture, we didn't take responsibility for Haditha?
3. THOMPSON: When asked how George W. Bush would fit into his administration, Thompson answered: "I would put him out on a lecture series, talking to the youth of America about honesty, integrity, perseverance, passion, and serving the public ... I think he could be a wonderful spokesperson, making sure that young people realize that public service is a very noble cause and something that young people should aspire to." I appreciate Thompson trying to put Dubya out to pasture (he started his answer with the joke, "I certainly would not send him to the United Nations") but the last thing we need is him corrupting students with his brand of "integrity."
None of the Republican candidates really seemed "presidential," and even McCain, who I've always kinda liked (kudos to him for opposing English as a national language and admitting to a fallen soldier's sister that the Bush admin fucked up) seemed exceptionally senile. And so I declare a three-way tie between Mitt Romney's teeth, chin and hair --- the same three qualities that won Rick Perry the Texas governorship. Go ahead and send Fred Thompson in ... at least he looks the part.
Between the two debates? Obviously the Democrats were more cohesive and coherent than the Republicans. And really, a big boo to CNN for general incompetence and showing me far too much of the back of Wolf Blitzer's head.