I watched both the first and second Democratic presidential debates tonight. I was somewhat annoyed that the questions tonight still related so much to Iraq and healthcare, but some other important issues were touched upon such as the situation in Darfur and the environment. I wish the environment were taking a greater role in the discussion.
According to Time magazine, Gore isn’t interested in entering the race but he is interested in making sure the environment is key on the next president’s agenda. I’d like to hear him asking the announced major candidates questions. My husband wants to get ex-presidents up there asking questions of current candidates. I think that’s an excellent idea. Turn up the heat. Make it like a job interview.
For anyone who hasn’t heard the latest poll numbers coming into the debate, supposedly Hillary Clinton is the Democratic front runner at 42% with Obama at 27% and Edwards at 11%. At this point, I believe Senator Clinton will probably win the nomination, so instead of asking the question of whether she can win the general election which many people have been asking (myself included), we need to instead reframe it into a statement of how she will do this. We have no choice. The U.S. and the world can’t afford another four years of American Republican “leadership”. Many people dislike Mrs. Clinton from her time in the White House, but for everyone who’s willing to listen, I hope they’ll see there’s more to her than meets the eye. I believe she’s earnest in her willingness to work hard and rebuild our relationships around the world. We can believe her because she’s done it before.
Edwards blasted Clinton and Obama for not showing leadership by quietly casting their votes against funding the war recently rather than making vocal stances. The truth is they were probably too busy campaigning to make stances on the Senate floor, but Edwards’ comments seem to have helped him. Daily KOS readers voted that Edwards won the debate, with Obama coming in second and Clinton third.
However, the proof is in the pudding. Who really has executive leadership experience? Clinton showed leadership in the debate itself by responding to Wolf Blitzer about the hand raising on hypotheticals. The others on the stage listened and followed her several times. It was obvious they all consider her the front runner and it was obvious that they all respect her for all that she’s done as First Lady and as a senator. I’ve heard a lot of impressive things about her being able to build coalitions and partnerships across party lines. Now we’ll see how she does it to win the general election. I have some ideas, but I’m not going to say just yet what they are.
Bill Richardson is my new dark horse (apart from the obvious Gore if he jumps in). I originally thought Dodd could be one, but I now realize he’s too far to the right and just not a charismatic enough speaker to do it. I don’t believe Richardson has the political skills to match Clinton, but he’s interesting because he’s the one Democratic candidate with recent executive governmental experience and he’s interesting because he comes across with original, detailed ideas. (Not that I wouldn’t be happy with any of these people in the Oval Office; I’d just be more confident in some than others.)
Biden and Kucinich seem to have learned a little since ’04. They both are presenting better so far in the debates. I hope Gravel stays in the race for a while. He adds an element that I thought would be missing with Sharpton out. I like that he says what he thinks and doesn’t seem to worry about how it comes out. Sure, he’ll never win and he probably knows that, but it is interesting how he’s helping shape the debate. So for now, I think they’re all winners for beginning to get their ideas out to people. Tune in Tuesday night for the Republicans.