25 things I learned from the Presidential debates on Sunday and Tuesday nights:
- CNN is pandering to the polls (but certainly making things more interesting) by placing the leading candidates at center stage in both debates.
- Ron Paul is the only true conservative in the Republican field...and he knows his stuff! I don't know if he'll ever get enough support though.
- Republicans do not like Hillary Clinton.
- Democrats do not like George W. Bush.
- John Edwards is trying very hard to paint himself as something of a Washington outsider, despite being a former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate.
- The Democrats are very concerned with health care reform (it took up a large portion of their debate and the candidates have specific health care plans). The Republicans are not (one and a half questions about it).
- Iraq is going to dominate this election.
- Tommy Thompson is under the impression that we can force the Iraqis to vote on whether they want us there or not.
- The Republicans are all trying to emulate Ronald Reagan.
- Hillary Clinton is doing a good job of portraying a knowledgable, unflappable image. She is the front-runner, after all.
- Tom Tancredo hates immigrants.
- Only one Democrat (Mike Gravel) favors making English the official language of the US. Only one Republican (John McCain) opposes.
- The Republicans either do not have a grasp of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy or they are refusing to answer questions about it intelligently.
- The Democrats, on the other hand, universally want to change the policy. As Barry Goldwater (a Republican, incidentally) said, "I think the question should be not whether you are straight, but whether you shoot straight."
- Rudy Guiliani is going to face some problems from the conservative base with his pro-choice beliefs. But for his part, he isn't backing down.
- The Republican race is going to get at least a bit more interesting once Fred Thompson offically declares.
- Mike Gravel is hilarious.
- Joe Biden is probably the most knowledgable candidate on either side. He seems to be a bit legislative though...I'm interested to see how that plays out.
- Barack Obama and John Edwards have interesting and opposite experiences with regards to the Iraq war.
- Mike Huckabee is an extremely eloquent speaker, and is going to get a lot of votes from the religious right if he can stay in the race long enough.
- The bottom half of the Republican field is fading into oblivion.
- The Democrats all want to repeal the Bush tax cuts for rich people; a member of the audience made them define an exact dollar amount that makes you "rich." It was funny to watch them try to sidestep answering.
- Mitt Romney=John Kerry (flip-flop!).
- Bill Richardson is trying to hard to remind everyone that he's the only Democrat with executive experience.
- In these two debates, the Republicans concentrated on bashing the Democrats, while the Democrats pointed out differences among themselves (with the exception of Clinton saying "The differences between us are minor. The differences between us and the Republicans are major").
My candidate rankings based on their performance in the debates, their stance on the issues, and their overall campaign:
1. Hillary Clinton; Senator, New York
2. Joseph Biden; Senator, Deleware
3. Barack Obama; Senator, Illinois
4. John Edwards; Former Senator, North Carolina
5. Christopher Dodd; Senator, Connecticut
6. Bill Richardson; Governor, New Mexico
7. Mike Gravel; Former Senator, Alaska
8. Dennis Kucinich; Congressman, Ohio
1. John McCain; Senator, Arizona
2. Ron Paul; Congressman, Texas
3. Rudy Giuliani; Former Mayor, New York City
4. Mike Huckabee; Former Governor, Arkansas
5. Mitt Romney; Former Governor, Massachuetts
6. Jim Gilmore; Former Governor, Virginia
7. Tommy Thompson; Former Governor, Wisconsin
8. Sam Brownback; Senator, Kansas
9. Duncan Hunter; Congressman, California
10. Tom Tancredo; Congressman, Colorado
Video of all the debates is online. I urge you to watch it and be an informed voter!
The Debates So Far:
April 26 - Democrats in South Carolina - MSNBC.com
May 3 - Republicans in California - MSNBC.com
May 15 - Republicans in South Carolina - FoxNews.com
June 3 - Democrats in New Hampshire - CNN.com
June 5 - Republicans in New Hampshire - CNN.com
More Debates This Summer:
June 8 - Democrats in Washington, D.C. - PBS
July 23 - Democrats in South Carolina - CNN, Google, & YouTube
August 5 - Republicans in Iowa - ABC
August 19 - Democrats in Iowa - ABC
Primaries for Alabama and Georgia (along with half the nation) are on February 5, 2008. The Democratic convention is August 25-28 in Denver; the Republicans meet September 1-4 in Minneapolis. The general election is November 4, 2008. GO VOTE!