Liveblogging The Democratic Debate At 8 PM EST

Tonight at 8 PM EST, I will be liveblogging the Democratic debate. As I have thoughts about the debate during the day, I’ll add them here.

11:12: I expect Hillary to continue to have problems tonight because the thing she’s being attacked for, being slippery, is a core part of her persona. Yes, she can script some clever response for painful flip flops on the driver’s license issue, but once you get right down to it, she’s like that on almost everything.

7:59: This is the first Democratic debate that I have actually looked forward to watching, just because I am sure they’re going to tear chunks out of Hillary Clinton.

8:02: This is different. Normally, they talk about how short on time they are and how they’ve got to hurry. Tonight, they’re acting like they have so much time that they can bring all the candidates out for a round of applause before they get started.

8:04: No Mike Gravel! Frownie face!

8:06: Wow, they’re still wasting time. What is this crap? Why am I listening to CNN analysts and not the candidates at 8:06?

8:08: If candidates start going off topic, I’ll stop them immediately..sure you will, Wolf!

8:10: Hillary gets a question about how she doesn’t really answer questions and now they’re giving Obama an opportunity to pick up where he left off in the last election. I like it.

8:14: Senator Obama, don’t interrupt Hillary the way she interrupted you. Some idiot is yelling in the audience. No idea what he was saying or what he wanted.

8:15: Now Edwards is finally getting a chance to attack Hillary. Rowwwr, this kitten has fangs!

8:17: Clinton keeps repeating this whole, “I have been active for 35 years!”

8:18: Joe, what do you think about giving the top contenders all the time and ignoring people like you!

8:20: Roberts is defending Hillary. He’s chastising that mean old John Edwards for changing his positions and picking on Hillary.

8:22: All the applause is kind of distracting.

8:25: John Edwards makes a planted question joke. Funny.

8:25: Biden is pretty funny.

8:26: Ok, we’re 26 minutes in and they still haven’t given Dennis Kucinich a question.

8:28: A question about illegal immigration for Barack. I don’t think he’s scoring any points with his answer.

8:29: Barack is starting to sound a little shifty on driver’s licenses for illegals himself. What a killer mistake.

8:30: Hahaha! Barack isn’t giving a straight answer either.

8:31: Kucinich: There aren’t any illegal people! Oh — Wolf will interrupt Kucinich when he goes off topic, but not any of the big guys.

8:33: Wolf is a terrible moderator and this has been a really sloppily run debate.

8:34: The whole stage came across horrible over illegal immigration.

8:34 By the way, Joe Biden has been far more impressive than any of the top candidates so far. Funny, likable, direct.

8:35: Chris Dodd can’t be honest and say, “I oppose merit pay because the teachers unions tell me to do it.” That’s all there is to it.

8:37: I have to give Wolf credit for actually challenging the candidates — well, Dodd and Kucinich, on their slavish devotion to unions.

8:38: Bill Richardson is really working hard to get that Teacher’s Union endorsement. $40,000 minimum salaries. Wonder what that would cost?

8:39: Hillary opposes rewarding excellent teachers with merit pay because the teachers are a team. Please.

8:42: Ok, this debate is officially tedious now.

8:45: Oh boy, I love listening to these guys natter on about Pakistan! Unless Musharraf is really nice, we’ll cut this guy off at the knees! Ok, so where would that leave us?

8:47: Bill Richardson: Human rights are more important than America’s national security? He says yes, but the correct answer is no. That sort of thinking is exactly why Jimmy Carter allowed Iran to be taken over by the Mullahs.

8:49: Hey, Chris Dodd got the answer right. The security of the country is more important than human rights. No wonder this guy is getting nowhere. He cares about national security and opposes driver’s licenses for illegals. That practically makes him a Nazi to liberals.

8:51: Wow, Hillary answered it and did it better than Barack, who didn’t give a straight answer.

8:52: Dennis Kucinich is mad that he got ignored again.

8:53: Oooooh, he’s asking if the surge is working. Richardson: No, it’s a failure!

8:54: Richardson, we need an all Arab force patrolling Iraq. Oh, I’m sure that’ll work out. He should just suggest that we build a robot army and send it over there to replace our troops. That’s just as practical.

8:55: According to Kucinich, we’re now responsible for all the instability in Muslim nations. Great!

8:57: These guys are running exactly the same script post-surge as pre-surge on Iraq.

8:59: After an hour, Joe Biden is winning with Chris Dodd in 2nd. The losers? Bill Richardson comes off as radically nutty. Barack has been really unimpressive, too. I think John Edwards has been more impressive than Hillary, but neither of them has done very well.

9:04: Hillary, as co-President, is technically responsible for NAFTA, isn’t she? The whole idea that we can enforce our idea of “labor rights” and “environmental rights” in the nations we’re trading with is ridiculous.

9:06: Incidentally, the Democrats are more in line with the American people than the GOP on China. People aren’t going to be interested in free trade if they believe it means we have to put up with poisonous products from China.

9:07: Now, we get to the portion of the debate where everyone lies about how they won’t support a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada.

9:08: Barack sounds silly here. We shouldn’t just accept that we can magically find a way to get rid of nuclear waste.

9:09: According to Bill Richardson, the future of energy isn’t coal, oil, and nuclear power. So, what is it then? Wind? Solar? Ethanol? There’s no evidence so far that they’re going to be the future right now.

9:11: They’re asking Hillary about her exploitation of the gender card. Bold. She answered it fine — meaning she dodged the whole thing.

9:12: Ha! Now Hillary is playing the gender card after saying she wasn’t playing the gender card. Fathers bring their daughters hours to my events. I want to break the glass ceiling. Translation: Vote for me because I am a girl!

9:15: Edwards actually got booed for taking a mild jab at Hillary there. No one is allowed to get away with criticizing the queen!

9:16: They’ve got commercials running now, but I think the thing that stands out so far is how unimpressive the whole field, other than Dodd and Biden, neither of whom can win, has been.

9:23: Know what this is like? Imagine a Republican debate where Rudy, Mitt, McCain, Huckabee, and Fred were really unimpressive and the only two candidates who came across well were Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo.

9:25: What kind of question is that on Iran? She’s basically saying she will vote for whoever will promise to let Iran have nuclear weapons.

9:26: Biden basically just said that Bush should be impeached if he hits Iran, but that Congress won’t approve stopping Iran from getting nukes via force. On the other hand, if you ask Biden whether we should use force to stop Iran from getting nukes, he’d say yes. They’re such hypocrites on this issue.

9:28: Hillary is having it both ways on Iran, but they’ll all do that so they can’t call her on it.

9:29: John Edwards just summed up the Democratic Party’s misplaced priorities on this issue. Their priority is stopping Bush, not preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

9:33: Wow, there was a lot of empty seats in the shot behind Bill Richardson there.

9:37: The Patriot Act doesn’t advocate racial profiling, so how did this get into a Patriot Act debate? Oh, and this is great. John Edwards will close Gitmo, stop spying on Americans talking to Al-Qaeda overseas, and gut the Patriot Act. I can’t wait until our candidate gets into a debate on national security with one of these candidates.

9:39: This is a great question. Is terrorism related to securing the border? They’re handing it to Bill Richardson, because he even opposes building a border fence. Wow.

9:41: Chris Dodd knows Spanish and goes on way too long in a foreign tongue.

9:43: What do they plan to do to make sure Medicare and Social Security are available long term despite the deficit. Great question,…

9:44: Obama: Stop the War! Ah, Ok. We’ll jack taxes way up on the rich to fix Social Security. Incidentally, isn’t that the Democratic solution to just about every problem and funding every program? Has anyone read these people the parable about killing the goose that laid the golden egg?

9:47: Hillary is all about fiscal responsibility! How does that square with the fact that she wants to implement all sorts of massive new government programs? Ooooh, Barack just compared Hillary to Mitt and Rudy. That’s a low blow in Democratic circles — and they booed him. Again, no one is allowed to speak up to the queen.

9:50: I was going to write something, but I forget what it is. I think it’s because listening to this much nonsense in one two hour period is sucking my will to live away =D

9:54: We’re back from the commercial break and Chris Dodd is talking about liberal judges. He said that he doesn’t want to apply a litmus test, but that he wouldn’t want any judge who opposes Roe v. Wade.

9:55: Would you insist that any candidate support Roe v. Wade? Of course, they would. You only have to wonder about what the judges will do when the Republicans appoint them. Liberals always appoint diehard ultra-libs.

9:59: We’re still on this issue, which is kind of weird, because it’s like asking Democrats if they support higher taxes on the rich. Of course they do. They always do. That’s what they’re all about.

10:02: That’s sort of a weird question. What are you going to do to make things better in the Middle East and unite the country? Barack is now saying that politics should stop at the water’s edge. Well, it’s nice to see that after Democrats have undermined Bush’s policy for two terms — and Obama thinks he can unite Republicans and Democrats around closing Gitmo and giving more rights to terrorists?

10:04: Hoo-boy, now Hillary is talking about how she can unite the country. Oh yeah, that could happen.

10:06: It’s 10:06? When does this thing end?

10:06: Incidentally, George Bush bent over backwards to make nice with the Democrats. In fact, he has gone so overboard on it that he has been like a punching bag as they’ve beaten him into the ground. Why would anyone think one of these Democrats could unite the country after that?

10:08: Do you like diamonds or pearls? Ok, that may be the stupidest question out of any of the debates so far.

Summary: This debate was poorly run and it was sheer punishment to watch.

As to the Hillary vs. Edwards and Barack fight, she seemed to manage to stop the bleeding. She defended herself from attacks and the crowd didn’t seem to like it when Clinton was attacked. Moreover, she managed to get off surprisingly light on the driver’s license issue.

Who won: Joe Biden. Runner up: Chris Dodd.
Who lost: Bill Richardson, who comes across as being almost as radical as Kucinich.
Out Of The Big 3: Winner — John Edwards. 2nd place by a nose — Hillary. Loser — Obama, who was way off his game and surprisingly stumbled on a question about his position on drivers licenses for illegals.

The really fascinating thing about this debate is how awful all the top candidates on the Democratic side are. The most appealing guy on the stage was, without question, Joe Biden, who has no chance to win.

PS: I was watching the CNN after debate analysis and it was David Gergen and James Carville joining Anderson Cooper. In other words, both of the guests analyzing the debate are former Clinton employees. Is that funny or what?

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