Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Reinventing the Political Debate

It was the most different, and the most creative, of all the debates so far – and, clearly, the best.

I admit, I was skeptical ahead of time. Afraid YouTube videos would appear too disjointed, too unfocused, too off the wall. I was wrong.

Coming from average citizens, the questions were more blunt, more direct, and covered more territory than we’ve seen so far. And, as voiced by average voters across America, they were also more real.

It was moving to see a woman recovering from breast cancer remove her wig and start talking about healthcare. It was powerful to see a man in front of flags that covered the coffins of his father and grandfather say he didn’t want his youngest son to come up in a flag-draped coffin from Iraq. It was funny, but effective, to have a snowman ask what the candidates would do about global warming. 

Democrats — and Americans — Shine in Debate

Last night, I was proud to be a Democrat. I was also, as always, proud to be an American. The YouTube questions were clever, funny, substantive and from all walks of life — from gun-toting arms enthusiasts to gay couples to a talking snowman concerned about global warming.

The candidates were funny, substantive and passionate. They were also very experienced, exuded competence and stood in stark contrast to what we are seeing from the Bush administration. 

The New Journalism

Along with most who watched, I found the YouTube CNN debate last night to be a great idea, well-executed. The questions were sharp, relevant and reflected fresh thinking that is so often absent in the normal pack of journalism.

They also raised a disturbing question for those of us who travel in the pack: Who needs us? Hell, anybody can be a reporter.

Anybody, that is, who can tolerate the incredibly long hours of tedium, dealing with the hostility of newsmakers and their paid protectors, who don't want you to get your story. 

Things I Didn't Hear at the Democratic Debate

We heard a lot of the same old rhetoric at the Democratic debate tonight, albeit in an unusual format. Here are some things I didn’t hear.

•    “I have a plan to win in Iraq”: Every candidate has a plan to get out of Iraq. None of them even mentioned a plan or even ventured an opinion that winning in Iraq would be a desirable outcome.

•    “I will secure the borders and stop the flood of illegal immigration”: For those who care about this issue, the Democrats are in favor of amnesty, not in favor of border security. The closest any one of the candidates came to offering even a modicum of restraint was Bill Richardson's saying that illegal immigrants should pay something for the healthcare they receive. 

Gore-Obama 2008

In this video, Armstrong Williams explains why he thinks Al Gore will enter the presidential race this year and how Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) could be a suitable running mate.


America's Best Days Are Ahead: President Al Gore's Inaugural Address

One hundred and eighty-three years ago in this land of the free and home of the brave, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were breathing their last breaths on earth, ready to meet their Maker above.

On that day, July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years to the day of our Declaration, two of our great Americans adjourned from this earth, thinking of each other, with words that echo to every future generation of Americans to follow.

Feminism Not the Answer in 2008

In light of recent comments from Elizabeth Edwards saying Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) isn't attentive enough to women's issues, Karen Hanretty says in this video that politicians in 2008 need to "inflict pain" rather than feel others' pain.


Fredheads Get Antsy

Have you read about the Fredheads Sam Youngman reported on in The Hill today? They are wondering why their candidate, Fred Thompson, hasn't just jumped in if he is so set on running for president. You may have also noticed that Sam just reported Tuesday — yes, the day before yesterday — that Thompson's biggest champion in the House of Representatives, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), told The Hill Thompson was close to making an announcement. "My view is that he'll enter the race at some point just in the coming days," said Wamp.

Where is Wamp getting his information? Thompson is not set to announce this week; according to the campaign, he'll make it official in September. Remember the Fourth of July idea? That's gone. And Fredheads are getting antsy.

The Real Backgrounders

Watching candidates Edwards on his magical mystery poverty tour and Obama contending he was for poor people before it was cool, causes me to start thinking ... about photo-ops, of course.

I mean, what self-respecting politician would even think of presenting a media event without props ... human props.

In order to accommodate the television news imperatives, they come up with living, breathing “real people.” “Quick, find me some poor folks. I need to show compassion for them,” the candidate might say. Or, “Find me the baby a mother decided not to abort,” shouts the right-to-lifer. It goes on and on.

How many times will presidents and aspiring presidents use displaced Katrina victims as extras? If all that time, money and ingenuity had been redirected to their plight they would have stopped being displaced long ago.

An Inconvenient Truth

Just when you think the Democrats running for the nation's highest office have fooled us that they are in touch with America, one of them goes off and does something that proves they are out in left field somewhere. The most recent example? Sen. Barack Obama's (Ill.) statement that he doesn't have a problem with sex education being taught to school children — kindergarten school children, that is.