ABC's Democratic Debate

I must say, 45 minutes in, that this is the worst run debate I have seen so far. They have not discussed a actual single issue, and it’s been Bitter comment, Rev Wright, Bosnia Sniper Fire, Flag Pin, Weather Underground. (of course, Hillary taking every oppertunity to rub the shit in Obama’s face as hard as she can).

Thank god they aren’t wasting time with crap like foreign policy or the economy or any other policy issues and are just sticking with the important things like flag pins.

Weather Underground? Seriously?

Didn’t the New York Post warn us in advance of the 2004 election that they were going to try and make a comeback?

Hillary zinged Obama for being on a board with a guy who was in the WU, Obama mentioned that her husband pardoned two members of the same group.

On the whole, I think Obama came out a head on those crap questions by saying what both of them should have said – that the obsession of “gaffes” was a distraction and a waste of time.

Some day I’d love to see them (either of them, both of them, at this point who cares?) debate McCain.

Maybe I’ll go knock on Howard Dean’s door – it’s only about 13 miles from here – and plead with him to just declare a candidate already.

first half of the debate was completely lame.

Second half was a bit more interesting, got flavor of Clinton umbrella foreign policy for the Middle East against Iranian nuclear ambitions. Also interesting gun control/second amendment question, if a bit vague.

The tabloid crap for the first half was weak though.

Clearly ABC understands that the point of a debate is to manufacture damaging sound-bites.

See, I tend to worry about the weather above ground, being a surface dweller and all.

That debate was a good example of how bad politics in general has gotten. It took them an hour to get to any issue at all that wasn’t HAW HAW GOTCHA type stuff.

What’s the point of them actually debating policy? They’re practically on the same page on most everything.

So why not ask policy questions and let them demonstrate that, to the edification of the party? Why not debate about who can beat McCain, or whether the superdelegates should be allowed to override the popular vote, or the (actually pretty serious) differences between their health care plans?

If they aren’t going to debate policy, then why bother having a debate at all? Do we really need to spend an hour discussing whether Obama secretly hates America and White People?

This is turning into a PR disaster for ABC, and they fucking deserve it.

Here’s a lovely highlight reel of the mess.

Shales went ballistic, and he probably didn’t go far enough.

Gibson sat there peering down at the candidates over glasses perched on the end of his nose, looking prosecutorial and at times portraying himself as a spokesman for the working class. Blunderingly he addressed an early question, about whether each would be willing to serve as the other’s running mate, “to both of you,” which is simple ineptitude or bad manners. It was his job to indicate which candidate should answer first. When, understandably, both waited politely for the other to talk, Gibson said snidely, “Don’t all speak at once.”

Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities and obsessiveness over any misstatement a candidate might make along the way, whether in a speech or while being eavesdropped upon by the opposition. The tactic has been to “take one statement and beat it to death,” he said.

No sooner was that said than Gibson brought up, yet again, the controversial ravings of the pastor at a church attended by Obama. “Charlie, I’ve discussed this,” he said, and indeed he has, ad infinitum. If he tried to avoid repeating himself when clarifying his position, the networks would accuse him of changing his story, or changing his tune, or some other baloney.

And of course there was Stephanopoulos asking a question he had gotten from Hannity earlier in the day.

I’m not seeing too many journalists, even ones I think are flapping-in-the-wind amoral milquetoasts, try to defend ABC’s approach to the debate. Russert got asked on Morning Joe what he thought and he just begged off saying it wasn’t his place to comment on the competition. Yeah, I hope they get nicely bitchslapped for that crappy display.

What’s your Evidence that it is a PR disaster? Other than here in P&R?

I’d love to see them getting smack around for this empty headed nonsense.

EDIT: NM - Damn your fast fingers!

Read the comments at ABC news dot com

Leo LaPorte was actually getting angry about it on Twitter last night, and he wasn’t the only one.

Which they quickly turned off…

Looks like they’re back on now though.

Has George always been this much of a shit? Christ, I liked his autobiography.

Whew, those are savage - example

At this incredibly critical juncture in our nation’s history: two wars waging with no end in site, a military stretched near breaking, an economy spiraling downward, $4 gas, the sickening fact that we are a nation that tortures, a shredded constitution, and much more not listed, and the best Charlie and George can do is Flag Pins, Rev. Wright, and Sniper Fire? An utter, total and absolute disgrace.

Lawyers can get disbarred for providing poor counsel and unethical behavior. Doctors can lose their privileges to practice if they perform malpractices. Too bad Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoolous can’t be removed for giving journalism a horrible name.

Thats just the first couple I skimmed.

BTW, doesn’t having former Clinton White House Staffer George Stephanopolis co-host a debate involving Hillary at least risk the appearance of bias?

Did they ask about the Baader-Meinhof gang too?