Debate Drunkblogging -- Live on Tape!
8:31am (All times Mountain) I'm ready to blog this thing. I've had a banana for nourishment, and I have a tall Bloody Mary for, uh, further nourishment.
8:34am ABC News promised me a debate at 8:30, but my local station is running local sports and weather. If I'd have known they were running late, I'd have gotten out of this old bathrobe and into a shower. Yes, I really am pajama blogging.
8:40am With all this extra time, I've at least had the chance to get into another Bloody Mary. So this morning doesn't entirely suck.
8:40.75am ABC's "Good Morning Colorado Weekend Edition" is so bad, I just topped off my Bloody -- with nothing but pure vodka. We're not even to the debate yet, and already I've given up on life itself. Sobriety, anyway.
8:48am Just got off the phone with my PJ Media handler/editor guy. No more network access at his hotel, so I'm moving the drunkblog home to VodkaPundit.
9:01am I've been following politics for more than a quarter century now. Which means I can remember when the girls all thought that Stephanopoulos was "a total hottie." If you think that makes me feel old, wait'll you see George.
9:02am I'm not sure how fair it is to the other candidates for George to start things off by announcing to everybody that John Edwards has personally purchased Iowa already.
9:03am Hillary cracked a joke about the early hour, and it was actually kind of funny. And she cracked a smile, and it was actually kind of genuine.
9:04 We've started off giving Hillary (and Dodd, and maybe others?) a chance to talk about weeks-old gaffes by Barrack Obama. Wonder who George likes best?
9:06am Dodd's wearing the green tie again. It's early enough on a Sunday morning that I wonder if he thinks he's still in Chicago from the last debate.
9:07am Joe Biden, "I think I stand by the statement." You think?
9:08am "To prepare for this debate, I rode in the bumper cars at the State Fair," said Obama. Great line, but after the grinder he's gone through lately, I'm pretty sure it was pre-scripted. Well delivered, however.
9:09am "Aggressive, personal diplomacy... will ultimately make us safer," said Obama. He really is all charm.
9:11am George just nailed Hillary, with videotape, for taking nukes "off the table" her own self last year. Hillary deflected, talking about "the Bush-Cheney administration." Did she really just use the evil "Bush-Cheney" codephrase? Does she think she's running in the last election? She certainly sounds like it, when she needs to rally the nutroots.
9:13am "Hope and optimism, where did it go?" asked the Breck Girl. Uh, dude -- have you heard your paranoid self on the campaign trail the last two years? I'd say Edwards chucked hope and optimism overboard on the November night in '04 that he discovered his smile wasn't enough to win him higher office.
9:15am Edwards is also going to eliminate nukes. Meanwhile, Mike Gravel said we've expanded our nuclear capabilities over the last 25 years. Has he not heard of the START treaties? Did he not sign off on them? He also accuses us of "destabilizing" "democracy" in Iran. The man is clearly insane.
9:17am George just used a Karl Rove interview to ask Obama, basically, "Is Hillary electable?" That is the real question, isn't it? Obama's answer: "Boy, the last six years sure sucked, huh?"
9:19am Obama is now rambling about how much the tone in Washington also sucks. And he's going to change that by being Obama, I think. There's an old song, it goes, "Didn't he ramble... didn't he ra-a-a-amble."
9:21am Edwards said that lobbyists are blocking the "change America needs." Except, by definition, aren't half of lobbying efforts in favor of change that the other guys are against?
9:22am Hillary is running against "the Republican attack machine." I was sick of hearing about that long before Bill was finished with Monica. She's running like it's 1999!
9:23am Also, Hillary just claimed that class-action reform is just "putting money in the pockets of big business." And no reform is just putting money in the pockets of John Edwards and the ABA.
9:25am Edwards is scary angry, talking about "taking" and "beating" and "not negotiating" with... guys in suits. If only he were so firm with guys wearing suicide bomb vests.
9:27am Dodd has a real skill when he's speaking, for making me think, "Why is he here?"
9:28am Somebody needs to take Dennis Kucinich aside and tell him to stop doing that to his hair. Even Cal Thomas finally let a little gray show through the road tar holding his in place.
9:29am Democratic voters want to know, "When are we getting out of Iraq?" according to George S. Biden has a new ad, saying that we've got to get out "in a way that doesn't require sending their grandsons back" there in 30 years. Meanwhile, Richardson is arguing for a "full" retreat of every single soldier. "All of the troops out, no residual forces." Now that is what I call a surrender strategy.
9:30am Biden is now answering the Iraq question, and he's the only person in the room -- audience included -- who sounds like a grown-up.
9:32am Hillary just admitted that, in her role on the Armed Forces Committee, she's been leaning on the Pentagon to start planning her big Iraq Retreat. That's what the enemy needs to hear.
9:33am Except now she's saying that "Joe [Biden] is right." Well -- which is it?
9:34am "This is American imperialism we're hearing up here," says Gravel about Hillary and Biden. If that's imperialism, then my three Bloody Marys are examples of sobriety.
9:35am Edwards is still angry. Given the time of day, I suggest he switch to decaf. I can't hear him over the anger, but I can barely see him past the glare of his smile. It's a distracting, not to say nearly impossible, combination.
9:37am Now Richardson says that we need stability in Iraq, and oil revenue sharing, and maybe partition. And with no troops there after this December, how are we supposed to get those things, Bill? If Obama came off as the lightweight last month, I'd say Richardson has slipped comfortably into the part this morning.
9:38am "Residual troops." That phrase just sounds gross.
9:40am It's fun watching all of these guys, Obama included, trying to reposition themselves in front of the Petraeus Report due next month. Instead of "the surge," it's more like the "lunge -- to the right."
9:42am Obama is, as a friend said, a nincompoop. He wants an "orderly, phased withdrawal... so that diplomacy can begin." How does he think diplomacy works?
9:43am It's funny hearing Kucinich use the word "maturity" when he's shorter than my 19-month-old son.
9:44am Hillary claims she's relied on prayer through her life. Her usual one goes, "Dear Lord, please don't let Bill screw this up for me."
9:45am Mike Gravel believes in love. Picture, if you will, a warm, loving Mike Gravel. You're locked in his embrace... then he starts shouting in your ear and biting your shoulder like a mad dog.
9:47am It's also weird watching Democrats talk about personal religion. It didn't use to be that way, but I guess after Jimmy Carter, they needed to lay off for 25 years or so.
9:48am What's Obama's take on prayer? Build better levees for New Orleans. I swear he said that.
9:50am "I'll bring strong spiritual values into the White House," promised Kucinich. You think President Hillary Clinton will give him a day pass?
9:51am I've had 2.5 Bloodys. [Correction: That's 3.5, at about 3oz vodka per. Woo.] Is it asking too much for a commercial break?
9:53am Hillary wants to be a "smart, pro-American trader." So much for the best part of Bill's legacy. Sigh.
9:54am Twenty seconds to commercial break. Whew!
10:00am We're back, and just in time for a cup of decaf from my bride.
10:01am ABC News managed to find the one homemade video question that makes the worst of YouTube look like the best of Indiana Jones. Mumbling guy in black t-shirt standing up against the wall, looking like he's getting ready for his mugshot. Scary.
10:03am I got so distracted by Scary Video Man, that I have no idea what his question was, or why the candidates are saying what they're saying. Which puts me only 50% more behind than usual.
10:06am Everybody on this stage is running against George W. Bush. I've asked it before and I'll ask it again: Where were these people in 2004? Was Bush so scary that they couldn't run against him then, or so unpopular now that he's an easy mark? Either way, how do these candidates' actions then and now reflect on their ability to wage an anti-terror war? Or even to stand up to lobbyist bogeymen?
10:08am "Should more effective teachers be paid less than less effective ones?" I think the questioner got that a little mixed up, but it'll be fun watching the candidates toe the teacher's union line. For instance, Dodd wants to give everybody more money, no matter how much they might suck.
10:10am No Child Left Behind is so unpopular on this stage, you'd swear Obama & Co. were running against co-author Ted Kennedy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
10:12am Richardson just proposed the minimum wage for teachers. Which, in some cases that sounds like it might be too much. (Actually, he proposed a minimum wage for teachers, of $40k. But it still sounded funny.)
10:14am Gravel just dropped the teacher's unions from his loving embrace, and called for competitive pay. Unfortunately, he got so fighting mad that he couldn't complete any of his many sentences. Also, I saw a bunch of people in the front row hold up raincoats and plastic sheets with each sputter.
10:15am Kucinich just promised a lot more homework for kids. He might want to consider raising the voting age up to at least 22.
10:17am The question is, Should the Fed reduce the discount rate for everybody? It'd a yes-no question, said George, but it's still fun watching Democrats go after any chance to promise people free money.
10:18am Except for Obama, who's promising more regulations instead.
10:19am And except for Kucinich, who I swear just promised "more government control" of the economy.
10:20am Kucinich also just promised to "lift everyone up." He looks like he couldn't curl jogging weights.
10:22am Remember back in 1992, when Ross Perot compared the deficit to the "crazy aunt in the basement." Mike Gravel is the crazy uncle in the liquor cabinet.
10:25am OK, it's over. I'll have a brief wrap-up, briefly.