Archive for the ‘Democratic Debate’ Category

Philadelphia Debate: Whose Radical Links?

April 17, 2008

Flower Child

Last night was another debate that failed to live up to expectations. Barack Obama failed to give an adequate answer on his relationship with William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground. While the acts of terrorism Ayers was implicated in may have taken place when Obama was a tyke, this does not excuse him for enlisting his support.

Obama, however, did show fierce competitiveness when he pointed out that Bill Clinton had himself pardoned a former member of the Weather Underground. Had Obama wanted, he could have continued to raise the entire issue of Bill Clinton’s actions in 1999 and 2000, including commuting the sentences of several former members of the FALN, a Puerto Rican radical group, which like the Weather Underground was responsible for bombings in Clinton’s adopted hometown, New York City as well as the pardoning of the unsavory financier, Marc Rich, who has been linked to unsavory regimes in Iran and Iraq

Since Clinton herself opened the door to this line of inquiry, Obama could have also asked her to respond to this painstakingly-detailed report by Josh Gerstein in The New York Sun about her legal work on behalf of radicals, such as the Black Panthers and other as a law student. Clinton certainly didn’t position herself last night as the flower child she was back in the 1960s.

Thoughts on Tonight’s Democratic Debate

October 31, 2007

A little more than an hour into tonight’s Democratic debate on MSNBC, I have to say that this is Barack Obama’s best debate performance. He’s come at Hillary Clinton hard. He hit her both on disclosing financial information related to the Clinton Presidential Library as well as her refusal to accept the idea that social security could be in jeopardy down the line, which she called a “Republican talking point.”

John Edwards attempted to join the fray, whacking her for her acceptance of money from major donor groups, but he overreached. Both Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich alluded to his own acceptance of money from various groups — hedge funds and lawyers.

The debate has also made clear who is putting themselves in the running for big jobs in the Clinton Administration — Bill Richardson who was the first to tell Obama and Edwards to refrain from personal attacks, Chris Dodd, who seconded Richardson’s comments, and Joe Biden, who trumpeted his own long career in the senate without piling on. You could actually see Clinton nodding when Richardson was making his points.

You gotta love politics.

Finally, I would note I’ve seen Obama’s act before. This is what Jerry Brown tried to do in the 1992 presidential primary. He came at the Clinton’s hard. How’d that work out?