Who’s On First?
…the debate seemed structured to further the storyline that the media has developed in the last few weeks, a storyline that only political junkies know much about or have any interest in: A Hillary has been spotted off the port bow. Attack!
Let me quantify my impressions. In the first two segments, I counted thirty-three questions. Twenty-two of them were designed to facilitate either another candidate attacking Hillary Clinton, or Clinton responding to attacks (either from another candidate or from Russert). Indeed, all of the major subjects were structured around attacks on Clinton.
Segment 1: How do Clinton, Edwards, and Obama Differ?
Segment 2: What Shall We Do About Iran? This segment could have been geared toward a more substantive policy discussion to tease out differences between the seven candidates. However, Russert and Williams framed the questions around Kyl-Lieberman, thus encouraging the six Democrats who opposed the resolution to go after Clinton, who supported it.
Segment 3: What Is Clinton’s Real Position on Iraq?
Segment 4: What are Clinton’s Qualifications?
Segment 5: Is Clinton Credible on Social Security?
Afterwards, I could only stomach so much post-debate “analysis.” Before I had to walk away from the TV to find the Tums, I watched in amazement as Chris Matthews interviewed Joe Biden and Chris Dodd – and talked about nothing more than Hillary Clinton (well – I suppose there were a few UFO-related questions in there).