Well, I hope we’re over the canard of the Neverending Barack Lovefest by the American Media after the flurry of bombs tossed at Barack Obama by the moderators at this evening’s Philadelphia debate.
It may not have been the long knives out tonight, but there were a lot of shivs and a lot of people got their licks in on the erstwhile Boy Wonder of the Democratic Party. And the candidate responded with righteous indifference and not enough indignance.
Not to take Howard Wolfson’s word for it, but this wasn’t the front-runner’s best night. A chink in the armor was inevitable, especially given the pummeling he endured during the first several questions of the debate. Because of the ABC’s infinite wisdom in airing the debate at 5:00 PM Pacific Time and my infinite wisdom in darting out the door today without setting my TiVo, I’m left to sifting through the detritus of cable coverage to piece together the season’s 21st Democratic debate.
“I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure that one of us takes the oath of office next January…I think that needs to be the overriding goal.” That was Hillary’s obligatory appearance at magnanimity, which she trots out at least once or twice whenever they’re on stage together before heading out on the campaign trail the next day and sticking a knife between his ribs. I’m going to wait until tomorrow’s news from the campaign trail before I offer an honest assessment of Hillary’s sincerity.
Obama seemed tired and defensive through much of the evening as he was pounded, but his defenses never rose to indignant passion. He’s going to have to bring a bigger game if he is going to hold his own against McCain and the 527 hit machines that the Arizona Senator has disavowed and will not bat an eye at using to his advantage come this fall.
I was heartened to see that, with the economy in the tank, American boys dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, foreclosures reaching an all-time high, the dollar languishing against the rest of the world’s currency, the man who attacked us seven years ago still at large, and over 40 million Americans without health insurance that we’re still asking the important question of the man who may be our next President: Why won’t you wear a flag pin?
George Stephanopoulos wins the Bernard Shaw Award For Excess In The Defense Of Moderation for channeling Sean Hannity in asking Obama about his connection with ex-Weatherman William Ayers. Ayers is a former member of the Weather Underground who defends his organization’s use of homemade bombs during the 1960s who once hosted an event at his home for State Senate candidate Barack Obama in the 1990s. Hannity has been lobbying for the better part of a week for Obama to be pressed on this association, and schlock puppet George S. was more than happy enough to oblige. I half-expected a question about Michelle Obama being raped by Reverend Wright. As Thom Hartman put it on Portland’s Air America affiliate this morning, “Clearly Stephanopoulos is still working for the Clintons.”
The crowd was booing and heckling Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson by the end of the evening. They weren’t the only ones. Media critic Tom Shales said the Gibson and Stephanoloulos “turned in shoddy, despicable performances….Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities.”
This was Obama’s best response of the night when he asserted that the American people were smarter than Stephanopoulos was giving them credit for in being able to separate the candidate from a man he had a passing association with who did or said something nearly forty years ago.
Hillary couldn’t let that one go and jumped in with a “yes, but…” Obama could have hammered her for her service on the Wal-Mart board but let her go with the reminder that her husband pardoned two members of the Weather Underground.
In any case the only service Gibson and Stephanopoulos did for the wheezing franchise of network news was possibly a funeral service.
The stunner of the evening was Hillary finally admitting to her confounding whopper about Tuzla. “I’m sorry I said it. I said some things that I knew not to be the case.” That kind of candor a few months ago might have gotten you nominated, ma’am.
NO ROCCA: I wondered at first if he pulled a Dennis Miller and enlisted in the GOP, because at tonight’s Radio & TV Correspondents Dinner, Mo Rocca was dreadfully unfunny. The gold standards have been Don Imus in 1996 and far and away Steven Colbert in 2006, who were so inappropriate they made you want to crawl under your seat. Mo registered a massive cringe-factor for all the wrong reasons. If you’re a comic, you’ve had a very bad night when you’re blown off the dais by Mitt Romney.