Thanks to Barack, Hillary, and John for not taking the bait on questions designed to provoke them into more petty sniping. Last night’s Democratic debate on MSNBC saw moderators persistently egging on the candidates to respond to questions about race, experience, and likability, not from some loftier view of what each means to the presidency but from the gutter of past ad hominem attacks.
By far, the best questions asked last night were those from the public via email and those the candidates asked each other. Following the debate, Chris Matthews dove into commentary as if he was analyzing a boxing match, focusing not on the nuanced substance of the answers but on jabbing style. A hyperventilating Matthews spun Clinton’s focus on the failures of the Bush administration into a declaration that the primaries are over and she’s the winner. Whatever good feeling I had about watching three candidates carefully and thoughtfully define the boundaries of their common ground was instantly punctured by Matthews’ hyperbolic fits. The next time he complains that the candidates aren’t talking about the issues, I hope someone will stick a mirror in his face.
The winner? All three candidates. The loser? MSNBC.