The Iowa Debate

First a few quick notes on The Iowa Debate was on this morning. You have to admit John Edwards puts the other Democratic candidates in a tough position when he forces Dodd, Clinton et al to admit that they will take money from lobbyists.

But Richardson is the winner so far today. His campaign is flailing, but he is doing something right when he notes that residual forces in Iraq is a bad idea. I was glad that the moderator, George Stephanopoulos, pressed the other candidates on the issue. (Gravel: "This is American imperialism here.") I was very dissapointed in Edward's "Any Democratic president will end this war" response. That is simply untrue. Most of them will leave residual forces and have no plans for private military contractors, which now make up almost half of the troops. But Richardson made Clinton, Edwards, Obama all look hawkish -- and in doing so appeals himself to the base. Moreover, he forced a rare substantive discussion.

Unfortunately, the rest of the debate was fairly unhelpful. The religion question irritates me. Watching eight of them try to out pray each other seems out of place. Gravel's response was somewhat humanistic, which appealed to me.

I was also pleased to see Dodd mention media concentration. This ought to be a huge campaign issue and I wish Clinton would get pressed more on it. She is cozy with Rupert Murdoch and the Clinton Administration passed the awful Telecommunication Act of 1996 which has led the way for unprecedented concentration of media ownership.