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Sunday, May 04, 2003

Bob's Debate Review
Initial Biases: Going in, my rankings of the candidates would have been: Kucinich, Dean, Sharpton, Moseley Braun, Kerry, Gephardt, Graham, Edwards, and Lieberman.
Breaking it down:
Positions: I learned a bit more about the positions of the candidates. Based on what I heard in the debate, I would now rank the candidates positions as follows: Kucinich, Moseley Braun, Sharpton, Dean, Gephardt, Edwards, Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman. (The first four opposed war in Iraq--Graham voted against it, but because he said the authorization bill was "too weak.") Moseley Braun and Kucinich speak most strongly on civil rights, both calling for repealing the Patriot Act. Kucinich and Gephardt seem to be the strongest in opposing the "free trade" nonsense.
Likeability: I liked Kucinich a lot when I heard him speak in person, but he definitely needs work on TV. For likeability, based solely on the TV debate, I would rank the candidates as follows: Edwards, Moseley Braun, Graham, Sharpton, Kerry, Kucinich, Gephardt, Dean and Lieberman. Edwards and Moseley Braun come across as very nice and knowledgeable, not much grandstanding. Actually, George Stephanopoulos, the debate moderator, was probably the most likeable. (Where does he stand on the issues?)
Electability: I would hope for Kucinich, Sharpton, or Moseley Braun, based on their positions, but based on the debate I would have to rank Edwards as the most electable. Something about Dean just grated on me, probably more than any of the others (except Lieberman, of course).
Winners and Losers: I'm still supporting Kucinich, but as far as the debate changing my opinions, I would rank Edwards and Moseley Braun as the big winners, Gephardt, Graham and Sharpton as small winners,with Dean a big loser and Kucinich (big lead to less big lead), Kerry as mild losers, and Lieberman no change (dead last to dead last).

Update (another thought): One round of the debate involved each candidate asking one other candidate one question. For some reason, four or five candidates chose to ask Senator Graham questions, while several candidates, including Kucinich, weren't questioned by anyone in that round. I think Kucinich made a mistake by posing his question to Lieberman; not only did it give Lieberman one more chance to say that he is "strong" on defense and homeland security, but it deprived someone like Moseley Braun of a chance to present a progressive position on war, trade or the economy.