Friday, February 01, 2008

"The Democratic Party won tonight"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Whatever our reservations about Clinton and Obama -- and I have expressed them strongly, I know, as have others here at The Reaction -- we do need to keep in mind that they are both highly impressive candidates for the Democratic nomination. And the debate between the two in Hollywood last night showcased just how impressive they can be. They both have their flaws -- and some of them were on display -- but, well, here's Steve Soto, who is more positive than I am but who puts it well:

Both Obama and Clinton made a convincing case tonight that both of them are infinitely better presidential choices than either McCain or Romney. Both Obama and Clinton showed a command of the facts and a grasp of the real concerns facing everyday Americans, so much so that both McCain and Romney seem sophomoric by comparison. Both were still able to make their "change versus experience" arguments, and yet they still came across as far better prepared to take office than any Republican. They were able to make their differences known and still did so while the media noticed how nice they were to each other, thereby turning on its head the ready-made media narrative of the last several weeks that a bitter rivalry was set to destroy the party.

*****

After seeing the divisiveness and looming train wreck of the last several weeks, tonight's debate should give the party faithful and independent voters a renewed confidence that either Democratic candidate is the far superior choice this fall over any of the Republicans. That is the real answer to the question of "Who won tonight?"

See also John Dickerson: "[I]t was a substantive debate, perhaps the most substantive so far." And they seemed to get along, quite well: "Before leaving the stage, the two embraced, smiled, and had a close conversation with their faces almost touching. For a second, it appeared they might exchange an Eskimo kiss." Surely that wasn't entirely an act, right?

Is Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama possible?

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