Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama Appeals to the Good Sense of Americans in 21st Democratic Debate Tonight

David Gergen on CNN thought both candidates were "pandering," Howard Fineman on MSNBC thought the debate was stale, and Patrick Buchanan, also on MSNBC, thought Barack Obama did not have a very good night ... but I thought it was the ABC-TV questioners who didn't have a very good night, and the candidates made this 21st Democratic debate the best so far. Hillary Clinton was her customarily clear debating self. But Barack Obama made some important progress in his continuing campaign to practice a new kind of politics in this election - one which respects the intelligence and rationality of the American.

Obama was hit with bevy of volleys about not wearing a flag pin, his friendship with Weatherman radical William Ayers, his relationship with Rev. Wright, etc.

And Obama pointed out that this is not what the election is about - and not what Americans are interested in hearing. These discussions do nothing to fix what is wrong with America.

There were some important questions mixed in with this trivia - about taxes, Iraq, soaring gas prices, and the like. Clinton and Obama both answered them well.

But as long as the media insist on harping on why a candidate does not wear a flag pin, the American people will have to work that much harder to get at the issues that count. (Hillary was hit by this harping too, when she was asked about her misreporting of her Bosnia experience.)

Obama has been staking his whole campaign on the Jeffersonian assumption that people are up to this task - on the view of John Milton, who thought that when truth and falsity, triviality and profundity, fight it out on in the arena of public opinion, truth and profundity will win.

It hasn't in the last two general elections, and the media aren't making it easy now, but I'm betting that even if truth doesn't prevail in the Pennsylvania primary next week, it will still make a good showing. And, whatever happens in Pennsylvania, it will prevail in August and, most importantly, in November.
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