Final Debate, Final Analysis

Well, that was the end of the final debate of the primary season, and I think I have just enough time before losing internet availability to get in a quick analysis.  So who won?

No one really.  This was essentially a repeat of yesterday’s Republican debate in terms of how utterly boring and tight it was. There were hardly any direct exchanges, and there just wasn’t much there there.  There are a few things to take note.

-As mentioned in an earlier post, I think Obama gets the line of the day with the, “I look forward to you advising me, too,” quip.  The barb was delivered after Obama was asked about having so many former Clinton advisors in his campaign, and Hillary cackled thereafter.  Funny, confident, and a good retort to what could be perceived as shrill smugness on behalf of the former first lady.

-It could be just me, but I think the lower tiered candidates actually got more time than they usually do, and sounded good for it as well.  Obviously, this isn’t going to result in appreciable returns in the polls, but there might be a minor shift away from Hillary, Obama and Edwards towards some of these lower tiered.  This shift, if it occurs, will most likely have little to no effect, but it was still kind of nice to see them mix it up.

Ben Smith picks up on one barb that Hillary managed to dig on Obama and Edwards, and Washburn promptly directed attention away from the question to prevent them answering.  The jab was in Hillary’s “presentation” in which she said, “Some say you get change by demanding it, others by hoping for it.  I believe you get change by working for it.”  It was a cute little shot, and somewhat substantive, but one that isn’t backed up by the facts on the ground.  If anything, a Hillary presidency would undoubtedly look the most like a Bush presidency out of any of the top three.

Heading Right where Captain Ed and others were liveblogging also highlights another interesting moment in an afternoon of mostly sleep inducing political pageantry.  Joe Biden was questioned on some of his ethnically insensitive gaffes during the primary season, and made a pretty convincing case that he has been a civil rights guy from the start.  Hillary pulled a “Hear Hear!” and started a round of applause among Democrats, but it was Obama who took up a rebuttal call to commend Joe and testify to the dedication he has towards civil rights.

This had the folks at Heading Right pondering if maybe Joe’s not lining himself up to be Obama’s running mate.  It’s an interesting question.  One impression I’ve gotten thus far in the primaries is that Biden and Obama are genuinely friends and have an enormous amount of respect for each other.

Also, Biden’s been in politics for decades and has to know that the only chance of winning the nomination at this point would be if all of his competition dropped dead in the next week (any later and he still runs the risk of losing to a corpse).  To this degree, I think it is at least plausible that there might be some fire to the smoke that the folks at HR are sniffing at.

I personally would like to see that, and an eleventh hour announcement before the Iowa caucuses could be a huge boost to elevate Barack to an easy victory.  Don’t get me wrong, Biden doesn’t bring virtually any votes with him, but it says a lot about a campaign that goes into the primaries already knowing who the Veep will be; it’s presidential and shows unusual confidence.  Plus, Biden would lend quite a bit of foreign policy and experience gravitas to the young and fresh Obama campaign.

I wouldn’t bet on it though, it still seems like a far out there occurence, but that’s why, as they say, they play the game.

Overall, terribly boring debate, and I’m glad I opted out of liveblogging it.  There really weren’t any clear winners or losers, but on the flipside, I am tempted to give a slight edge to Obama who does walk away with two of the biggest moments of the event (the Biden validation, and the Hillary snark).

Still, this should do little to change the dynamics as they are which means that the rest of the way to the nomination is all momentum and ground game, and I think I like Obama’s chances.

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