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Thursday, April 17, 2008

ABC Debate; I Am So Ashamed

I am profoundly ashamed today.

I thought I would be angry or some other outwardly directed emotion but, at the root of it all, I'm ashamed.

I am ashamed at what the Democratic Party has become.

To think that a modern political party in this country could continue to stomach a person who, last night, morphed into the "vast right wing conspiracy" she so famously derided those many years ago.

Yglesias: "I had thought the Clinton campaign couldn't sink any lower, but thus far she's really just been giving us the full GOP. Listening to her talk about Barack Obama is like reading a Weekly Standard blog post."

To think that people in this country continue to give her support and comfort when, left with no positive track to the Presidency, stoops to the same crude, small-minded and bitter tactics that make reasonable, thinking people want to scream.

Obama Campaign: "Continuing the theme of her campaign, Senator Clinton used every single opportunity she had to launch misleading attack after misleading attack against Barack Obama, which is why polls show that most Americans think she's running the most negative campaign and don't believe she's trustworthy."
Jed Report: "It's true that ABC carried Clinton's water last night, and they deserve blame for having done so. But remember, it was Clinton's water they were carrying. The questions posed to Obama were all Clinton arguments in some form or another."

I am ashamed at what our national news media has become.

To think that the supposedly "respectable" network news, contrasted with their supposedly vacuous cable news siblings, could sink to the kind of travesty we witnessed last night, described by many today as the "worst debate imaginable", "lousy with right-wing talking points", "worst debate ever", "a huge night for the Republicans", "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years", "a great night for John McCain", "the dumbest debate in America" and an "unmitigated travesty".

Guardian: "The hosts on last night's ABC Democratic debate were shameful: don't they realise America is sick of their junk food?"
Carpetbagger Report: "What may prove to be the last Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama wasn’t just awful on its face, it was hard not to watch wondering if moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were actually undermining the public discourse with their inanity. It marked a new low for the media freak-show. I was conflicted emotionally between anger at ABC for this travesty and pity for the network for having sunk so low."
Sullivan: "And so this was indeed a huge night for the Republicans, and the first real indicator to me that Clinton is gaining in her fundamental goal at this point: the election of John McCain against Barack Obama. How else will she rescue the Democrats from hope?"
Open Left: "Halfway through the debate, not a single question on any policy issue had been asked, it was obvious that this debate was a prime-time hit job on Obama. The questions so far have been why he doesn't wear a flag pin, whether or not his pastor loves America, why he can't win, and how many people were offended by his bittergate comments."
TPM: "Not only were most of the questions on partisan gotchas and frivolous points. But more importantly the questions upon which the candidates were pressed the most were ones that presumed the correctness of Republican agenda items, sometimes explicitly so -- on taxes, capital gains taxes, gun rights, Iraq, etc."

To think that we as a people would put up with such a slanted, one-sided "debate", with tabloid silliness being thrown at a Presidential candidate by a former Clinton administration official who received his talking points from Fox News' Sean Hannity.

DU: "[On his radio show], Hannity asked George what kinds of questions they'll be asking at the debate tomorrow and they discussed a few things. When Hannity asked about the first question below about Ayers and whether George had plans to ask such a question, George replied, 'Well, I'm taking notes now Sean.' It did actually sound like he was pausing to take notes."

To think that a televised debate between two candidates, one of which will soon become the President of the United States, would devolve to the point that the studio audience would break out and heckle and jeer the moderators.

HuffPo: "Reflecting what seemed to be the main consensus of the night - that ABC botched this debate, big time - Charlie Gibson tells the crowd there will be one more, superfluous commercial break of the night and is subsequently jeered."

So, yes, I am ashamed.

This is the country I live in.

This is the Democratic Party that I will vote for in November.

And this is what we have allowed our national discourse to become.

We should all be ashamed.