TV Hop: the Democratic Presidential Debate
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog editor Pierce Stanley hops a lecture on the national stage, and wonders why more Columbians aren’t doing the same.
Come Presidential election time, Lerner Piano Lounge transforms into a hotbed of political activity, with Columbia’s political organizations frequently hosting watch parties for important debates, election returns, and speeches made by the candidates. This celebration of all things political in one of Lerner Hall’s strangest rooms always comes with the added benefit of loads of handouts of free Famiglia pizza. However, last night was a quite the exception, as the College Dems hosted a watch party in the piano lounge for the twentieth (and perhaps final) debate between the contenders for the Democratic nomination for President. With the Democratic nomination just about sealed up by the new front-runner, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, last night’s debate watch party was a decidely low-key affair, attended by only a mere spattering of debate faithfuls. Perhaps this lack of enthusiasm by Columbia students for last night’s MSNBC debate is indicative of the current state of the race on a much broader level. Perhaps, this race is all but wrapped up, and its only a short time until Hillary decides to concede before risking destroying her political future.
With Senator John McCain as the presumptive Republican candidate and Obama inching closer to the nomination on the Democratic side, it appears that the hype of a brokered convention has all but disappeared. Indeed, Democratic party leadership has come out time and time again with claims that the nomination will be won before Democrats meet in Denver in August.
Indeed, former President Clinton’s claim that a loss for his wife in Texas will end her candidacy is playing out to be all but true. Last night’s debate was Hillary’s chance to come out firing, but once again she sent a mixed message to voters. Barack on the other hand, did what he needed to do to maintain his new lead, keep his cool under any negative attack from the Clinton campaign. While last night’s questions were a bit more substantive than in previous debates, including some challenging questions for both candidates about how they would interpret the future of Russia under new Prime Minister Medvedev, as well as a question for Senator Obama about Louis Farrakhan, leader of the controversial Nation of Islam who recently announced his support for the Illinois Senator, little changed at the end of the night.
So, we are left with a front-runner, continuing to make up ground in the states that Hillary desperately needs to secure the nomination, maintaining a teflon persona, and resisting the negative attacks of the Clinton campaign (and recently even assaults from McCain) with an apparently sincere calmness and coolness. This success even extends into the debates, as Obama has beefed up his debate performances in the last few meetings and has been able to offer up some substantive points on NAFTA and healthcare. Once again, last night’s MSNBC debate showed that Obama is succeeding in the areas of Hillary’s strengths, particularly in debate performance. Meanwhile, Hillary continues to be perceived as increasingly desperate to win, giving mixed signals about the direction of her campaign, and pulling out all of the tricks in the bag, including negative campaigning on the eve of big primaries. Perhaps its time for her simply to give up before its all too late.