The lines keep blurring so often between real news and satire that keeping them separate grows more difficult. Take yesterday’s Indystar editorial as an example. The Indiana newspaper wants another nationally-televised debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which is understandable given the critical nature of the upcoming Indiana primary. However, Indystar says it will help Obama, which is when it begins to look like comedy:
Why another debate toward the end of an exhausting campaign? For starters, the last debate, in Pennsylvania, was heavily criticized for delving into side issues rather than centering on topics such as the economy, health care and foreign policy. Well, then, let’s have a debate here that digs into the many serious issues facing the nation and this state. How, for example, do the candidates reconcile increasing taxes during a possible recession? How would they fulfill their pledge to pull troops out of Iraq in a matter of months if the Iraqi government were to collapse or terrorist organizations were to set up training bases there?
Like so many other media outlets, the Indystar editors must have missed the last half of the debate, when Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous asked these exact questions. Obama blew the answer on taxes, especially on capital-gains tax rates. Gibson asked both candidates how they could justify raising taxes in a recession, and asked Obama specifically why he would raise the cap-gains rate when such increases traditionally lowered revenues to the federal government. Obama did nothing but sputter about “fairness”, revealing himself as a redistributionist first and foremost.
A debate planned for North Carolina, which also holds its primary on May 6, fell apart this week after the Obama campaign backed out. The senator’s loss in Pennsylvania should prompt his advisers to reconsider whether this is the right time to disengage.
Are they kidding? One of the reasons Obama got blown out in Pennsylvania was the debate itself. The right time to disengage was about five minutes before Obama spoke on Billionaires Row in San Francisco on April 4th. Disengagement and stonewalling is all the strategy Obama has if he wants to maintain any credibility with the superdelegates. The Obama campaign has deliberately limited his press contacts over the last few weeks, and his Dan Quayle-like performance on April 16th will ensure more of the same.
The Clinton campaign already has accepted an invitation issued by the Indiana Debate Commission, along with its partners CNN and PBS, to stage in a debate here.
I’ll bet she has. I’ll also bet that the John McCain campaign has offered to sponsor it.
Obama, who weeks after seemingly wrapping up the nomination is still struggling to close out the race, needs something to stem Clinton’s growing momentum in the wake of her victories in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.
A debate could help him.
No, at this point, it could only hurt him. The moderators would have only two choices: go after him like ABC did, or look like softballers after their tough questioning. Obama can’t handle the former, and the latter would make him look like a cream puff. He’s better off hiding among the Abercrombie & Fitch crowds, saying little, and hiding behind his waffles whenever the press approaches.
Update: I think everyone got the reference in the caption, but just in case you never saw Warriors, here’s the scene:
This, unfortunately, was the high point of the movie.