Friday, February 22, 2008

Debate Wrap

I caught the last ten minutes of the Democratic debate last night; just enough time to see Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama deliver their closing answers. Josh Marshall does a good summation:

Both candidates had a good debate. The level of specificity and detail in discussions of policy questions spoke well of both of them. Hillary had a strong closing. Obama has clearly improved as a debater and seemed to embody the frontrunner mantle. All of this points basically to a tie. And in the context of where this campaign is, a tie is a win for Obama because he’s winning. And Clinton needs to change the dynamic of the campaign.

Notwithstanding the inflamed partisans on both sides, I think the great majority of Democrats like both these candidates, genuinely like and admire both of them. You could feel that in the responses from the audience tonight. But that pleasant equilibrium is losing the race for her right now.

And that may not be altogether a bad thing. If she knows that the nomination is slipping away, going out kicking and screaming would be bad for her, bad for the party, and it would only reinforce the misogynistic stereotypes bellowed by the righties that she’s not ready to be president because she can’t handle the defeat. A graceful exit would actually enhance her image, and that’s a win for everybody.