Bridgethought of the Day: Keep an open mind, so you'll always have a way to take out the trash.
For any political junkie with no time to check out every candidate on their own, the debate between the Democratic Presidential candidates was an event to savor. With work taking over life, I don't always find time to check out C-Span or wherever the candidates hang out, so I haven't really heard all that much from most of them, except Hillary, Edwards and Joseph Biden. Barack Obama appeared like a shining star a few years ago, and the rest is mythology - I didn't really know who he was. I suspect myself, as usual, to be typical of the general American public. So bearing that in mind, here are my picks for the winners of that momentous debate...or, if not exactly "momentous", at least more revealing than CNN photo ops:
Best Ears: Barack Obama
Most Progressive: Dennis Kucinich
All the truth, all the time: Mike Gravel
Most Charisma: Barack Obama
Most in charge: Hillary Clinton
Biggest Ears: Bill Richardson
Cutest Candidate: John Edwards
Least hi-falutin': Dennis Kucinich
Most hi-falutin': John Edwards
Most Suave, Presidential: Joseph Biden
Least Suave: Mike Gravel
Best performance in a stand-down: Barack Obama - another example of how performance trumps truth
Most improved: Barack Obama
Most likely to succeed now: Hillary Clinton
Most likely to succeed later: Barack Obama
Worst imitation of Genesis: Bill Richardson, "On the First Day, I would bring peace to Iraq; on the Second Day, I would balance the budget, on the Third Day, I would bring peace on earth..." Or was it peace on Capitol Hill?...
Most confident: Hillary Clinton
Most fatherly: Christopher Dodd
Most contentious: Mike Gravel
Most patriotic: Dennis Kucinich
Most centrist: Barack Obama
Most thoughtful: Dennis Kucinich
My favorite: Mike Gravel
Most surprised at : Barack Obama - I presumed he was more progressive, but either he is scripted to be a Man for All Reasons, passionately centrist, or I am too liberal to appreciate him. Obviously, he's a man who wants to get elected.
That's why my favorite is Mike Gravel. He knows he will never be elected, so he can tell the truth with gusto. Nothing like the truth to lift the spirit. Ah, for the day elections aren't exercises in hypocrisy!
Another unabashed truth-teller is Dennis Kucinich. The charisma scale was going into the negative, but his words and sincerity propelled him into the stratosphere for me. As a guru, not President. I wouldn't wish a job like that on someone so honorable.
Dodd, Richardson were solid, honest men, who just aren't going to go anywhere with this. Dodd lacked ... what is it? ... fire, sparkle, something... and Richardson was like a great Belgian horse ... he's not gonna fly...
Joe Biden looks like the Perfect Candidate, and you can't quite figure out what's missing. He came off as more capable than John Edwards to me, and I'm sure he's just got baggage from all those previous campaigns. John Edwards? Too pretty to be attractive, too sculpted to be compelling.
Most convincing, Most likely to turn things around: Hillary Clinton
I came with a 4.7 ton load of prejudice against Hillary, and left ready to vote for her. Even though I don't agree with many of her positions, was never enamored of her, and feel she will be too cozy with the status quo, yet she really effectively drove home an impassioned message of inclusion, fairness, equalizing, combined with the obvious hallmarks of experience: no raw rhetoric, yet every word had something substantial behind it. This inspires trust, willingness to overlook stuff, and a sense that here is a capable, reasonable, human being with the ability to lead and make well-considered decisions.