the winner of the Democratic presidential debate…

During the last Democratic presidential primary, a lot later in the game than we are now — I believe at a point where everyone basically knew that John Kerry was the nominee and the Beltway Rules allowed for John Edwards and Wesley Clark to carry on in respectibability, Ted Koppel hosted a debate between remaining candidates. It might have been a little earlier than I recall, with a fuller slate of candidates — but the precision is immaterial. At any rate, his question for Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton was “Why are you here?”

I can’t say much about Sharpton, but he was funny where the other candidates’ attempts at humor were rigid.

Last night, much earlier than it seems we should have these things, the Democrats held their first “debate”. The first first debate was canceled as the Democratic base winced at the Fox News sponsorship — the 2004 Fox News Democratic debate including several cringe-inducing framed questions, and whose high-light was legitimately Al Sharpton verbally beating up on some Larouchite hecklers in the crowd.

It’s a little early, and the show is a pointless exercise, ultimately, that doesn’t really tell you what the candidate’s administration would be like. But we string these alongs for a long year, without much of anything worth saying. Hence, hearing and reading about the debate, the candidate who you have to say created the most Buzz from this staged Meat-showing was…

Former Alaska Governor Mike Gravel!!

Witness him here.

This is fairly typical. As anyone can attest, the most interesting personality in the 2000 Republican primary debates, as we wound down to the end of it with three active candidates, was 2 percenter Alan Keyes (now of “Got beat by 30 points by Barack Obama as a party-picked carpetbagger” fame).

Mike Gravel’s take-down of Joseph Biden is particularly instructive, and worth a bit of dissemination.

Some of these candidates frighten me. [Who?} The top tier ones. Joe, I’ll include you in this. Joe, you have a certain arrogance, you want to tell the Iraqis how to run their country. We should just play ‘get out.’ It’s their country, their asking us to leave, and we insist on staying there, why not get out. You hear the statement, ‘the soldiers will have died in vain.’ The entire deaths of Vietnam died in vain. You know what’s worse than a soldier dying in vain? More soldiers dying in vain.
The tedium of Biden comes in what was his highlight for the night — the answer to the question of if he can assure the American people about his verbosity or something or other with the clipped answer “Yes” — and cue laugh track. But there is something about Gravel’s speech that I’ve been thinking about, and that is the pomposity of the populist anti-war sell of “If the Iraqis won’t accept our help — there’s nothing we can do”. That is not precisely what Gravel is referring to — I believe it’s more in line with the idea that we should split Iraq into three nations, but I’m guessing it’s in the same vicinity of “certain arrogance”.

There are more items here and here. I stand by every negative thing I said regarding his career, as read into by me from old news articles, on this blog during my “Retain a spot in the top 20 google searches” era for the man. And I’m not a fan of his radical ideas. But he seemed to add a certain levity to an otherwise pointless facade. I heard Paul Begala on Staphanie Miller this morning dismiss him, which was interesting because he did so by saying that “He makes Dennis Kucinich look like a statesman”, and then backtracking to apologize for Dennis Kucinich and proclaiming him a legitimate candidate with ideas and a following, hence viable enough for the debate. Understand Begala is a Hillary Clinton person, a more woeful spot to be in the Democratic party presidential games I do not know.
So it is that CNN is apparently not going to have Gravel in their next debate. Which seems to suggest this is the high-point in the Mike Gravel presidential campaign. I do not know if that is a shame or not, but I do know that in the next National Journal rankings — Mike Gravel should be given that “up arrow”.

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