Monday, October 30, 2006

# Posted 11:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

PARTIAL SUNDAY ROUND-UP: There was a glitch that held back the CBS podcast, so this post will only cover the other two networks. Perhaps I should be thankful. That glitch saved me from hearing the latest rant from John Murtha. Anyhow, NBC featured a Senate debate between Maryland canidates Ben Cardin and Michael Steele. ABC had John Boener followed by Michael J. Fox.
Steele: C-. It would be hard to come up with a more incoherent position on Iraq if you tried. From cheerleading one day to posing as a critic the next. You get the sense Steele will say anything he has to to please the audience of the moment. That's not unusual for politicians, but most hide it better. On domestic issues, Steele made some good points and actually showed an ability to engage both Russert and Cardin instead of reading a script. But the damage was already done.

Cardin: C+. Cardin also has serious problems when it comes to coherence and Iraq. When confronted by Russert, he tried to dance away from his suggestion that he might try to stop the war by cutting off funding for the troops. Dance away, but not disavow. Cardin also shared most of the usual Democratic pathologies on Iraq. He somehow managed to come out both for and against a set timetable for withdrawal. He refused to acknowledged there might be total chaos or worse in Iraq after a US withdrawal. He declared that engaging Iraq's neighbors would help stabilize the country. Cardin's personal twist was his continued belief that it is imperative for the US demonstrate that it doesn't want to occupy Iraq permanently, because that contributes to the violence and chaos. Yup, that's why Sunnis bomb Shi'ites and Shi'ites send in the death squads. Because what they really fear is American imperialism.

John Boehner: C. It was a pretty good interview, except for one glaring absurdity. Boehner declard that "Donald Rumsfeld is the best thing that has happened to the Pentagon in the past twenty five years." Sort of like Michael Dukakis is the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic party. He was the one who gave the party hope, because there was nowhere to go but up.

Michael J. Fox: B+. Sincere emotion is hard to come by on Sunday morning. Sure, Stephanopoulos mostly threw him softballs. But the man has a serious case of Parkinson's, so I guess he deserves a break. Then again, part of Fox's message is that you don't help people by giving them pity. If he decided to get actively involved by doing TV commercials in high profile Senate races, then he probably deserves to be cross-examined just as harshly as anyone else who's trying to influence national politics. But when you listen to him, it just so hard not to think that he's a real example of fortitude for all of us.
I'll update this post with comments for CBS once podcast comes through. Otherwise, hats off to Tim Russert for being a superb moderator in all of the Senate debates on Meet the Press. I often give Russert a hard time, but I think he really earned this one.

See ya next week.
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