The CNN/YouTube Democratic Debate took place on July 23, 2007, though I would not call it a debate. It was more of an informal gathering and presentation forum, sort of like a book-signing. Questions were gathered from around the country and posed to candidates, some questions to the entire stage, some to just one person.

As with any book-signing, the object is to appear personable, and get people to like you enough to buy what you are selling. Sadly, this was what I expected and what I got. This appearance did little to shine any new light on any of the candidates, nor did they make any new stance or clarify their positions. To be fair, they only got 30 seconds each to respond to questions, but they were flogging the same horses as before. To sum up the impression I got:

Dennis Kucinich – “I’m not insane. I’m a real Democrat, not a liberal Republican.”
Hillary Clinton – “I have experience. Just because I haven’t held office before does not mean I don’t understand politics.”
Chris Dodd – “I may look old, but I’m not. I can be progressive and inventive.”
Barak Obama – “I”m going to change the political machine in Washington to make more sense. Yes, I’m still black.”
John Edwards – “I”m a very sensitive man. I have compassion due to my experiences.”
Mike Gravel – “You’re all taking money from special interest groups and lobbies.”
Joe Biden – “I have no personality.”
Bill Richardson – “I leave no impression at all.”

The reasons that most people feel that the Democratic race is between Obama and Clinton is because of their race and sex, respectively. As I heard George Stephanopoulos phrase it, “It’s a battle to see if America is more racist or sexist.” Sadly, at every appearance, Clinton has to say, “I’m very proud to be a woman,” (as if it is something to be ashamed of), and Obama has to say, “Yes, I’m black. Trust me. If I go through the wrong neighborhood, they will lynch my ass. I know I don’t dress like the black people you see on 106 & Park, and I’m not speaking in fluent Ebonics, but I’m really black.” To give Obama credit, he has come up with about a 100 different ways to say, “Yes, I’m black.”

Sadly ire was only vented after this public appearance. I guess that no one wants to attack anyone on television anymore… well, except Mike Gravel. The candidates must all hold hands and smile and love God, country, the American way, freedom, life, liberty, blah blah blah. Then again, Gravel just seemed one-track-minded and pissy. He has a great point. Even though the candidates may not appear to be taking money from “special interest groups”, they are receiving large donations on behalf of corporations. These large donations may still have strings attached. (May have strings attached? Who am I kidding?) Another great message in bad packaging. Really, his name is Mike Gravel and he comes across as a hostile, angry old codger? It’s like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.

Is it possible to have a candidate that has some fire, but doesn’t appear hostile?

A Republican CNN/YouTube debate is planned for September 17. If the Democrats are supposed to be the more charismatic party, I’m not sure I want to tune in. Then again, I’m curious about the questions that will be taken.

Submit Questions for the Republican CNN/YouTube debate

Official Websites of Democratic Candidates:
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Biden
Hillary Clinton
Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Mike Gravel
Barak Obama
Bill Richardson