Thursday, November 15, 2007

Candidate Zingers We Won't Hear

No need to watch the Democratic debate from Las Vegas tonight--all the best lines are already available from observers who don't have to exercise the caution that candidates do.

A professor of political science, if you can believe it, offers a below-the-belt zinger against Hillary. Says Ross K. Baker of Rutgers: “One absolutely devastating that she is gullible--she bought into two false story lines, one from her husband about Monica Lewinsky and one from President Bush about Iraq.” Ugh.

In her New York Times column, Gail Collins has a lighter touch in scripting John Edwards' answer on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants: "The fact that I once voted yes should not be interpreted as anything but a no. And do not call this waffling. There is only one waffler in this pack, and I don’t even like the way she dresses."

Edwards, says Collins, was "cheerfulness incarnate four years ago...Then he morphed into a sorrowful populist who thought we should vote for him because he cared the most about the poor. Now he’s running around like a rabid gerbil, telling people he should be president because he’s the angriest. Soon, he’s going to run out of adjectives to embody."

Obama, Collins says, is having trouble coming off as a "mean unifier...the new post-millennial candidate who hates petty partisanship. (So ’90s!) That makes it a little tough to go out on debate day and try to kneecap his opponent."

By comparison, the candidates themselves are going to sound boring but at least the writers strike will spare them from having to go up against the punch lines of Jon Stewart, David Letterman and Bill Maher this week.

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