Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Post Republican Debate Coverage And A 360 Special: Race And Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Happy new week! So, did you watch debate #2493? I had to get up pre-dawn today, but I told myself I was going to try to refrain from a much needed nap and actually watch the whole thing. Unfortunately, I failed. I saw about the first third and then woke up to John Edwards pronouncing my state's name "Missourah." Oh, hell no! This is a major pet peeve of mine (and most of the people I know who live here), but since he was talking specifically about rural voters I suppose I won't hold it against him.

Anyhoo, we're kicking things off at about five minutes past the hour with Anderson talking up a storm, but all we see is post-debate footage. I guess it's time to play "Where in the World is Anderson Cooper?" If you said New York, you win! Apparently it's not a very exciting game. We then go to Candy Crowley live and she gives us a brief little recap of the night's more lively moments. From there Anderson tells us they're going to be playing extended clips of the debate throughout the rest of the hour. I'm guessing the fact that there's airtime to fill and they are so clearly running out of punditry steam has a little bit to do with that.

Our first clip plays out as follows: Clinton accuses Obama of liking icky Republican ideas and then they go back and forth about whether the name Ronald Reagan was mentioned. Obama says he thought Reagan was transformative in that he got people to vote against their economic interests; that doesn't mean he liked him. Then he's all, "Because while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart." Zing! But, oh, Clinton ain't having that and the motherload of snippy interrupting breaks out, with poor Edwards going, um, hello, there are three people in this debate.

After Blitzer finally gets a hold of the reigns of this thing, Clinton again goes back to Reagan and says she never mentioned his name. Obama says her husband did. "Well, I'm here. He's not," says Clinton. Replies Obama, "OK. Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." Zing squared! But Clinton is so not going to be outdone here. She says it certainly seemed like Obama was praising Republican policies that she believes are bad for America. "I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Resco, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." Oh, no she di'int!

For discussion, we're joined by Mark Halperin of Time, radio host Carl Jeffers, Amy Holmes, and Roland Martin. We get our usual speculative type stuff and of note is that John Edwards, being the only one that didn't act like a child, came out smelling like roses. Speaking of the fragrant one, next up John joins us live and unsurprisingly indicates that the other candidates got their bickering on a little too much. " We're not going to get kids health care and do anything about New Orleans by this little petty bickering," he tells us. And to give you an idea of how cynical I am, I totally believe he threw New Orleans in there right now to suck up to Anderson. Not that he doesn't really care, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anderson notes John hasn't been doing so well and the former senator concedes that he got his "butt kicked" in Nevada. Then he lays claim to the "underdog" status and...that's it. Well, that was brief.

Next we're on to another clip regarding Obama's votes, or rather, his kind of non votes. Clinton accuses him of not taking responsibility for his votes because he has a record of voting "present" 100 times. Then Edwards decides to latch onto Clinton and gangs up. Obama is not pleased and notes he voted for 4,000 bills. Apparently the deal with the "present" votes is there was something technical wrong with them. Okay then. After this we're back with the panel and then we go to a commercial where I get my first Obama ad. Here we go! We then have our last clip, which is about health care and that's followed again by the panel. Erica Hill then shows up with dial-testing results, but, meh. That'll do the first hour.

Transitioning now, on this Martin Luther King Day, to the 360 Special: Race and Politics, co-hosted by Soledad O'Brien. And it's live, which I actually wasn't expecting. We begin with a Randi Kaye piece on the black woman voter. They're going to have a lot of power in South Carolina and with it comes pressure. Will they vote for their gender or their race? I guess poor John doesn't figure in. But really, it should be about the policy. After Randi's piece, we're joined by Roland Martin, Amy Holmes, Leslie Sanchez, and Matt Barretto. Roland tells us that most of his black female listeners proclaim themselves to be black first--as in, before being female. Also of note is some talk about a black/brown divide, but Matt seems to think that people are making a bigger deal out of that than they should.

Next up, we have a Soledad piece on black churches. You see, in 2004 the republicans reached out to this normally democratic-voting constituency and got a lot of support. This time around? Not so much. A lot of promises, but none of them delivered. The churches finally realized they'd been snuckered. What a shocker. Back with the panel, Soledad notes that a lot of black women she knows are furious that the media is basically saying they only have two choices. Well, because the media choses the front runners, doncha know? If Edwards wants some press he has to pay $400 for a haircut. Anyway, we also learn that after Hurricane Katrina, Bush had an approval rating of two percent in the black community...and that was with a margin of error of five percent. Bwah! Now that's sad.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on our first "black" president and potential First Gentleman, one Mr. Bill Clinton. Blacks love him because he's done a lot for their community and also because he's got that somethin somethin. Who can forget him playing sax on Arsenio? Stiff-as-a-board John Kerry, he ain't. After Candy's piece, Anderson wonders if African Americans will support Clinton or Obama. Then he throws in Edwards as an afterthought. As the panel laughs, Anderson notes, " I have to be welcoming of all." Poor Edwards can't catch a break. I'm sure the media has absolutely nothing to do with that. No sir.

We're then shown a clip of Obama making a funny when he's asked to respond to a Toni Morrison quote about Clinton's blackness. Apparently Obama wants to check out his dancing skillz before he makes a determination. But Roland Martin is not laughing. He looks right into the camera and tells Toni Morrison (who I guess we're going to assume is watching) she needs to apologize to America for her stupid comment. Dayum! Toni Morrison actually doesn't seem like somebody you'd want to mess with. But Roland totally has a point. "If he was the first black president, he wouldn't have let 400,000 people in Rwanda die," he says. Amen to that. Anderson, who knows a thing or two about Rwanda, then corrects him and says that it was actually 800,000 slaughtered. Hm, I was so busy agreeing, the inaccuracy of the number got past me.

Finally tonight we have a Gary Tuchman piece on illegal immigration and charges of racism. Basically it breaks down like this: The people that don't want the illegal immigrants here say it's all about the law and has nothing to do with racism, while some immigrant activists see a hatred of Brown people playing a role. I think this issue will never be solved, because the rhetoric of the debate is too polarizing. The diehards on both sides need to chill out. Do I think, say, Lou Dobbs is a racist? No. Do I think he's purposely playing to racists to further his cause (and get ratings)? Probably not. But do I think the rhetoric of him and others does play to racists? Yes. We can't deport 12 million people. We just can't. And building a fence is pointless because they'll find a way to get over. It's time for the two sides to come together, but they never will. Anyway...that's going to do it for me. I'm just going to leave off the grade since it wasn't a regular show.

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5:34 AM  

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