Debate Recap

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Commenter Ryan sums up my feelings about the debate based on the clips I saw:

It's really strange... each time Hillary really goes for the jugular (fairly or unfairly), I am repulsed. And then 30 seconds later, I realize that that's the whole rationale for her candidacy! She (and Bill) will simply do whatever it takes to win. And she's really whip smart, and was quicker than Obama in this debate. I think it will come down to whoever the media spins as the "winner" of the early flare-up -- otherwise, another draw.

It's an uncomfortable truth, but there you have it -- the very tendentiousness of some of her attacks on Barack Obama is sort of the point. Those of us who remember Florida 2000 from the butterfly ballot to the "bourgeois riot" to the rigged Supreme Court ruling appreciate that the other side plays to win and there's no real honor in letting the country fall under a spell of catastrophic malgovernance. But still, if voters are considering being persuaded by the merits of Clinton's arguments about Obama and the war, or about the "present" votes or whatever else they ought to be aware that this is all basically bogus. What's more, I think it's worth pointing out that Clinton seems to have gotten herself firmly into "flip-flop" territory on the war at this point; hawk was bad, substantively and politically, but this may be worse.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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