I'm trying to think of something interesting to say about the debate that doesn't involve going meta or just doing amateur theater criticism, but I've really got nothing. Instead, a question: Did anyone out there in blog-land find this to be a helpful exercise? Like is there someone out there who wasn't sure who they were going to vote for pre-debate who's now more firmly in someone's corner? Someone out there who was strongly leaning in one direction and is now back to undecided status? Not me.
My read of what I see in these debates is so heavily colored by ex ante beliefs and information that it's hard for the debate to change anything. During the first 100 days question, for example, John Edwards gave his spiel about "restoring American leadership" which Hillary Clinton followed up by straightforwardly saying that bringing the troops home from Iraq would be Priority Number 1 in a Clinton administration. In a vacuum, that from Clinton would have impressed me a great deal. But in the real world it didn't -- it's impossible to say for sure in June 2007 what the different contenders would do in January 2009, but most signs indicate that Clinton would be the most reluctant of the big three to move toward rapid and total withdrawal.
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