…after the Red Sox-Yankees game. Quick impressions:
***The most likable Democrats are Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton. She’s pleasant, he’s funny. I agree totally agree with my colleague Jay Nordlinger about how appalling it is that Sharpton is now accepted in polite company. But there are you. The really weird thing about Sharpton’s candidacy is that he is always talking about the need for Democratic unity and pragmatism to beat George W. Bush–fringe candidates are supposed to be about principle.
***The criticisms of Wesley Clark strike me as simply devastating. There were times last night when I couldn’t entirely make out what he was trying to say about his position on the war. And his vote-to-take-the-issue-to-the-U.N., but-not-to-go-to-war position seems ridiculous. Why even bother to go to the U.N. if force isn’t an option? And the upshot of this position is clear– the French get a veto over American national-security policy.
***I take what Byron York says about Dick Gephardt’s performance at the end of the debate (I had turned it off by then), but Gephardt seems to have more mo-jo in recent debates, with his chest-thumping denunciations of Bush. Maybe this mo-jo goes nowhere, but at least he seems livelier these days.
***The attacks on Howard Dean as an opponent of Medicare are demagogic and absurd. It’s hard to see how anyone can take them seriously. On the other hand, maybe they create just enough doubt about Dean–at the same time other candidates are aping his position on the war and his anti-Bush rhetoric–so his appeal gets blunted somewhat.
***Dennis Kucinich is the court jester of this race, an absurd irrelevance who is speaking important truths-namely, showing the Democrats where the logical conclusion of their anti-war rhetoric leads: ignominious retreat.