He’s not a Barack-star in debates — he’s shown that time and again. But he was cool, comprehensive, explicit, sharp and unflappable tonight, and that means he won. But there’s one thing Hillary said tonight that I really quite liked. When Tim Russert asked her to name President Vladimir Putin‘s successor in Russia (whose name is Dmitri A. Medvedev), she said it was “um, Med-medvedova, whatever.” My Hillary hate evaporated when she said that. I laughed, liked her smile.
But I also love the new 2.27 Maureen Dowd column that was written just after tonight’s debate. Here’s a taste:
Hillary Clinton “has been so discombobulated that she has ignored some truisms of politics that her husband understands well: Sunny beats gloomy. Consistency beats flipping. Bedazzling beats begrudging. Confidence beats whining.
“Voters gravitate toward the presidential candidates who seem more comfortable in their skin. J.F.K. and Reagan seemed exceptionally comfortable. So did Bill Clinton and W., who both showed that comfort can be an illusion of sorts, masking deep insecurities. [But] the fact that Obama is exceptionally easy in his skin has made Hillary almost jump out of hers.
“After saying she found her ‘voice’ in New Hampshire, she has turned into Sybil. We’ve had Experienced Hillary, Soft Hillary, Hard Hillary, Misty Hillary, Sarcastic Hillary, Joined-at-the-Hip-to-Bill Hillary, Her-Own-Person-Who-Just-Happens- to-Be-Married-to-a-Former-President Hillary, It’s-My-Turn Hillary, Cuddly Hillary, Let’s-Get-Down-in-the-Dirt-and-Fight-Like-Dogs Hillary.
“Just as in the White House, when her cascading images and hairstyles became dizzying and unsettling, suggesting that the first lady woke up every day struggling to create a persona, now she seems to think there is a political solution to her problem. If she can only change this or that about her persona, or tear down this or that about Obama’s. But the whirlwind of changes and charges gets wearing.
“By threatening to throw the kitchen sink at Obama, the Clinton campaign simply confirmed the fact that they might be going down the drain.
“It’s a hard sell for Hillary to say that she is the only one capable of leading this country in a war when she helped in leading the country into that war. Or to paraphrase Obama from the debate here, the one who drives the bus into the ditch can’t drive it out.”