Boy, and we thought Russert and Williams sucked.
As I watched the debate last evening, I realized it wasn't a debate.
At least that wasn't the main event.
What we had, I think, was an ABC-produced infomercial on the U.S. Constitution.
That voice-from-the-heavens, off-screen, intoning on the various amendments of the Constitution, with the fancy-dancy graphics.
It played on like a bizzaro-world Hooked-On-Phonics, having a hard-on for David McCullough.
Apparently, to keep the audience from snoozing, or running over to another channel, they intercut this prime-time civic lesson with moments of two, poorly-prepared debate moderators (one who - God, and this is one of our major media companies? - was a former staff member of the husband of one of the participants in this so-called debate and, for Godsakes, what the fuck was he doing on it? Ever hear of "conflict-of-interest" ABC? Or, even, cutting you some unwarranted slack, "the appearance of a conflict-of-interest?) running through a dated checklist, acting the whole time like two little smarty-pants
With the War in Iraq going south, troops in Afghanistan, our economy melting down like a popsicle, sitting on a car dashboard, at high noon in mid-July, and, the heart-stopping revelations - just last week - and broken by - guess who - ABC News - that torture of prisoners was planned, in detail, by senior and cabinet members, inside the White House, and with the knowledge and approval of The Commander Guy, how did these two mannequin-brained television news readers handle themselves?
They spent, nearly the first hour of this so-called debate on ...
Drum roll, please ...
1. Barack Obama's "Bitter" remarks last week (and, By George, even if the voters aren't listening, we, the media are going to make this as big an issue as we possibly can).
2. Barack Obama's "Minister" (settled, "stick-a-fork-in-it-it's-done", oh, about a month ago)
3. Obama and the Lapel Flag Pin Bullshit (Apparently, they didn't want to check, to see if he had holes in his socks too; Somebody needs to research if the Manufactured News Story Association is collecting royalties everytime this comes up)
4. Hillary Clinton's Excellent Bosnia Adventure (Beaten to death and left by the side of the road to die off about, oh, 2.5-weeks ago)
Oh, yeah, and thanks to the guy, the former staff member of the husband of one of the participants in the so-called debate, who sandbagged a topic at the behest of a Fox News Nitwit, so that Obama will probably see a few headlines soon, that he's harboring 1960's radicals in his basement.
It would seem that Charlie Gibson can't anchor the evening news broadcast and be a debate moderator in the same evening.
And George Stephanopolous?
Must be news to the ABC suits that he's taking tips from Fox News Nitwits
For a punishment, for his dreadful work this evening, those ABC suits should work out a deal, loaning and assigning Stephanopolous over to Fox and Friends, and see if he still struts his stuff when he gets back.
Normally, this might be a moment, where we would kick it off to cue up Que Sera Sera.
But no, this was a Leonard Pinth Garnell evening ("Unrelentingly bad!") all the way, so we have to go highbrow, and let Harry Lime sign us off.
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and what did that produce - the cuckoo clock!
And it took, seemingly, forever, for the cuckoo clock to strike the evening over.
The Bonus Cavalcade-of-Links
(Apologies - Too tired to link and tag the way we normally do)
Katrina vanden Heuvel: A GOTCHA DEBATE...
Greg Mitchell: The Debate: A Shameful Night for the U.S. Media
Nicole Belle/C&L: Attention ABC: You’re HURTING America! UPDATED with VIDEO!
Keith Olbermann: Hannity Feeding Question To Stephanopolous; NBC’s Chuck Todd tells Countdown’s Keith Olbermann that Sen. Barack Obama ‘did not have a good night’ during the Democratic Presidential Debate in Philadelphia
Eli on Firedoglake: Sweet Jesus, I Hate Charlie Gibson Democratic Debate Wrap-Up
Chris Cillizza: Keystone Kerfuffle: First Thoughts
ABC (Read This One More For The Comment Section): Clinton, Obama Find 'Brotherly Love' at Philly Debate; Dems Last Chance to Settle Scores Before Pennsylvania Primary
Andrew Sullivan: After The Freak Show
Foon Rhee/Boston Globe: Clinton, Obama trade jabs on electability, honesty
Qualifications for Debate Monitor: Be a former staff member of the husband of one of the participants in this so-called debate