Thursday, February 10, 2005

Liveblogging the Hewitt-Beinart Debate

Intro: The Live-Blogger is in the House! Well in the bar anyway. Hugh would appreciate this. I immediately located Atomizer from Fraters Libertas already having a martini. So I joined him. Atomizer martinis are gooood.

So we have the wireless connection working. &*#*&! hotel charges $10 for 24 hours of access. Hugh had better not lose his voice. In the car ride over that sounded like a 50/50 bet.

Incidentally Hugh, thanks for the plug. If you do go silent, I'll interpret your body language.

Atomizer message to the crowd: In Hugh's sickened state, Atomizer still gives Hugh the advantage. Cancelled out by Beinhart facing a hostile crowd. Atomizer gives Hugh a 20 - 1 advantage. I might take a piece of that action, and I was planning to root for Hugh.

Intro 2: Craig Westover has joined us. A very fun guy, which is certainly not true of other newspaper columnists (like he-who-knows-stuff [inside joke, sorry Hugh's listeners]). The event starts soon. We're trying to get the waitress to take our money so we can head up, but so far no dice.

UPDATE: We're Back!!! Sorry for the most boring live-blog ever. The Hilton is a BIG place, and apparently you cross wireless networks as you move through it. BIG THANKS to Chumley Wonderbar, from Plastic Hallway for resolving the wireless problems.

I've met Hugh. He's in good spirits, but barely has a voice. Met Peter Beinart. A really good guy incidentally. He was mingling with the ever-amiable, yet always demonized David Strom of the Taxpayers League. Which reminds me to plug this thread.

Peter thinks Hugh may be trying to rope-a-dope him with the "illness" stuff. And he likes his odds, thinking growing up in Boston prepared him for Minnesota's climate. (editorial comment- HAH!) But he was kind of, sort of, looking for any Democrats in attendance. And had yet to find one. So let's give him a handicap.

Anyway... about to have dinner. Saint Paul of the Fraters Libertas is being annoying two feet from me right now.


Ahem... note to commenters. I promised to live-blog the debate. Not my freakin' dinner. But thanks for the interest. Seriously. Where the heck is all this traffic coming from? Oh right the radio thingy.

Anyway Hugh passed his voice check just now. His "It's okay" was audible anyway.

The debate will start soon.

8:02 pm Introducing the debate at this point. Manager of am 1280 talking now

8:05 pm D*mn. I really do like Peter Beinart. And I got 20 - 1 odds from Atomizer earlier. Hugh getting ripped by the am 1280 guy for not having a voice now. And now... David Strom from the Taxpayers League is on.

8:07 pm More introductions. Polite applause. An absense of waiters to fill my drink. Still no debate.

8:10 pm Scott Johnson is up now. From Northern Alliance Radio dot Com. He's the moderator. Introducing the contestants.

8:12 pm Scott Johnson rips Marty Peretz to flatter Peter Beinart. What the heck is that about?

Scott has very nice words for Hugh Hewitt as well.

!st Question: To Beinart

Beinart would be happy to throw Michael Moore out of the party. Supported Nader previously. Doesn't represent party. Terrible on homeland security. Cites Gore and Kerry as more serious on sercurity. Erg!!! Must contain reaction. He cites his most repellent Michael Moore quote regarding 9/11.... and it turns out to be a Jerry Falwell quote instead of Moore. Nice tactic

Hewitt flatters the heck out of his audience. Nice tactic. Note to Hugh: free drinks is even better. Democrats will not engage Republicans intellectually. Beinart is the new Harold Stassen. Michael Moore IS the new Democratic Party. Falwell apologized. Moore didn't. Moore was in the presidential box at Dem Convention. He's a rockstar in that party. They can no more expell him, than Repubs can expell their base.

Beinart: Moore is not where party is. Look at who is elected to Congress. (And Blogger is going nuts at the moment so posting sucks. Trying to resolve.)

Next Question: Does the Dem Party have a sound foreign policy? Where's the Truman Doctrine?

Hugh: Peter is not representative. Moore is. Howard Dean was the most virulently anti-war democrat, and he's becoming chairman. Peter is preaching to a choir that doesn't exist.

Peter: Keeps talking about votes while Hugh talks about bloggers. Democrats will increase military spending.

Blogger is REALLY acting up at the moment folks. Posting is getting hairy.

Policies are producing more terrorists. Howard Dean supported Afghan war and intervention in Rwanda. Howard Dean's Vermont was paradise.

Hewitt: Beinart focus on torture memo. What about Iran nukes? What about North Korean nukes? The most serious policy Dems had allowed spread of WMD's to Iran and Korea. Torture memos diverts from more serious issues. Truman would laugh at that and kick Al Gore out of party.

Beinart: Liberal anti-communism was by force AND example. Repubs don't show by example. Albright policy was flawed.

Note to Anonymous Commenter: You have no idea. It wasn't SUPPOSED to be hard. Mr. (or is it Paris?) Hilton deserves some feedback.

New Question: Democratic Domestic policy?

Beinart: Increase savings among poor. Bush only focuses on rich. Make work pay through tax-credits.

Moral scandal of uninsured.

Hugh: FDR was innovator. Faced reactionaries. Dems are the new reactionaries. Social Security great example. They can't grow out of this. No innovations unlike Repubs. Beinart is considered radical right-winger in that party. He's the CLOSEST to center in that party. Dean represents Dems far more closely than FDR.

Beinart: Dems have no power currently in Washington (interrupted by applause). But this means Dems can't pass bills. They have ideas, they just can't get them out. Bill Clinton was better for poor than Ronald Reagan or George Bush.

Beinart cites specific non-radical policies. Hugh just focuses on extremes.

Next Question: About Hillary running in 2008

Hugh: In this room lots of former Democrats. They changed because of defining set of principles. What would a Dem Contract for America look like? According to Hugh, it would look suicidal and stupid (according to me it would too). Cite any speech by senior Dem leader with real new ideas.
We beat Dems with ideas. Glad Repubs have long primary season. Hoping for someone better in debate than Bush.

Beinart: cites Kerry for new ideas. This is not a misprint. Clinton very effective in red parts of NY. Has cred with Dem base to go further (to the center) than other Dems would. Abortion example.

(still no new drinks, and I need one after that)

The problem is that Americans are bigoted against women presidents. Hillary threatens men. Peter's bet is first woman president will be "not threatening to men." But don't bet against Clintons.

Commenter - who is winning? Hard to tell here. The crowd is WAY into Hugh's side. But Beinart doesn't suck. He's just wrong (whoops! That was editorializing).

Hugh: Democratic version of "innovative" is merely clever rhetoric. Cites Hillary's abortion example. And plugs BLOGS!!!! Whooop! Whoop!

Peter: Doesn't find Hugh's innovation credible. Seems old hat to him.

New Question: Has hatred meme about Bush damaged Dems?

Beinart: Certainly not Jonathan Chait. More talk about Chait. Not yet addressing bigger topic. Now he is. Hatred stuff despicable and endangers national security.

Hewitt: Clinton drove Repubs insane, but they recovered.

Hewitt: More stuff lost to blogger problems. Sorry. But big crowd pleasing conclusion. Dems slam religious and that's a BIG problem.

Beinart: Challenges Hugh over any Dem Congressmen who have slammed Dems

Admits Clinton may have been adulterous to audience laughter. Shouted down when he tries to claim Dems don't dig into Repub background, and Dems are far more discrete in their coverage of Repubs than the opposite. Crowd has to be restrained from revolting.

Blogger has lost stuff I wrote guys. Sorry.

Crowd Question: George Washington quote. Dems subvert them.

Beinart: Dems don't subvert religion or morality. Cites Carter. Cites Clinton - to laughter. The core base of Dems is African Americans. And they're the most religious group. This proves Dems are religiously sound.

Hewitt: African-Americans are devout, Hugh agrees. And they're starting to get disgruntled. Easiest way to predict how someone voted last election is whether they regularly attend religious services. Cites Whoopi Goldberg comment as the real voice of Dems.

Hugh: Challenges Beinart on Jesusland rhetoric.

Beinart: Does not admit any comdemnation is needed. Not a real problem among Dems.

Question from audience: Regarding Gay Marriage.

Beinart: Not a political winner right now. But it is a moral imperative. Gays want the same as Beinart has with his wife. Brittany Spears Hollywood marrriages are real threat. He's on the conservative side here.

Hugh: Has never passed the will of the people test. All other civil rights did. Judicial caveat of this is anti-democratic.

Question to Beinart from veteran. No greater threat to U. S. than Clinton foreign policy. Balkans over-stretched military. Why aren't Dems talking about Balkan exit strategy?

Beinart: Not in favor of time-table for Iraq withdrawal. Hopes it is soon, but must accompish mission first. Should be proud of Balkans mission. Cites examples. We should be proud.

Hugh: Great question. Can't improve. Next question please.

Question: Outcome of Rice/Hillary run for pres in 2008

Hugh: Rice has no political ambitions.

New Question: Big tent? How do parties go about it? Principles or pragmatics? Explain philosophy?

Hugh: Building big tent complicated. Toss out ideas. Find what works and people want. That's how to build an open tent. Opportunity not subsidy society.

Peter: Plugs New Republic Magazine, in response to Hugh's Blog-flog.

Dem big -tent - party of opportunity. Cites MLK. Education & economic opportunities. Integration & national unity. Disenfranchised must be included. Cites gays hoisting American flag instead of rainbow flag after sodomy laws overturned. It's still the party of Marshall Plan, Truman, Kennedy. Maybe someday some of audience will come back. Well received by audience.

And that's the end. Everyone in great spirits. Time to socialize. More comments later.

UPDATE: Trying to get hammered in the bar at the moment. But with the pace of service here, that's like Sisyphus in HELL!! (just kidding. About the getting hammered part, not the pace of service.)

We're in the unofficial after-party apparently. Good blogger attendance. Our House, Jo's Attic, Fraters Libertas (minus JB), Shot in the Dark, Craig Westover all in attendance. Hugh, Duane, and Scott Johnson (and more importantly) are at another table. And we're letting Hugh be. The guy truly isn't feeling well, and he held up great tonight.


Blogger Kim said...

Well, have a drink for me, too! I'm glad you are live-blogging this debate - this my first visit to your site, thanks to Hugh's plug today. I do hope his voice holds out, then again Hewitt silent is worth 10 talking Beinarts.......

5:52 PM  
Blogger Al said...

The weather's nothing tonight. The disease, however...

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very slow live-blog.

It must be boring there.


7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now was that so hard.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your doing great now, and it sounds like it's an interesting talk.

Who do you think is winning?

Is the crowd hostle to Peter?

Is Paris Hilton really there, if so put here on.

Thanks, from a guy who lives by Totino Grace High School!

8:38 PM  
Blogger Muzzy said...

Pretty good job, sir. And I, too, was having trouble posting something earlier on Blogspot. Anyway, the effort is appreciated. I couldn't make it anyway, tonight, but I've been so sick in the past two or three days that I wouldn't have been much good for socializing or Blogging. Glad you could make it. (And, once again, congrats on getting through to the national show the other night. Good work.)

9:52 PM  
Blogger McRyanMac said...

Thanks for the effort Doug. I wish I could have been there or heard it.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciated the Elephant-v-Ass debate coverage you posted. Never been to your blog before tonight.... only found it via a plug from NARN and Hewitt. What I have read so far though... has prompted me to add your blog to my bookmarks.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your effort; I wanted to attend but couldn't make it tonight.
I was glad to read your postings, if
only after the fact. Well done.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Nice job - I had to read after the fact, also (I hate when life intrudes on my plans....) and even with the posting problems you were able to give us the gist of the debate! Thanks!

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Stan said...


Thanks for the work. Don't get down about the technical difficulties, not your fault - we understand. I'm reading this days afterword and appreciate the recap.


5:19 PM  

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