Democratic debate lacks energy

If the democrats expect victory, the debates need to pick up.

Given all the buzz already circulating around the prized Democratic presidential endorsement, the first Democratic debate last week was quite lethargic. Though much of the coverage of the race so far has centered around a collision between New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barak Obama, the night was confrontation-free as the eight candidates played nice on center stage.

The situation in Iraq dominated the night’s time more than any other single issue. Instead of focusing on solutions, statements consisted mostly of jabs to the current administration and the decision to go to war in the first place. Most of the candidates prided themselves with being against the war in the first place, which provided a bit of a predicament for Clinton because of her 2002 war authorization. With her usual refrain, Clinton expressed that had she known what she knows now, she would have voted differently.

As the race draws closer, it can be expected that Clinton, Obama, and John Edwards, the top three Democratic presidential candidates, will start to pull away from the pack.

The tame debate is to be expected early in the race, as candidates are being careful not to make offensive or isolating comments. But if the Democrats are expecting to win this time around, the debates need to pick up the speed and substance. Hopefully, they realize quickly that lofty ideals and jabs at Bush will not be enough to win this race. The keys to the win this time are specifics, details and substance. Rhetoric is simply not enough.

For the past seven years, our country has suffered enough, both domestically and internationally, at the hands of Bush and his posse. Hopefully, by bringing innovative ideas and solutions to such important issues as health care, social security and immigration, the Democratic candidates can provide us with a new vision. Given the unfortunate situation we as a nation find ourselves in today, a change is not just preferred, it is essential. It will be increasingly interesting to see who is going to be the candidate to spark the debate and deliver the knockout punch.