Friday, October 15, 2010

Post-Debate: Odd smiles, goofy web poll & more

The general consensus for last night's Harry Reid-Sharron Angle debate was that she "won" it by seeming sane. A few thoughts:

* Here's my coverage for Politics Daily.

* The press and public clearly got that Harry Reid was underwhelming, but if you weren't in the studio you may not realize just how badly he performed. He looked half asleep and highly annoyed to even be there. He walked up to Angle for a couple of pre-debate moments, said a few nothings and then condescendingly patted her hand as he ambled rather unsteadily to his podium.

* And That Smile. Not hers, which was weird, too, and buried under makeup quite possibly applied by RuPaul. But Reid's smile. That creepy, odd, bad-toothy smile that came out at all the wrong moments. After Angle accused him of voting to give Social Security to undocumented immigrants, for example, he shot back: "These ideas of my opponent are really extreme. Her facts are absolutely wrong." And then, suddenly after a beat, out came That Smile. Shivers.

* By the way, the nonscientific web polls on the R-J and Sun's sites both assert that Harry Reid won the debate.

This probably is the result of, I'm guessing, someone from the Reid campaign being assigned to do nothing but vote for him all night long on the R-J's site. The Sun's site, which would naturally attract more Reid supporters, also prevents people at an IP address from casting multiple votes, but the R-J's crack technology staff led by their Online Guy hasn't yet figured out how to prevent such newfangled shenanigans. (Disclosure: I just voted six times just for shiggles.)

* My favorite wrap-ups came from Slate's John Dickerson ("In the casinos in Nevada when this happens, they pump in oxygen. This debate did not do that for this race") and some dude named @delrayser who Tweeted: "Man, Harry Reid is the WORST. Except for that crazy lady running against him." -every Democrat on Twitter last night." For an interesting and different view, my Politics Daily editor-in-chief Melinda Henneberger, formerly of The New York Times, wondered why the media is being so nice to Angle today.

* Bravo to the Las Vegas Sun for having David McGrath Schwartz on hand to fact-check what was said. Yes, Laura Myers of the R-J did a little of that in her piece, but there needed to be a LOT more and the main newspaper let down the readers by failing to do so. Maybe they could have skipped the dullsville feature on supporters waving signs outside the VegasPBS mothership.

* The only publication that really gave Reid much credit was, intriguingly, the allegedly diabolically pro-Angle Review-Journal, which intoned, "Reid gave as good as he got" even though he really, truly didn't. Nonetheless, Jon Ralston mocked their coverage as slanted towards Angle -- for saying essentially the same things he has said about the same event -- because he just can't help himself. Whatever.

* Reid's somnolent, dour performance makes my Daily Beast piece from yesterday even more relevant. The nation has to be wondering how this man got to his height of power. I explained.

* It's hard not to admire the quick work Reid's folks did in turning around a TV ad within hours of the debate. See it:


Anonymous said...

Your posts drip with unfair and completely biased anti-Reid sentiment. And your line about the "allegedly pro-Angle Review Journal" shows how far your head remains up Steve Wynn's rear end.


My bias is that Reid put in a surprisingly terrible performance. Nothing I've written is about my views on issues, only on the way the campaigns and candidates present themselves. As for the R-J, I've proven in great detail why the liberal bitchfest over their coverage is occasionally justified but usually just a big echo chamber of whine. Anyone who thinks I have nothing but praise for the R-J is moronic.

Of course, your simplistic right-left vantage point, which is why politics in America is so toxic today, fails because there's evidence to the contrary. I, after all, was the guy who wrote this passage for The Daily Beast just this week:

In nearly a quarter-century in the Senate, Reid has built a solid track record of legislative achievement for Nevada, including all-but-killing Yucca Mountain as a national nuclear waste repository; renegotiating the Colorado River water deal with California and bringing home billions for an endless list of public works projects.

Sorry to muddy your black-white world with an allegiance to the truth as I see it.

Michael said...

Rather large assumption on the reason for Reid leading in the two polls for debate winner isn't it? While I can understand you believe Angle won, that doesn't necessarily mean, it's purely campaign workers stuffing the ballot box.

Perhaps others saw it differently? I don't necessarily believe you harbor any bias in the matter, just wanted to post my opinion on the assumption. As a journalist covering the event, I would think that it might be beneficial to maintain credibility with the same standards you would apply in an article.

Anonymous said...

It's also possible that people voting on who did better in the debate either didn't see the debate at all or just saw some of the excerpts on the news,which made it look like Reid did rather well...