Bloggers on the Clinton vs. Obama debate

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Feb. 1 2008 6:16 PM

Win, Love, or Draw

Bloggers score last night's reconciliatory Democratic debate and analyze the proposed merger between Microsoft and Yahoo!.

Win, love, or draw: The Democratic debate Thursday between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is being hailed as a lovefest, with each candidate's supporters claiming victory. 

Some see a clear win for Hillary, and even skeptics are giving her a second look.On MyDD, 2008Democrat insists, "Obama needs to have the momentum of anti Hillary going for him to win and after last night I dont think it exists." And Media Is A Plural's liberal Rory O'Connor announces, "Hillary won by not losing – and Obama lost by not winning." Commenting on Democratic hive-blog DailyKos, Sagebrush Bob, who has gone from supporting Kucinich to Edwards to Obama, admits, "I can almost see myself volunteering to help with her campaign if she's nominated. I'm as surprised as anyone to be saying this."

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Others see a draw. Guest-blogging on the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, Steve Benen welcomes both candidates' references to McCain and straddles both sides: "I thought Clinton was stronger on discussion of healthcare policy, which dominated the first hour, while Obama was stronger on Iraq, which dominated the second." Conservative Ross Douthat gushes: "The Republicans last night looked like men competing for a chance to lose an election. Tonight, Hillary and Obama looked like they were competing to be President of the United States."

Still others think that Obama reigned supreme. Huffington Post mistress Arianna Huffington opines that the discussion of Iraq "was the most effective sequence for Obama, and the most important for the country -- bringing Iraq off the backburner and placing it front and center." Obama fan Andrew Sullivan asserts, "[H]e seemed like a president. He was already battling McCain. She was still pivoting off Bush. In his body language, he carefully upstaged her, without looking as if he were trying. By the end of the debate, he was pulling her chair back for her." Balloon Juice's John Cole compliments Obama's thoughtful rhetorical style, and writes, "The highlight for the night was when he called the bullshit fearmongering about immigration what it is- scapegoating."

CNN's coverage left itself open to mockery. Wonkette, who live-blogged the event, snarks: "We have The Beard, Wolf Blitzer, instead of that pretty silver boy Anderson Cooper. Wolf likes to ask terrible questions that lead to fights, like 'Hillary and Barack, if you had to kill either a Hispanic or a Black, which would it be?' And then he asks for a yes-or-no answer." And Jezebel's Megan suggests that the event was "[B]oth supernice and very wonky, which is probably why most of America -- Barry included -- started to doze off until the cameramen started cutting away to show all the celebrities in the audience! Who were, naturally, all dressed to the nines because debates are the new awards shows since there aren't any awards shows and Hollywood needs its collective circle jerks to sleep at night."

Read more about the debate; Politico's Ben Smith  posts  a screenshot documenting the Obama campaign's difficulty keeping up with an onslaught of online donations. Slate's John Dickerson called  it a draw.

Merger! Microsoft announced a $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo! on Friday. Most analysts interpret the merger as an attempt to stay competitive with Google.

On Reason's blog Hit & Run Jeff Taylor argues that Microsoft sees Google Desktop as its primary threat: "Forget search engines and queries and ads -- Microsoft really does not care about that. It does care, however, that more and more folks are figuring out that distributed apps can be very handy. That you can do all kinds of things with wikis. That there is no reason to ever run Vista as your OS."

On the Wall Street Journal's Business and Technology blog, Ben Worthen claims that the merger represents Microsoft's admission that offices are increasingly moving away from off-line software. "In the context of a computing sea change it means that Microsoft, which has been talking vaguely about making software available online for well over a year now, is finally putting its money where its mouth is."

On techblog Webware, Ina Fried points out that Yahoo! is a big fan of open source, whereas Microsoft isn't. She continues, "One of the big differences is the amount of overlap between Yahoo and Microsoft on the product side. Both companies have their own advertising platforms as well as competing home pages, instant messaging programs, e-mail programs and content sites."

Infectious Greed's Paul Kedrosky, a venture capitalist, thinks Google will remain dominant: "Two elephants mating are always good for confusing customers and helping incumbents, not to mention improving margins. You will see Google gain surplus search and advertising share as this deal comes together." Portfolio's Russ Mitchell goes further. Arguing that the merger will mean further layoffs at Yahoo, he suggests: "Slicing jobs will boost profits for a while and mask the bigger challenge: Fusing two sub-par Web development cultures, neither of which could prove itself able to effectively compete against Google."

Gleeful about his Yahoo! shares, which have doubled in value, Internet entrepreneur Joe Duck doubts the naysayers: "With Microsoft traffic, the combined Yahoo Microsoft company will still initially lag Google in search traffic, but it will have *far greater* total web traffic."

New-media sage Jeff Jarvis analyzes the deal from the content side of things:  "Yahoo, I've long argued, is the last old media company, for it operates on the old-media model: It owns or controls content, markets to bring audience in, then bombards us with ads until we leave. … This is just as well for Yahoo, which had no strategy, really. They'd gone as far as they could with the old-media model, as exploited by the last CEO, former movie-studio head Terry Semel. Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang started saying the right things about turning Yahoo into a platform, but it probably would have taken years to turn his culture around."

Read more about the merger.

Bidisha Banerjee is the San Francisco-based co-author of a forthcoming Yale Climate and Energy Institute/Centre for International Governance Innovation report on scenario planning for solar radiation management. She is collaborating on a geoengineering game and has written about geoengineering governance for Slate and the Stanford Journal of Law, Science, and Policy.

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