I really hadn't been paying much attention to the debates, the first two told me what I needed to know and merely confirmed what I already thought; that I like Edwards best, followed by Obama then Hillary, but I would be perfectly happy voting for anyone on the stage. The one surprise was Mike Gravel, I didn't know he would be there and he came off as the court jester, the guy who would say all the things everyone wouldn't say. The court jester has always served a very important function as the teller of truths.
I knew this was the YouTube Debates but didn't think too much about it, then I just happened to turn it on by accident. Surprisingly, it's been really good. Instead of the canned questions that everyone is expecting and the canned answers prepared in advance it was much more lively and everyone was at the top of their game. Some revisions of my opinions, too. Edwards lost some ground with me by saying he did not agree with gay marriage because of his faith, the absolute worst thing he could have said, in my opinion. But then he said it's a question he does feel deeply torn about, and it seemed a very sincere statement. I don't expect people to be perfect, but I do feel better about it when their imperfections trouble them. Still, he lost ground, but then the subject went to health care and he spoke with real passion. Let's face it, that's a far more important issue, and I'm still struck by one glaring fact; only Edwards answered all the questions put to him as honestly as he could without spinning or dodging. This was also true in the earlier debates and I'm surprised no one ever comments on that.
Probably the one who rose highest to me was Hillary. She was asked how, as a woman, she could be taken seriously by the Arab countries. She talked about all the travels around the world she made as First Lady, then as Senator, then she said there isn't anyone who doesn't take her seriously. She scared me for a moment and I had no trouble believing her. I have to say of them all she is probably the most qualified to be president, but that means she is also beholden to corporate interests. This is why I like Edwards the best, he seems very independent, he's speaking hard truths even when they don't make him look good or might hurt him in the election. Obama is new enough that he hasn't been totally bought by the corporations, but he's too slick in playing the game, I'm afraid he might be bought by the time of the general election, but at the moment I see him as being in between Edwards and Clinton on this, which is why they get my support in the order they do. That hasn't changed even though it was a fun debate.