Two quick notes today relating to the presidential contest, by way of notes of advice and prescience.
That double-header presidential debate last night was a fine piece of popcorn television, and told quite a bit about who's what and where in the standings. The element of advice, though, has to do with debate planners in the Northwest, as candidate debates start to emerge for primary and general: Do it generally the way ABC/Facebook did it last night. Which is to say: Get out of the way of the candidates speaking for themselves and conversing with each other. There were some good insights and real perspective into the candidates you couldn't have gotten with the traditional press conference-style "debate" which usually leads only to canned answers to canned questions. Last night, the candidates got a chance to mix it up and speak at length on specific ideas. It wasn't perfect, but it was one of the best debate models we've seen for a while. May more presidential meetups, and down into the state levels, operate that way.
The other, thanks to a note in The Slog today, is a referent to a column written back in September, about the startling insurgence in Washington state of a candidate with uncertain prospects, named Barack Obama. Looked iffy then; looks remarkably prescient today.