Citing deep-seated skepticism and a general distrust for government after watching the news a few times and seeing the movie "JFK," Piker has never kept too close an eye on politics, much preferring any type of sports arena to the political arena. However, Piker has been reading Salon and Slate of late, partially due to a vested interest in the former, but mainly because of a newfound genuine curiosity for politics. It started with the recall election circus and has now segued neatly into the Battle for the White House. Granted, Piker is still a newbie when it comes to this stuff, armed with only a superficial knowledge of the issues and the history of the participants. But, Piker is in the game now and it'll just be a matter of time before the gaps are filled in. As a matter of fact, Piker watched the Democratic Candidates for President debate in Iowa on Monday. Enjoyed it too. The Reverend Al Sharpton was clearly the most entertaining of the group, without coming off like a radical lunatic. I'm not sure the same can be said for Representative Dennis Kucinich though. The debate was lively and spirited and almost all of the candidates had good showings, except Senator Joe Lieberman, who wasn't invited to the debate. Senator John Kerry and Representative Dick Gephardt acted as a tag team in going after frontrunner Howard Dean, but Dean held his own and probably garnered some sympathy from the two-pronged attack. Senator John Edwards was upbeat and positive and left a favorable impression, as did Carol Moseley Braun. But, my favorite candidate remains General Wesley K. Clark. The man makes me feel safe. I want him on that wall. I need him on that wall.
In case you missed it, a full transcript of the debate can be found here. For some insightful and incisive commentary and criticism, visit Slate's henchmen Saletan and Kaus.
Below, you will find the first installment of a brand new segment that Piker hopes to continue right up until the Democratic National Convention. Please be advised that Piker is a piker and doesn't know that much about any of this stuff, but Piker has good instincts and boasts of recognizing the star quality of one Bill Clinton at around this same point in the process back in the day. Take it for what it's worth.