Howard’s End

We were anticipating an easy morning over here at the Politicker, a veritable Katyusha barrage of posts out of last night’s Democratic debate at Howard University. Would the crowd be with Obama? Would Edwards go after Hillary again? Would Mike Gravel hurl a boulder at Tavis Smiley?

Well… we went, we saw, we yawned.

Rebecca Sinderbrand, who was at the hall, reports that the consensus was that “this debate was somewhat of a bust, as these things go.” Apparently, in the spin room afterward, people ignored Edwards and ogled Kucinich’s fembot wife. No news there.

Jason Horowitz, writing last night, gave the nod to Hillary as the night’s winner, though without much enthusiasm: “In the end, the campaigns of the frontrunners will all claim victory and will have valid points to make in the spin room. But on television, at least, Mrs. Clinton came across as the most assertive and fluent with legislation and policy.”

Steve Kornacki wished the main candidates had taken the opportunity to beat up on poor Gravel, the way Rudy knocked around Ron Paul to such great effect at the South Carolina GOP debate. Unfortunately, he writes, “perhaps because the rules technically forbade direct exchanges between the candidates or maybe just because they are used to tuning out when Mr. Gravel speaks,” the oddball Alaskan’s latest musings about drug legalization passed without so much as a raised eyebrow, much less a right cross.

Anyway, it was that kind of night. We shall not speak of it again. But if, perchance, you haven’t gotten your fill of bromides and comity, here’s a roundup of other folks’ takes.

Slate’s John Dickerson calls the debate an “orgy of agreement.”

Ben senses that Obama missed an opportunity.

Michael Crowley thinks that Hillary’s answer on the Darfur question “underscored my sense that she’s doing a great job with the can-a-woman-lead-the-military question.” But he thinks everyone will forget this one real quick.

MSNBC’s first read calculates that—this will come as a shock—Bill Richardson spoke the longest.

Jim Geraghty at NRO calls it “an egregious can-you top-this panderfest.”

And Jonathan Martin was struck by Mike Gravel’s pants

Yes, it was a very khaki evening.

Howard’s End