Look for the Democratic debate on Tuesday, December 4, to be a lively, aggressive exchange between the top two candidates. Oh, no kidding – right? Hillary is in danger of becoming perceived as the second banana with Barack sliding slightly ahead in the latest polling, 28 points to her 25 with Edwards coming in third with 23 points. She attacked Obama today but needs to be careful, else she’ll come off looking panicky and desparate, even mean spirited. She is in a very difficult position between avoiding direct answers to direct questions that may come back to haunt her later on to making succinct enough answers that will stem the tide of support starting to flow to Barack’s candidacy. Barack meanwhile just has to ‘keep on keeping on’ as it were. He needs to keep playing his hand as he has but like Hillary needs to make sure he doesn’t over do  it by seeming to be angry, hostile or again, mean spirited. This would seem very unlike him to even approach being labeled with these adjectives but what it basically boils down to is for him is to avoid a ‘Howard Dean moment’.

Making an analogy with baseball, the Dems game/debate features power hitters, which always gets us observers here in the cheap seats excited. Anyone in the line up could connect. Biden impresses me with every interview he gives, as a straight talker. Clinton and Obama, we know them well by now with all their pluses and minuses. Edwards, well spoken; he has some thoughtful new ideas. Richardson is okay; he’s in training for the next election. Dodd and Kucinich may yet surprise us. I enjoy getting into the Dems debates.

The Republicans on the other hand seem to be playing a type of 1960’s pitching duel type game. Boring. In their last debate, did they even mention the economy, jobs, the home mortgage crisis or the stock market? What did they talk about? Whatever it was, it was boring. I really liked McCain four years ago, but his age is catching up with him and he has moved from the center-right to the right. Giuliani seems decent enough, more centrist on his positions but needs to stop saying 9-1-1 in every other sentence. And I believe Huckabee is a candidate worth watching. Is Romney ever going to give a straight answer? Boring.

Well, we’ll see what happens Tuesday. Whatever does happen, it should be a good game. It will be broadcast live by NPR.