Dems Fight to be Ruler of the Playground

At Thursday night's debate, Florida Republicans were treated to banter along the lines of a feisty discussion sparked over overstuffed, leather armchairs between gentlemen at a country club.
It even became fraternal as the Republican candidates sized up the brawn of their supporters.

Mike Huckabee joked about being timid to oppose his tough guy, Chuck Norris, when he first said John McCain was too antique to be president. McCain chortled and then said he'd send his muscle crew, Sylvester Stallone and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, to face Norris.

What do Florida Democrats hear? (Cricket. Cricket.) And then there's the echo from South Carolina of the kind of political nastiness that leaves a stale taste in one's mouth. Recent verbal sparring between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the early voting date that caused the party to be stripped of its delegates may cause some to feel less than enthusiastic about voting in the presidential primaries on Jan. 29.

But Make It Count Florida, a site run by the Sunshine State's Democratic party, is encouraging blue voters to hit the polls while assuring that it will be more than a "beauty contest" or a "straw poll:" "The nation will be watching, and the outcome of the election will set the tone for the rest of the race." So, basically, the Democratic race in Florida boils down to perception. Right now, from afar, the perception of the blue frontrunners is akin to a spat over who will be king or queen of the playground. --Janine Zeitlin

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