Wednesday, October 06, 2004

brief vp debate assessment

I watched/listened to the debate on the web while multitasking in another window. Not exactly great for Getting Things Done, but part of my civic and bloggerly duty.

When Clinton was president, some would snipe about how Hillary was really the one running the show. With the current president, some snipe about how Cheney is really the one running the show. Key differences: (1) there is no reason to suppose that Hillary ever had anything remotely-remotely like the kind of power in the Clinton White House that Cheney has; (2) there is no reason to presume that Hillary would have been a better president than Bill. Cheney is a heartbeat away from the president; if the choice for president was just between Cheney and Bush, I would vote for Cheney in a heartbeat.

I thought the debate was a quintessential draw. Of course, I'm not sure I can say the debate was a draw without it sounding like I believe Cheney "really won" but refuse to acknowledge it because I am a Kerry-Edwards supporter. However, JFW is an actual no-spin-zone because I operate under no delusion that I am affective Public Debate by the things I type here. So, yes, a draw. I don't think either did an especially more effective job of helping his side win votes. The idea that Kerry now has the momentum was neither derailed nor fueled by what transpired. I generally think any time that Edwards and Cheney are on-camera at the same time is good for the Democrats; however, Cheney pulled off his dour schtick pretty well.

BTW, I thought some of the questions were remarkably ill-reasoned, but none worse than: "As the vice president mentioned, John Kerry comes from the state of Massachusetts, which has taken as big a step as any state in the union to legalize gay marriage. Yet both you and Senator Kerry say you oppose it. Are you trying to have it both ways?" Indeed, that may be the most poorly reasoned question I have ever heard in a Presidential or Vice-Presidential debate. (If Bush takes a position that contradicts some recent development in Texas, is he "trying to have it both ways"? At least Bush was governor of Texas at some point in the past.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Edwards had a small spot on his suit - never underestimate the trivial when it comes to informed voters making a choice!!

Tom Bozzo said...

This is pretty consistent with my immediate reaction. That the fact-checking aftermath seems to be going especially badly for Cheney is not a surprise, though (in the parallel universe where the bulk of what he said was substantially true, he kicked butt!).

And yes, the moderation was terrible, both in the quality of questions such as you highlight, and in the administration of rebuttal opportunities. The latter, I think, made it tougher on Edwards in the early going. Using response time for other questions as rebuttal is usually considered good lawyering (in that allegations not expressly denied may be deemed admitted), but broke up the flow of the debate.

Anonymous said...

The contrast in knowledge and delivery between Cheney and Dubya was just astonishing (inaccuracies on both of their parts aside). If anonymity could be guaranteed, I wonder what a survey of registered Republicans would show if folks were asked whether they would support a ticket flip-flop (Cheney becomes President; Dubya becomes VP). Are the 50+ percent who say they'll vote GOP just supporting a party, or do they really *like* Dubya?

nina said...

Sorry, Jeremy, but I respectfully disagree. It was not a draw. I write about it in my blog so I wont repeat here all my points. Bottom line: Democrats gained a stronger grip on their 'momentum.' Cheney did not pull Bush out of the cesspool from last week. Nor did he discredit Edwards. Edwards, appearing for the first time in front of a large audience was right on the ball with drawing attention to inaccuracies and hammering away at the differences. GOP thus slipped and Democrats inched forward. Moreover, to prefer Cheney over Bush is to prefer style and more style. Cheney is evil even if he can package it better. Eat your words and hope that the heartbeat thing doesn't put this vampire into the front seat.

jeremy said...

Come on, Nina!:

1. Edwards has appeared in front of a large audience before. He did give a prime-time speech at the Democratic National convention, after all.

2. The matter of relative evilness aside, someone who preferred Cheney over Bush if those were the only two options for president who not only be getting style and more style. They would also be getting, say, 20-30 IQ points.

nina said...

A canned speech is not the same as appearing before a large audience to field a set of Qs. And I do not know why you think a higher IQ makes you less likely to perpetrate evil. I can list even smarter people than Cheney who have done inhuman acts of great harm. Does it make you feel better knowing that he may put his sinewy intelligence to use in the White House? How odd.
We just don't agree on this point nor on the debate. Cheney did not succeed, Edwards did. Cheney is evil and I have absolutely no reason to believe that he would be preferable to Bush.

jeremy said...

Anyway, presumably the Bush vs. Cheney election battle can remain in happy hypothetical land.

Goesh said...

The plan was for Secret Service agents to come running in and cart Cheney off to a secret bunker, claiming terrorists were on hand, IF he started losing the debate. Since this didn't happen, the GOP felt he held his own, making it a draw, leaving informed voters to decide on Kerry's long chin or Bush's furrowed brow come November.

Anonymous said...

Am I to understand, Jeremy, that you believe Dick Cheney's IQ is between 20 and 30?