Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I have been watching politics for a while now, and I must say I have never seen so many distortion, deceptions, and fabrications in such a sort period of time. No, I'm not talking about FOX News, but the Vice-President of the United States. Wow!. I started out trying to count the lies, but after I hit double digits in the first quarter hour I just lost track. Atrios, Daily Kos and every other liberal blogger are jumping on all of them with dispatch, so I won't belabor the point. I just hope that the press will....aw, who am I kidding?
Okay, now to the specifics of the debate:
Style: Edwards is clearly a skilled debater. He was relentlessly on message and was a rapid counter-puncher. No he didn't respond to the 87 billion canard effectively enough, but nonetheless I thought he was excellent. Poised, clear, confident and upbeat- I don't have many real criticisms. Cheney on the other hand is such an eerily good liar that on occasion I found even myself wondering if he might be telling the truth. He really does play the stern father with brilliance. But as the debate wore on, he first got annoyed and then got bored. So I think that Edwards won on style.
Substance: On strict debating points, this was a rout. Edwards levelled several devastating attacks: the Bush flip-flops, the Republican fealty to corporate America, Cheney's abysmal voting record in the House, etc., etc. Bizarrely, Cheney never responded to any of these attacks, so they went unanswered. On the other hand, as I mentioned previously, Edwards was not quick enough in rebutting the 87 billion as well as some minor criticisms. And Cheney did get in some jabs- on Edwards' inexperience, and the whole flip-flopping stuff.
Politics: It's hard to say yet how this debate is going to play out. The expectations of Edwards were very high, but that doesn't seem to have played out in the media coverage. VP debates really don't matter much- their real purpose is to further the message of the ticket. I think that Edwards clearly enunciated the Democratic message (which is one of the reasons I like him), and I think Cheney lied very effectively on Bush's behalf. Politically I call it a slight Edwards advantage, but I doubt it will be consequential on election day.
On to the next debate.