Tuesday, October 05, 2004
What can we expect from the Cheney-Edwards debate? The consequences in this debate are a little lower than for the ones between Kerry and Bush, so we can look at them a little more dispassionately. One thing we can expect is for the two candidates to focus on the opposing Presidential nominee rather than each other. Their jobs are to act as advocates. This is where Edwards has a tremendous advantage- he's been defending his clients for years. Another advantage Edwards has is in the personality: Cheney is grumpy and scary, and Edwards seems nice. Finally, since the Republican attack is on Kerry's consistency, particularly on security issues, Edwards has both a responsibility and an opportunity to stick it to Cheney on this issue: after all, Cheney proposed all the cuts that Kerry voted for. And then there is Halliburton and the California energy crisis. Edwards probably won't be aggressively negative, but he will be waiting for Cheney to open himself up to those attacks.
It is not all roses and ice cream. I'm worried about the tremendously high expectations on Edwards. As we learned last week, expectations are crucial. I'm worried that the media will inevitably spin the story into a Cheney victory. And Edwards may not perform to the level we expect- in part because he has stumbled before, and also because he is bound to be nervous. I'm concerned that Cheney may be able to paint Edwards as too inexperienced.
But I like Edwards, and I think he will rise to the occasion. Remember, his job is defend Kerry, not himself, a fact which should ease some of the pressure. So my handicap on the contest: I give Edwards a 58.3% chance of a victory tonight.
On other notes, go check out BTC News for an excellent post on the "tyranny of the majority" by the House Republicans. It just underlines what some of us have been saying the last couple of months: these people cannot be trusted with our democracy. And for a discussion on what we can do about it, read the Dean interview on Mother Jones. Dean gives exactly the right strategy for Democrats- I really do think that Kerry should name him DNC chairman.