Who won?

I was watching as closely as the next guy, and frankly our man got in trouble a lot. There was that point, right near the beginning, when he was on the ropes, and it looked like the Dark Empire was about hit one home, but then the Good Guys were able to rally and prevent a score. It took a lot of strong defensive plays, but they finally were able to prevail in a harsh atmosphere by going on attack just as well as they defended. I think the Minnesota Twins just might be able to beat the Yankees in this series.

Oh! You meant that other contest. Yeah, I watched that one, too. In fact, I had to shut off the baseball game just as the Twins converted their second of five double plays in nine innings. I probably should have kept watching baseball.

Is it just me, or was Gwen Ifill the worst moderator ever? She couldn’t even keep track of whose turn it was, let alone ask a decent question. I thought the “rule” question, where the candidates couldn’t mention their running mates, was particularly awful. Despite the fact that it was indeed a lousy softball question, or perhaps because of it, Edwards flubbed it miserably. He’s been trained so well to support Kerry the past couple of months that he couldn’t manage to say something good about himself.

I do think Dick Cheney’s hard-hitting attacks on Kerry/Edwards were more successful than Edwards’ equally hard-hitting retorts, mostly because everyone already knows Cheney’s an asshole, so none of it was particularly surprising. There’s got to be a better way for the Kerry/Edwards campaign to point out that Cheney voted against the same defense programs he criticizes Kerry for voting against.

Another debate annoyance: Cheney was grinding his palms together with such ferocity that he almost completely muffled his mike. Hello? Mr. Vice President? Ever been on TV before? We need these microphone-thingies so your talking-sounds get out to all those people out there watching you, you know, in TV-land….

Several blogs have noted that Cheney referred viewers to factcheck.com. Although I’m sure George Soros appreciates the free pub, I think Cheney meant factcheck.ORG. Apparently other Americans were also able to guess what he was thinking, because as of this writing, factcheck.org’s servers are still unable to handle the load.

Oh, yeah, the facts thing. Well, Cheney HAS met Edwards, but apparently we’ve only spent $120 billion in Iraq, so it’s a draw.

Interestingly, I’d say the reason Cheney did better in this debate is because he’s more “presidential” than his “boss,” George Bush. If you think about it, Edwards and Bush are kind of similar: each with just a few years of government service before running for office. Come to think of it, so are Cheney and Kerry: both are lifelong politicos. Cheney even tried to pass off his Halliburton experience as something to while away the hours while his party was out of power. Edwards would have had no problem whatsoever in dispatching Bush in a debate, but he was overmatched against Cheney. Cheney didn’t crush Edwards like Kerry did to Bush, but he at least averted a complete republican train wreck.

Fortunately for the democrats there are two very wobbly stretches of track for the Bush/Cheney campaign ahead. Friday’s “town hall” debate will be a tough challenge for Dubya, but next week’s question and answer session on domestic policy will be like riding a rickety steam engine through a minefield in quicksand.

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2 Responses to Who won?

  1. Anne says:

    Have you seen this: http://overstated.net/04/10/01-presidential-debate-analy.asp? I following the link from The Morning News. It’s a fun & interesting quick way to see how often certain phrases get repeated.

  2. dave says:

    Nope, hadn’t seen that one (see yesterday’s entry about how few blogs I read). Interesting stuff! You could almost reconstruct the entire debate just by repeating back their most-used phrases.

    I wonder if anyone’s done this analysis for the veep’s debate.

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