Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Oh, so THAT's what we have a vice-president for

Well now!

I'm watching the Cheney-Edwards debate as I type. For those of you who missed it, here's the story:
* Edwards starts in with some of the talking points that Kerry has been trying to turn into this year's soundtrack ("90% of the casualties and 90% of the cost", "plan for winning the peace")
* Cheney has met every attack equably, competantly and completely. He isn't looking dour, he isn't looking at all peevish -- but he's meeting facts with facts, he's meeting disinformation with information. Actually, he's reminding me of the fighting dog (named Andrew Jackson?) in Mark Twain's story "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" who wouldn't move or fight until the other dog had worn himself out, then get hold of the dog's back leg and keep the grip until the fight was over.
* A couple times Edwards actually got flustered. I don't care what your politics are -- there's something about seeing a slick lawyer dude with hair as good as Edwards stammering around that's just precious.
* As with Lehrer throwing Bush a baiting question that he batted away, the moderator's invitation to to Cheney to nail Edwards for being a nasty old trial lawyer became instead an opportunity for both men to change gears. The debate got more mature after that, but it also got more boring. I'm guessing this is where a lot of people changed channels.
* We're now at 9:20, and it seems like Edwards is trying to get in a couple last licks. Don't know if this is just a going-out-of-business sale, a second wind, or if he was hoping to lull Cheney into a false security.
* Cheney is still unflappable. I think the only time he was actually cranky was in chiding Edwards for undermining the sacrifice of Iraqis, and it was entirely appropriate. In addition, Cheney has managed to do something that Bush unbelievably missed -- put the glaringly bad voting records of both Edwards and Kerry in their senatorial careers back under scrutiny.
* I almost get the impression that these two, who are fairly evenly matched, have a certain respect for each other, though of course you won't get them to talk like they have the same opinion on anything. Wouldn't be surprised if these guys get a beer somewhere afterward, if no one is looking.

Bottom line on Edwards: I think he might've underestimated Cheney and overestimated his own charm and considerable abilities to make people feel like he's said something when he hasn't
Bottom line on Cheney: Certainly acquitted himself very well. Hard to believe that people were saying a few months ago that Cheney was a liability that Bush should do without. I think Cheney turned it back into a shootin' match.

Bottom line on the debate: This one seemed really worthwhile to me, but I'm betting that most people didn't hang in there for the whole thing. Just as well by my reasoning, since Cheney did better in the first half.
Sound-byte for the right: They're gonna love Cheney saying that Edwards' hometown paper has started referrring to him as 'Senator Gone'.
Sound-byte for the left: Hmm. Not sure, really. Probably made the best connection probably when he said in response to Cheney's take on the war picture that 'people can SEE what's happening in Iraq.' And judging from the little bit of spin I'm hearing in the post-mortem, they seem intent on portraying Cheney as 'grumpy and mean', in the words of Mary Beth Cahill.


Blogger Jim N. said...

I read through this on Fox this morning. Nice job summing up!

October 6, 2004 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

Thanks! (Sorry I couldn't get back earlier. Blogger was freezing up anytime I went to post a comment. Definitely have to get myself to MovableType.)

Of course there are Bush-Kerry ones tonight, but I don't know if I can stand to watch them. Bush really underperformed last time. I don't know if he's just running out of steam or what. Mind you, the idea that there are people out there who are STILL so undecided that this debate would swing them one way or another is just bizarre to me, but that's a different topic.

October 8, 2004 at 7:55 AM  

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