October 01, 2004

Llama Post-Debate Snap Analysis

Yes, I wound up watching, even though I was stoked up on cough syrup. Quite a hellish experience. I leave the Big Gun analysis to the pro round here. Congrats, btw, to Steve-O for powerblogging his way through the thing.

My perspective, after sleeping on it, is as follows:

Many Republicans were hoping (secretly or otherwise) that Bush would put Kerry away last night. That certainly did not happen.

Many Donks were fearful (secretly or otherwise) that Kerry would let himself be put away last night. Again, that certainly did not happen.

What did happen is that both candidates firmly got across their points of view as well as their differences with each other. I think the Dems probably got a psychological boost because their candidate yet lives. I think the Repubs probably got a well-timed glass of ice water in the face to remind them that we still have five weeks to go and that they can't coast. (And for what it's worth, I actually think this is a good thing.)

So both candidates did okay. Call it a draw. I'm sure neither candidate changed the minds of any supporters of the other one. I have no earthly idea what effect the debate might have on the "swing vote."

One other thing that I will be interested to see: I know from personal experience that one can say things in debate that sound fine at the time but, on further review, are really quite preposterous. It's simply a function of the difference between rhetoric and substance, theatre and content. There is no doubt that after a long career as a prosecutor and a senator, Kerry is a smooth, smooth debater. But I heard him say two very silly things last night. One was that crack comparing the invasion of Iraq to invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. The other was the line about national security policy having to pass a "global test." I think those gaffes are going to come back to haunt him. My sense is that middle of the road voters probably take visceral impressions away from debates - impressions of strength, character, likeability and so on. Only political junkies wake up the next morning remembering what the candidates actually said. But those sound bites get sliced, diced and chopped and served up in campaign ads and stump speeches. That is where the actual words become more important. And that is where, I think, Kerry may actually have damaged himself.

However, as the Wise Man once said, "we'll see."

Posted by Robert at October 1, 2004 09:07 AM | TrackBack

A preening prick has stated that the US must pass the "global test" before taking action to defend itself. That same preening prick is confident that someone else will--through summits and understanding, peace, doves, lemonade and cookies--dissuade an enemy from making war. History has many examples of peacemaking through panel discussion and I cannot think of a single one that has been successful. Many more examples of peace through strength are evident in the world we live in, from the playground to the cold war: "Better leave him alone; he don't like to be messed with", applies to boys in the fifth grade and to dictators eyeing the treasure of a neighboring state. It's the "leave him alone" that is important here, not the "We are the World" sophistry.

The Preening Prick wants us to believe that his is a "smarter" way to conduct a conflict, to resolve differences, to "bring other nations to the table". President Bush wants our enemies to leave us alone; if they don't he wants to hunt them and kill them. Which method is likely to be most effective?

Dan Patterson
Winston-Salem, NC

Posted by: Dan Patterson at October 1, 2004 09:39 AM

Come on, Dan, tell us what you REALLY think! That position is wayyyyy too nuanced for me.

Posted by: Steve L.B. at October 1, 2004 11:32 AM

"President Bush wants our enemies to leave us alone; if they don't he wants to hunt them and kill them."

i love this quote.
it sums up perfectly why Bush is going to beat Kerry Nov. 2.
love it.

Posted by: merc at October 1, 2004 06:00 PM
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