Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Sic 'im, John: We shouldn't be hearing any more questions regarding whether John Edwards can be an effective attack dog. Although the North Carolina senator has been strangely quiet this campaign, he spoke up loudly for the VP debate.

Edwards gave a superior performance over Dick Cheney, in my opinion. Both candidates were well spoken, knowledgeable, and aggressive. But Edwards added that extra bit of charm and directness that I think people look for in their elected officials.

Cheney, on the other hand, gave some compelling testimony, but his message wasn't always as clear. His use of facts and figures often seemed muddled compared to Edwards, who seemed Dubya-esque in his clarity.

The vice president also seemed to avoid debate. On more than one occasion he passed up a chance to speak an extra 30 seconds to drive his point home, even after Edwards spent 30 seconds eviscerating him and his running mate.

On the substantive level, both men did fine, for the most part. I agree with Cheney on Iraq. The domestic issues, discussed in a debate for the first time, are trickier.

I'm tired of the Kerry-Edwards argument that Bush is responsible for the downturn in the economy that started before he took office. That's a huge turnoff for me. But the Democrats should keep hammering the Republicans for their lack of fiscal responsibility. Although the deficits aren't in an emergency situation yet, they're heading that direction.

Cheney made it abundantly clear, if not explicitly in words, that he disagrees with his boss on the same-sex marriage issue. As well he should, because Bush's position is indefensible. Although I disagree with Kerry-Edwards' opposition to same-sex marriage, I respect their politically expedient decision not to advocate it now, and to fight back against the idea of amending the Constitution to introduce bigotry and homophobia.

The best performer of this debate, however, had to be the moderator, Gwenn Ifill. She was able to make her presence known just enough to call the candidates out when they screwed up without drawing too much attention to herself. Other than that little flub at the end when she gave Edwards a free 15 seconds, she did great.

But overall, nothing happened that was big, controversial, or even new. The biggest surprise came at the bottom of the screen when CNN's scroll informed us that Rodney Dangerfield had died. The debates, however, continued without even a moment of silence. That man gets no respect.

UPDATE: Apparently Cheney's most successful jab, telling Sen. Edwards that they had never met before that night, was not true.

That's points off for Cheney. But Edwards should also be penalized for failing to call Cheney on the misinformation immediately. If Edwards couldn't remember that he met the vice president three times in the past, then we can give Cheney a pass for forgetting as well.

Cheney's point that Edwards had a bad attendance record still holds. But that doesn't mean much. Plus, Cheney said that, as president of the Senate, he showed up most Tuesdays. That doesn't sound like a stellar attendance record either. Of course, the vice president's role of being in charge of the Senate is largely ceremonial -- except in his tie-breaking capacity -- so he would be more productive elsewhere.


Post a Comment

Copyright © Staunch Moderate
Using Caribou Theme | Bloggerized by Themescook