Why Edwards may well win tonight’s debate


[Photos via the mighty Poor Man.)

Just like last week, there’s a buzz going around that the Republicans will win the debate tonight. That’s always a good thing, as it lowers the bar a bit for our man, John Edwards, though I think he’ll do well no matter where the bar is set. But I won’t assue anything; it’ll be a mean, tough debate.

I watched a rerun this weekend of Cheney’s 2000 debate with Joe Lieberman and was reminded that Cheney is a damn good debater. I think a lot of Dems have misunderestimated him as an angry, hot-headed curmudgeon. He’s not. He’s shrewd, calculating and well spoken. He came off brilliantly, and he kicked Lieberman’s ass (Lieberman was polite and gentle to the point of being lovey-dovey).

But events of the past couple of days have perhaps stacked the odds in Edwards’ favor, at least from my perpective. Foreign policy is seen as his weakest length, and that’s where Cheney was going to beat him. BUt over the past 24 hours we’ve had 1.) Rumsfeld’s famous statement that there’s no hard evidence of a significant relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein (followed by a huge flip-flop, of course), and 2.) Paul Bremer’s amazing admission that he was appalled at Baghdad’s lawlessness when he arrived, and that he begged for more troops to be sent. (White House response to these charges: [chirp].)

These two statements give Edwards tremendous ammunition when Cheney tries to tie Iraq to the war on terror (the cornerstone justifying the war), and when he defends America’s waging of the Iraq war. A godsend. Now Edwards can point to the government itself, the leaders of the Defense Department and the Iraqi occupation — their own words blow them out of the water.

The sense in America right now is that this will be the most important vice presidential debate ever. Right now I’m cautiously optimistic that the good guys will win. Cheney must be on the verge of hysteria now that he’s had to rewrite all his talking points at the last minute — twice!

UPDATE: Too tired to blog about it, but I can safely say it was a draw in terms of style and substance, with a slight edge to Edwards, especially on jobs and the domestic economy. But that represents a major victory for Edwards, as this was the test to see whether he could stand up against “the experienced guy” — and he did that, and one better. So while the bush people didn’t lose points for this — indeed, it’s a big help to them after the fiasco of bush’s performance last Thursday — the Kerry team came out way ahead. Special thanks to Bremer and Rumsfeld for all their help!

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Given Bush’s tactics of using a shotgun to peel an apple, I wouldn’t be supprised if at some time he proposed upping the Starwars metephor and actually tried to build a death star.

October 5, 2004 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

haha, misunderestimated indeed!

I think Edwards totally destroyed Cheney, with a few small exceptions. He certainly fared much better than Lieberman, and it was because he wasn’t scared to stick it to him right up close.

I was actually impressed with Cheney’s cool under fire, though there were times when he appeared distraught and tiresome.

October 5, 2004 @ 9:42 pm | Comment

Matt, I generally agree with you, but after bush’s abysmal and embarrassing calamity last week, this will be seen as a major coup for the GOP. bush lowered the standards to a pathetic level, the level of a miserable failure.

October 5, 2004 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

I’ve posted results of polls on this debate on my site again. I’ve got about 30 of them this time.

Click to see the poll results.

October 6, 2004 @ 11:55 am | Comment

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