Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Debate This...

I find myself disinclined to worry about who may have "won" any given debate. The reason for this is that it's virtually impossible to be completely objective about your analysis, assuming you have any level of political preference.

Finding others to validate your own opinion isn't all that hard. Pollsters, bless their little hard-wired brains, are like accountants. Give twenty pollsters the same questions and they'll return twenty (or more?) results, sampling errors included. All you need to do is pick the poll that best supports your position and stick with it. Bloggers need only turn to others of their particular slant to find all the support they need (or want) for their position.

Indeed, for political debates, the question of who won is only truly important to a) the campaigns of the candidates involved, and b) people who are too clueless to decide for themselves and need others to tell them who won. As if we weren't capable of deciding for ourselves.

This is the true point of any debate. It gives the voters a(nother) chance to listen to the candidates and decide which candidate best supports the voters' requirements for an elected official. Period. It has nothing to do with whether or not your favorite Talking Head tells you who the "winner" was. The Talking Head is merely voicing the fact that they've made their choice, and would really like you to agree.

Shamelessly I admit that I once again avoided last night's debate. I prefer to read a variety of takes on who said what the next morning. Then, if one alleged statement or misstatement stands out, I'll dig deeper to see what the candidate's track record on that topic is. Information-wise, debates are cheap. Candidates can and often do say things that they didn't really mean to say because they mistakenly believe it scores points. Or because they're just plain stupid. Either way, I'd rather see what they've said in the past before I validate anything they've said in a too-tightly-controlled debate.

As a conservative I give the advantage last night to (surprise!) Cheney. I didn't watch but a snippet or two of post-debate soundbites, so I'm not in a position to tell you that Cheney looked "grumpy" or Edwards' yellow pad was all over the desk. So what? Cheney continued to sound the themes that I find important, and Edwards (from what I've read) continued to dance around the idea that he and his boss still have no coherent or cohesive plan for the war on terror.

Let me provide a public service here, since that's the kind of service-oriented guy I am. I will predict for you the results of the next two debates between Bush and Kerry.

Bush, who is not a brilliant debater and knows it, will continue to assure me that he will carry the fight against terror to the terrorists regardless of whether we have international support. He will continue to fight against things like abortion and gay marriage. He will try to stimulate the economy.

Kerry, who is not as brilliant a debater as he thinks he is, will continue to harp on "this President" not having a "plan for peace in Iraq." He will not support efforts to protect marriage in America despite "believing" that marriage should only be between a man and a woman because gays will hate him if he does. He will not defend the lives of innocent unborn children because some women will hate him if he does. He will raise our taxes.

Wild projections, I know, but I'm also certain (call me visionary if you must) that both sides will loudly trumpet victory for up to forty-eight hours after each debate.

My vote will not have changed.

Can't wait to miss the next one!

No comments: