Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Cheney/Edwards - Taking Johnny-boy Behind the Woodshed  | e-mail post

Cheney's command of the facts as compared to Edwards' was great. I also appreciated that Gwen Ifill didn't throw Lehrer-style softballs to Edwards and "When did you stop beating your wife" questoins to Cheney. Lehrer wasn't horribly out of whack, but his questions seemed to tilt toward Kerry and, before you take issue, just compare his first question to each candidate last Thursday and then see if you disagree.

Edwards was basically stuck having no good answers to some pretty tough, but legitimate, questions (Why are you qualified to be a heartbeat away? What the heck is this global test? Isn't Kerry's idea of "internationalizing" the Iraq situation naive?) Edwards couldn't even say why he wasn't different than Cheney without falling back on bringing up Kerry twice (once after he had been corrected on it). His closing statement would have been great for a jury, though, which is unsurprising, as he is supposed to be a master of the heartfelt appeal in closing arguments in jury trials.

I guess the only things I would have liked to have seen are:

Cheney pointing out when Edwards did the "90% of the casualties, 90% of the costs" comment, that this is in line with a good historical parallel like the Korean conflict (see my comments on the Bush-Kerry debate for reference) . They have got to neutralize that number, and I don't think including Iraqis in the mix has sufficient rhetorical power.

When challenged on Bush-Kerry flip-flops, I think a better rebuttal might have been to meet them head-on. Something like:
Gwen, it might help to to distinguish between a flip-flop and a compromise.

We were concerned that a 9/11 commission investigation could degenerate into a political blame-game and wanted to focus on how to move forward not look for culprits. But when we saw the importance of this issue to so many people, we realized it was necessary for us to move forward as a nation.

We were concerned that a homeland security department would become an enormous bureaucracy, would result in wasteful layers of management, which Senator Edwards just complained about, and would be too inefficient due to its size. We were ultimately persuaded that the benefit of unified coordination would outweigh those concerns.

When we thought we could deploy that budget surplus, no one realized that the economic good-times of the 1990's were built on an artifical bubble created during the prior administration with the dot-com explosion and poorly-regulated accounting practices, nor that terrorists were plotting to attack us.

As to the Patient Bill of Rights, we would have signed the House bill but the Senate bill created was economically impractical, since it allowed no caps on punitive damages. I guess that's no surprise since Senator Edwards was a cosponsor of the Senate bill.

But really, Gwen, what all this is about is that we live in the real world and we sometimes need to make real choices or we need to acknowledge and respect the opinions of others in government about specific decisions. That's what the executive branch does.

You can't have everything, and we know that. But there's a difference between making a compromise in a world of imperfect options, and changing your position on the war in Iraq a half-dozen times when whatever position you take doesn't change the actual state of affairs that day. Now, that's a flip-flop, not a compromise.
Honestly, though, I thought Cheney really played a whole lot better tonight than Edwards all the way around.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Tuesday, October 05, 2004
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