mr. zilla goes to town

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

blood on the debatefloor

Personal first impressions on the Cheney-Edwards debate:

All the fire and heat was in the foreign policy 'half' of the debate. It's clearly where the slugging out is going to continue as both parties see they can score points to motivate their partisans and laggard undecideds on this issue.

One topic of discussion -- that has not yet come up between Bush and Kerry -- brought coloured cheeks to Edwards and a gritted jaw to Cheney, and that was gay marriage. I thought both VP candidates looked extremely uncomfortable to even be discussing the issue. Edwards attempted to thread the needle between the bigotry of the Middle Ground and the Democratic supporter base. He was fairly adroit at doing so, but not as much as Cheney, who simply acknowledged Edwards' brief respect for his (gay) daughter and then clammed completely up - a mere one sentence response in his ninety second allotment. Cheney knows it is an issue the religious Republican base won't tolerate moderation on so just shut the hell up. One standard for your family that you don't dare to apply to the rest of the country. You snivelling cowardly plutocratic hypocrite. I found it quite frustrating at the time that Edwards didn't straight up slam dunk and with American ideas for human decency and respectful equality in unequivocal terms, but I've learned from personal observation of diehard conservative friends locally that with time and (my own) patience to allow them come to the idea on their own terms, people do come around on this issue. Like Nelson Mandela said, the curve of history arcs towards justice. You can be with this or you can be a f..king speedhump. (He didn't say that second part).

For all this, Cheney did show a better command of detail in certain aspects of the foreign policy section of the debate, and it was telling as the momentum started with Edwards, swayed to Cheney and then back to Edwards where it stayed. In this Cheney is certainly reflective of his time in the Senate and akin in style to Kerry, while the charismatic Edwards is more in the mold of a Bush. In this vein I also observed that of the two Edwards was more likely to fall obviously back into prepared speaking points; on message but not as closely integrated into the flow of debate as could possibly have been. Tch, I'm a mixologist to the end...

In terms of interactive style, like Kerry last Thursday Cheney certainly had a preponderance of gravitas in his favour. But Edwards did not look nearly as lacking as Bush. I felt that blows were landed equally on both sides, and as a result just 4 days from now after Kerry and Bush debate again this will be a long distant and non-decisive memory.

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