Tuesday, October 05, 2004

In tonight's first and only Vice Presidential debate, held in Cleveland, OH, it appeared to me that Mr. Cheney made the better argument, although (as in the first Presidential debate) there seemed to be no decisive victor. For his first televised one-on-one debate, Mr. Edwards did very well, but Cheney possessed a certain mastery of conviction. Again, you don't have to be right to have conviction. All that I'm saying is that he made his case better than his opponent, who, it was said, would be at a disadvantage from the format of the debate, which did not involve two podiums but rather a table. I can predict how the respective sides will spin the outcome, but the video and transcript of tonight's event (as in any debate, of course) will always speak for itself; no post-debate spin can ever change that, only the electorate's perception, which unfortunately is just as if not more important. Tomorrow we will hear from the opinion pages of elite journalistic opinion (e.g. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal), and our memories of the debate the night before will once again be spinned out of proportion, our original thoughts on it lost forever. (How else to explain the legion of television commentators who immediately grabble our perception of the preceding events already out of our immediate consciousness and morph it into whatever shape or form they devise?)

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