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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Since 1960, debates have made a difference 

    What a joke bloggers can be. does 5-minute analyses. Here is the assessment from Debate No. 3:

    ``In keeping with my track record of eerily-accurate five-minute analyses, I'm saying that President Bush has won this election.

    ``Before you disagree, keep in mind my confident 5-minute call that John Kerry's nomination acceptance speech was an `unmitigated disaster.' Or that I called Kerry the clear winner of the first presidential debate within five minutes. Or that, as soon as the California recall TV debate ended last year, I predicted that, `barring a meteor strike, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the next governor of California.'

    ``In the first debate, Kerry's harsh prosecutorial manner was effective. In the second, it was boring. In the third, it's backfiring.

    ``Kerry comes off as an arch-pessimist, reciting a litany of woes that could depress anyone. Meanwhile, Bush is cheerfully celebrating the fact that a 19-year-old girl was the first democratic voter in the history of Afghanistan.

    ``Americans like optimists. This election is over.''

    Ohioblog disagrees, and suggests that Jeff Greenfield of CNN has a more reasoned response when he says it will take 48 to 72 hours to measure the consequences of this third and final president debate. For what it is worth, however, CNN's instant poll had Kerry winning this debate 52 percent to 39 percent.

    As strange as it may sound with all the spinmeisters and instant experts, but the best analysis comes from historian Michael Beschloss on PBS. Beschloss points out that the debates, begun in 1960 when fresh-faced John F. Kennedy faced off against five-o'clock-shadowed Richard Nixon, have ``changed our political system. It has given the challenger a leg up.''

    When the debates began two weeks ago, Kerry had fallen back in most polls. By Wednesday night, he had pulled even with or moved ahead of President Bush. Why? Because as his idol JFK did in '60, Kerry proved himself as presidential as the president in a head-to-head, toe-to-toe showdown. No amount of advertising can do what the debates did for Kerry.

    He was anything but perfect. As many times as he has talked about his plans to pay for his agenda of healthcare, jobs creation, protection for the American homeland and on and on, the math doesn't just fail to add up but simply is not there in the depth required. Kerry's answer (and this isn't bad) is that he will return to the pay-as-you-go philosophy of the Clinton years, something President Bush has found impossible with tax cuts upon tax cuts and war costs upon war costs.

    Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS came at both candidates with enough twist on his questions that they too often had no answers but veered off into their standard campaign rhetoric of which we've heard enough already.

    Of course those of us in Ohio will hear more of it in the days before the election. The ads will be unrelenting and the campaign visits will continue unabated. Kerry won't pull out of Ohio as Al Gore did in 2000.

    These men are starkly different, with the occasional exception. They wear the same dark suit, the same red power tie and the same American flag in their labels. Anyone who wants to explore their differences has had the chance during these debates, though the mainstream media and on the Internet. There are answers out there for those who still have questions. Read the debate transcripts. Go the the candidates' Web sites. Search the Internet, all the while remembering there are as many swine of ignorance out there as there are pearls of wisdom. Ohioblog, of course, is the latter.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:44 PM

     Latest posts

       •  Is it too late for a little honesty?
       •  There's correct and then there's fair
       •  It's endorsement season
       •  Trust the ones who know you best
       •  Hot to trot to the polls
       •  `Manufacturing' something for everyone
       •  Approvals and polls
       •  Another day, another job deficit
       •  Ohioblog is NOT a smart selector
       •  A complicated Ohio in a complex world

       •  July 2004
       •  August 2004
       •  September 2004
       •  October 2004
       •  November 2004

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