About Me

My photo
This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Contentious exchange?

Update: Legal Fiction and others said that Kerry did a pretty fine job with some pratfalls (which Bush didn't really take advantage of; in fact, many say he looked rather outmatched -- well, Kerry was the one on the debate team) along the way. I came home [I didn't avoid it or anything -- my nights are a bit less free these days] and heard that (no shock) the Yanks just won their division, which also meant the debate was about over. No great loss, probably, since even a good debate was unlikely to be too fascinating. And, I respect these people's opinions. Anyway, good marks might be of limited value, but it's better than the alternative.

The Democratic nominee goes into the first presidential debate in Coral Gables, Fla., trailing in most head-to-head polls and lagging as well on most of the personal qualities voters look for in a president. ...

[T]hree national polls released this week by well-established organizations -- Pew, Gallup and ABC/Washington Post -- all showed Bush with a substantial lead. Equally important, they showed voters were increasingly skeptical of Kerry's leadership abilities on Iraq, terrorism -- and even the economy, an issue long thought to cut his way.

-- NY Newsday

Just how bad the situation is rather debatable, and I am not a poll watcher at any rate. All the same, what planet are these respondents on? Apparently, they think our exalted leader is more qualified, and with allies supporting torture promotion, who wouldn't be? Anyway, the debates are Sen. Kerry's chance to convince some potential voters to get a freaking clue.

I honestly don't want to watch these things, though next week's Cheney v. Edwards match-up sounds so downright weird that it might be worth watching. Why can't we just do it Celebrity Deathmatch style, which is not only much shorter, but probably more entertaining? As I mentioned before, these guys' annoy me -- President Bush just drives me nuts, especially since he's so full of shit. Oh, his view of things also tend to be pretty wrong. And, I know enough about both to determine who to vote for. Yeah, this is for swing voters, who will apparently be as influenced by non-issue related post-debate spin as what the two say.

NOW with Bill Moyers had an interesting piece on how the debates ["a contentious exchange between two parties"] themselves do not provide much in way of substance. This tendency was given a large assist by the Commission of Presidential Debates, who took over the duties from the League of Women Voters', when the latter group failed to accept secret agreed upon pre-debate rules set by the candidates. As a person who studied the issue noted:
It's a glorified bipartisan press conference. They get a question from a moderator that they selected and they can predict… they've memorized the response to. They issue a memorized sound bite which fits a very nice perfect 90-second response slot that has been stipulated in the contract.

Their opponent cannot challenge their answer because they're prohibited by the contract. The moderator can't challenge their answer because they can't ask follow-up questions.

I can catch the latter half of the debate tomorrow night (or catch it on tape, of course), but why should I? The debates among the Democratic candidates during the primaries had a value -- I didn't know too much about the candidates, found them fairly interesting to watch, and relatively painless. The only value for me personally this time around is to judge for myself how good the candidates are performing. This is of some relevance, but probably not enough for me to actually watch the damn things.

The piece did suggest the importance of debate style. Many still gnash their teeth at the friendly comments during the Cheney/Lieberman debate, including when Cheney mentioned that he did well in private life without government support (via Halliburton, which relied greatly on governmental contracts). And, the Gore/Bush debates sometimes were pretty friendly as well:
BUSH: Yeah, I agree.

GORE: I agree with that. The Governor and I agree.

BUSH: I think the administration did the right thing.

GORE: I agree with that.

LEHRER: You have a different view of that?

BUSH: No, I don't really.

That probably convinced a bunch of future Nader voters, hmm?


Anyway, there are some great baseball races going on. The NY Mets did their part in making the Cubs lives miserable, but heck, someone had to, right? Today's role players in that department were the Reds. Likewise, playoff hopefuls are having pitching problems all over the place (Pedro again had a bad outing -- are the Tampa Bay Devil Rays his daddy too?).

Mets talk -- it annoys me that they left Met rookie Heilman in for the seventh inning today, which was his downfall. The guy was pitching on three days rest and did a fine job for six. While I'm on the subject, why not let Trachsel try for a .500 season on Sunday? It's not really his "spot," but Glavine (designated starter) pitched (mediocre) in yesterday's doubleheader as well. Anyway, the team had another bad season, though one really only expected that they'd win around ten more games. And, talk of the veterans quitting and so forth aside, injuries to key players damned the team as much as anything else.