Well tonight's the night. However, in the negotiations of the
The rules, of course, prohibit 'real debate'. From the approval of moderators (Lehrer, Gibson and Scheiffer), to the required response brevity, to the prohibition of direct questioning of your opponent -all parameters ensure no meaningful questions will be asked or answered and all favor the smirking, shoulder-shrugging, 30-second-soundbiting, photo-opping nonresponse responses that are George W.[We've all seen enough Lehrer-moderated events to know what to expect tonight; a Swift Boat question will no doubt be in the script]
On the other hand, for Kerry who has actual debate experience, the " no props, notes charts, diagrams, or other writings or tangible things ..." provision won't pose the problem that it will for our fearless 'I'll follow the script, you follow me' leader. [though I suppose he could argue that he didn't think crib notes on his sleeve cuff were tangentible]
I agree with *others that Kerry has to go for the jugular tonight [but then I thought he should have done so at the convention]. He should preface his argument that Bush has been a catastrophic failure in the war on terror by acknowledging the polls suggest voters think otherwise: Polls continue to indicate you think that President Bush has been a strong leader in the war on terror and, frankly, it boggles my mind. Aside from his say-so there is simply no evidence to support that idea. It's true, he decisively went after Al Queda in Afghanistan but he did so with out proper planning and provisions to take prisoners, so many Taliban and Al Queda escaped - including Osama Bin Laden. Then, before the mission was accomplished in Afghanistan, he just as decisively cut and run to invade Iraq. Is changing targets in midstream a sign of strong leadership or just a flip-flop? He should continue with a succinct litany of failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and homeland security and end with the question - is that strong leadership in the war on terror? A lot can be said in 2 minutes [although perhaps not by John Kerry or P. D. James].
I hope I'm wrong and Kerry does manage a slam dunk tonight because a resounding defeat of Bush is the only way he will receive any credit from the SCLM.
Speaking of slam dunks, Barbara O'Brien, has a great idea of how the whole Saddam/Osama link can be put to bed:
Maybe the Democrats should hire Ross Perot to explain to the "heartlanders" that Osama and Saddam are two different guys who never got along with each other, much less worked together. "See, people, it's just this simple ..."What a visual, you know you can see him. Come to think of it, he could also explain the disparity between Bush's version of the current situation in Iraq versus the reality on the ground there. He could use *this as a prop.
[*links via Skippy]
Cheers -be responsible in your drive home from the debate-watching party and let's hope for the best [or a drunken blackout so we can't recall].