What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The vice-presidential debate: Cheney 1, Edwards 0

Although John Edwards gave it his best shot, ultimately Cheney came away as the winner of tonight's debate, in my opinion -- but barely; it wasn't a slam-dunk by Cheney. Edwards made some good points -- especially when he reminded everyone that the votes John Kerry had cast in the senate against weapons programs were, in fact, at the recommendation of Dick Cheney.

Debate moderator Gwen Ifill seemed to have forgotten the rules she was on hand to enforce, as both Cheney and Edwards directly addressed each other on numerous occasions. Also, the answers given to questions many times had little to do with the actual question asked by Ifill.

The debate lacked the sparks seen in previous debates -- particularly the infamous Lloyd Bentsen/Dan Quayle '88 debate where Quayle had difficulty answering the question of what he would do if he had to assume the presidency, and Bensten's "you're no Jack Kennedy" response to Quayle when Quayle mentioned having the same experience as JFK.

Cheney was rattlted a few times and his famous short-fuse came to the surface; Edwards spent a lot of time writing on his pad of paper and then loudly ripping the pages from the pad.

As is typical with most debates, there was little substance. Cheney focused almost entirely on Kerry's record (regardless of the accuracy of Cheney's interpretation of that record) while Edwards tried hard to defend Kerry and, at the same time, take shots against Cheney (Bush).

The issue of experience was raised. This is always a confusing subject due to the fact that, depending on the situation and candidate, political experience can be either seen as a benefit or a deficit ("He's a Washington insider!") Yes, Dick Cheney has more experience than John Edwards, but John Edwards has the same amount of political experience that Bush had when he ran for president. Does it really matter? I don't think so, necessarily, as Bush has proven.

Whatever the outcome, ultimately this debate is merely the warm-up act for the next presidential debate on Friday, a town forum format hosted by ABC's Charles Gibson.


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