Friday, October 08, 2004

Pre-Debate 2

Well, again, I'm not as panicky before this debate as I was before the last one. However, that doesn't mean all is well for Senator Kerry. There are two potential pitfalls of the debate tonight: 1) That the style will hamper Kerry and 2) That the post-debate media spin will go to Bush regardless of the content.

To the first, etc frets:
One concern I have about tonight's debate is that the townhall format doesn't really lend itself to hitting Bush on Iraq. If the postdebate focus groups I've been watching are any indication, "undecided" voters seem to want the candidates to talk about what they're going to do in Iraq going forward, not the mistakes made so far. This is, of course, preposterous, since our options going forward have been shaped entirely by the administration's long list of failures. You can't discuss one without the other. But the questions are likely to be along those lines nonetheless, which could complicate things for Kerry.

Ultimately, he doesn't think it will have too much of an impact, but it's still something to keep in mind.

To the second, The American Prospect wonders if the media won't just declare Bush the winner for the sake of balance. Already, GOP spinners are claiming that the media is declaring Kerry the winner only because they are closet liberals who want a Democratic victory. This may have a kernel of truth to it (see, for example, my analysis of the VP debate, which appears to be in the distinct minority opinion), but it shouldn't, in theory, stop the media from reporting accurately on the events tonight. Of course, in theory the media cares about accuracy in reporting. Old myths die hard.

In any event, Bush is slipping badly in the polls, so Kerry has some breathing room. I'll stand by what I said before, as long as Kerry presents himself as merely a viable alternative to Bush, he wins by Technical Knockout. Hopefully, "viability" isn't too hard of a hurdle to clear.

No comments: