The Talking Dog

October 6, 2004, Ifil Sour, Cheney Glowers, Edwards Towers

Last night's bout in Cleveland between Pretty Boy Edwards and Dirty Dick Cheney was scored close enough by most people to be viewed as a draw, or at least, an indecisive win for one or the other. (The one thing everyone can agree on is that PBS personality Gwen Ifil was horrendous in her role as moderator, and hopefully, will never be permitted so important a job ever again.)

This is interesting, in that while I scored Kid Kerry a 2-1 and 7-5 in rounds winner over the President, I scored Pretty Boy Edwards as a solid 3-0 winner, and 4-0 in rounds (in 8 rounds, neither fighter really connected; indeed, despite Dick Cheney being asleep most of the second part of the debate, Edwards stopped landing punches on him). I personally did not observe a single blow by Dick Cheney landing on Edwards during the entire bout (although Edwards more or less sent Cheney to the mat for at least one standing 8 count during the Iraq discussion). And yet, because Bush was so awful a belt holder, Kid Kerry was ruled the winner almost universally-- by a spin-proof margin. It may be back to Fight Ref school for me, I guess. Some feel that Cheney's cheap shots about Edwards' absentee record scored points; I just don't feel that a man flailing his arms as he's falling to the mat counts as connected punches. Call me a stickler.

Further, unlilke Kid Kerry, Edwards did not leave himself open to knock-out blows. Frankly, given that Dirty Dick was willing to lie about things like having never met Edwards before and having never said (thousands of times) that Saddam and OBL were best buddies and Saddam had a nuclear arsenal ready to fire at us, Dirty Dick let Edwards go on his absurd mis-construction of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of our Constitution, Edwards alarmingly insisting that "in 200 years no state has to recognize another state's marriages." WRONG. EVERY STATE has to recognize EVERY OTHER STATE'S MARRIAGES. While New York holds that 14 year olds marrying violates our public policy, if two 14 year old newlyweds from Mississippi (where such marriages are, ar at least were, legal, albeit with parental consent) move here, must New York recognize that marriage, even though New YOrk wouldn't allow the marriage to be initiated here? Answer: YES. Must Mississippi "recognize" two men married in Massachusetts as married? YES. Whether its for spousal support, or child custody, assuming such a couple met residency requirements, the answer is YES, YES, YES.

And now we will get to why even partisan moi did not score it a knock-out for my fellow attorney and TD-fave-from-Day-1 John Edwards. There was no need for the cheap Halliburton references. I enjoyed them, of course, but they mitigated from THE THEME. The theme: competence. Basic, God damned competence. Which strarts by recognizing reality: Cheney has a long record of contradicting what Rumsfeld, Powell, and now Bremer have been saying for a long, long time. And when Edwards took this on, he scored, scored, and scored some more. When he went elsewhere (including attempted cheap shots), we went nowhere.

When we got into nonsensical policy issues, like "frivolous law suits" (a question that only a worthless slug like Ms. Ifil would have even brought up, given how spirited the exchange was otherwise), both pugilists got rather boring. But Edwards missed a key point (Begala raised it over at CNN): "You GOT INTO OFFICE ON A LAWSUIT-- and yet, you want to take away everyone else's right to go to Court." Also, while Edwards uttered the key stat: med mal cases are less than 1/200 of our health care costs-- hardly worth the rhetorical spin-- he failed to hammer home the points of WHY health care costs are rising (bureaucracy, FEDERAL paperwork requirements, insurance bureaucracy, insurance company profits, drug company profits on wonder drugs, and improved technologies). Anyway, I did score the domestic part of the debate as a draw.

Big picture: does this change anything? Short answer: no. Edwards held his own; Cheney failed to lower expectations of his own semi-catatonic performance (I like him in black, though he is even more imposing when he wears that helmet too). Whatever campaign momentum there was going in is still there.

Anyway, nice entertaining 4 or 5 rounds from the light heavyweights, until they got into clenching for the last few rounds. Too bad they got a moderator from the W.W.F. Friday night's re-match between Kid Kerry and No-Gentleman George should be a must see.


On gravitas and form, I thought it was a tie. However, Cheney loses big on substance when you consider that something like 95% of his "factual" statements were false. And I think Edwards managed to land more telling blows while being a civil sort of guy--Cheney was the mean, snarling, evil-snorting beast we always thought he was. After accounting for lying and sheer rottenness, I think Edwards won.

Given all that, and the insta-polls indicating it was probably a draw, what the heck was in Chris Matthews' water bottle? I could not believe the raving Cheney-worship going on there (with designated "liberal," Ron Reagan, not up to the task of challenging the combined ravings of Matthews, Andrea Mitchell and Joe Scarborough all cheering for Cheney). Reasonable people could have thought Cheney won (before fact-checking), but no rational human could have thought he mopped up the floor with Edwards. They must have gotten really beaten up for calling the first debate for Kerry--only explanation is that this was an attempt to even things up.

Posted by mamayo at October 6, 2004 1:54 PM

Not everyone thought Gwen Ifil was horrendous. Your friend and mine, the Hawspipe loved her.

Posted by Mr. Coffee at October 6, 2004 2:21 PM

I thought it was a little odd when Gwen Ifil said to John "Fluff Girl" Edwards:
"You sit over here next to me, honey."
But these people just do not answer questions.
Edwards was asked what his administration's policy would be on Israel.
First, he asks for more time to tell a story, which Gwen gives him, while stroking his hair. (Moments earlier she angrily rebuked Cheney, who rhetorically stated that he would need more than 30 seconds to respond to Edwards' pile of nonsense.)
Fluff Girl goes into a self serving story that he was in Israel when Sbarros was bombed, and he felt their pain. Then he goes off on Halliburton again.
Not one word about Israel policy, which, I dunno, seems kinda important.
But you Libs are so determined to get rid of Bush & Co. that you will accept any garbage in their place.

Posted by They Call Me Mr. Crabcake at October 6, 2004 2:57 PM

I figured that debate for a minor win on Edwards part. He held his own against the more experienced Cheney, and he managed to land a few good shots. But you're right, Dog, he could have thrown a few knock outs if he'd wanted to. And Mr. Crabcake is right, both candidates didn't answer the questions fully, Isarael for Edwards, and Jobs for Cheney.

Posted by Chip Tijuana at October 6, 2004 3:38 PM

While the debate itself seemed to be disappointing to a lot of people (I would say that certainly e second half of the debate, mostly because of the abysmal Ms. Ifil, was unquestionably awful) most of us missed "the moment", which happened when all the networks cut away from the broadcast.

Apparently, Cheney turned to Edwards and said "But, John, I'M YOUR FATHER".

Posted by the talking dog at October 6, 2004 4:58 PM