Thursday, September 30, 2004

SUMMATION. The postmorticians will carry the usual water for the usual suspects. Me, on the other hand, you can trust.

So let me say that each candidate made as good as case as could be expected for his policies. But the benefit of the event will probably go mostly to Kerry.

Kerry's great accomplishment was to counteract the cartoon image with which his opponents have tried to cover him. He did not appear the least indecisive; the President, in seeking to resurrect that talking point throughout the debate, seemed ignoble and mildly desperate. Kerry seemed to know what he was talking about, what he meant to do, and how he meant to do it. Even his traditional, rigid manner helped in this regard.

Bush's great accomplishment was to be the President of the United States. Which, as his father knows, only works if people think you're doing a good job.

To refer to the contest as a tie implies that both parties gained or lost a similar amount. I don't see it. Bush only showed what we already knew about him. Kerry, for his considerable failings, showed that what we had been told to believe about him was not self-evidently the truth.

Whether this amounts to anything depends on 1.) who saw it and 2.) who cares. Those factors are probably beyond the reach of conventional politics.

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