Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheney v. Edwards.

Just finished watching the vice presidential debate with some of my fellow novices. As far as I'm concerned, this one was a wash - both candidates got in a few digs at the other, but neither delivered a knock-out punch. There was a definite contrast between this encounter and the memorably genial Cheney-Lieberman debate four years ago. Cheney's frequent jabs at the Kerry-Edwards tickets had a mean-spirited edge to them, and several members of the Loyola House audience thought the Veep acted like a jerk. Edwards was more civil while still managing to do his job as No. 2 by being a lot more blunt in his criticisms of the present administration than Kerry was in last week's debate. Vice presidential candidates and debates seldom make or break a ticket, and my guess is that tonight's matchup will have little impact on the election. More decisive will be Friday's debate between Bush and Kerry in St. Louis, which will have questions from a live audience of ordinary citizens - a format that often generates fireworks and can also lead candidates into fatal stumbles. Tune in Friday night for my instant reaction. AMDG.


At October 07, 2004 10:04 AM, Blogger Cheeky Lawyer said...

No offense Joe but the suggestion that Cheney acted like a jerk (not your suggestion I realize) or that Cheney was mean-spirited really shows a bias here. It was a hard-hitting debate. And both sides hit hard. In fact, Edwards hit hard first accusing the administration of continually lying and misleading. Now I realize many people believe that this administration has a pattern of lying but I am not one of them. And there were numerous times where Cheney could have gone further but he didn't (for instance criticizing the very mixed record Edwards had as a trial lawyer -- by mixed I mean engaging in some questionably and seamy tactics). Or he could have drawn out more the unseemly nature of Edwards continual recitation of the fact that his father was a millworker. Interestingly, we learned that Cheney comes from similar humble beginnings (perhaps even more humble than Edwards as Edwards father was in management). But I'd never heard that or known about it precisely because Cheney doesn't make a habit of telling us about his background which in itself is an interesting contrast. Cheney is the ultimate good team-member who puts others before himself. Edwards' ego triumphs quite frequently.

Now obviously Cheney made some missteps including his assertion that he'd never met Edwards. I don't think it was a lie but an honest mistake. Interestingly, Edwards didn't challenge him on it. With all the people one meets over four years it isn't surprising that one would forget someone like Edwards.

I really don't buy the argument that things were uncivil on Tuesday. They were definitely tense and fierce but in a war such fierceness and such tension is natural and probably called for. We are dealing with big issues.

Also, Cheney seemed a bit too disinterested in domestic issues. I think Edwards probably bested him at times in that area though I am not sure his particular plans are better for the poor or the American people.

At October 08, 2004 10:18 AM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

Thanks for the comments, Reluctant - undoubtedly the comments about Cheney coming off as a jerk reflected the biases of the people who made them, but in political matters I suspect there's no such thing as an unbiased observer. For my own part, I wouldn't describe either candidate as uncivil, but I do feel that on balance Cheney seemed harsher in tone and demeanor than Edwards. The bottom line, however, remains that this debate probably won't have much impact on the outcome of the election.


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