Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Though I have a pretty good feel for the TV culture, some things are still tough for me to put my finger on. Last night, as the topic of the debate shifted from war issues to domestic concerns, Cheney started to drift significantly in his concentration. There was a real possibility at that moment that the debate was about to get away from him.

In attacking Edwards on many essentially irrelevant points (attendance record?), Cheney was truculent and even nasty at times. He declined to respond to several fairly pointed attacks, and many of his answers were rambling and boring. He only got off one good line, and even that wasn't great TV.

Yet by the time the debate ended, I had a vague feeling that Uncle Dick had somehow clawed his way back into it. Indeed, today almost nobody is scoring the debate as a win for Edwards. How did that happen? I'm not sure.

One thing I do know is that despite the hilarious efforts of the TV people to make it seem otherwise, the Veep debate is purely entertainment. It will have no effect on the election.

I loved when ABC (I think) trotted out the 1984 election as an example of a race in which the Veep debate turned things around for the incumbent. Yes, Reagan looked bad in his first debate with Mondale, but in the end, Ronnie just ran away with one against a hapless, third-tier opponent. The Ferraro/Bush debate was absolutely no factor.

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