The main façade: Kerry’s “victory”
The consensus in the mainstream is that JF Kerry won the debate Thursday night, and the rush-to-judgment snap polls bear out their foregone conclusions. The American press had Kerry winning but barely; however, he’s now “back in the race.” Much of the foreign press had Kerry kicking royal butt, mopping the stage with the President. (I would have said “overseas press,” but there is no see separating us from Kerry’s big backers in the Canadian press.)
A lot of the international stuff, I suspect, was some of the writes and editors trying to be as “sophisticated” as their American journalistic counterparts. Now there’s a road to nowhere.
Media Consultant Mike Murphy wrote a piece for The Weekly Standard web page in which he predicted as inevitable a media-driven October “Kerry comeback,” which might or might not reflect reality. Of the then-upcoming debate, Murphy wrote:
The media's Kerry comeback will unfold in earnest after this Thursday's debate. What actually happens in the debate, barring a highly entertaining Tourette's style meltdown by one of the candidates, really doesn't matter. This is the first campaign debate in George W. Bush's career where he has entered with performance expectations, a troubling burden. While I expect the president will actually do well, that expectations game and the comeback narrative will combine, through the media's funhouse mirror, to put Kerry back in the race. Even though it may ultimately be simply an optical illusion.Well, they think so in Melbourne and London.
Whatever. Kerry lost the debate, and it was not on style or on substance, or on points or on zingers. To win, Kerry had to define himself as more than simply the A.B.B. candidate. Though he strengthened his bona fides, perhaps, as the A.B.B. candidate, he did not emerge as a definable “John Kerry.” Kerry failed.
Witness the day-after. That is when the candidates can go free-form with things they wish they had said. The President, clearly defined, won the post-debate, while Kerry lacked focus.
This was not a cuticle contest. Any "Kerry victory" is a prefabricated façade.
Anyone who thinks Kerry won is invited to consider the task facing John Edwards in the debate with Dick Cheney this Tuesday. Edwards will have to defend "Global Test", nuclear fuel for the mullahs of Iran, Iraq as a "mistake" then "not a mistake" then back again as a "mistake", no research/spending on bunker-busters, etc.
What can Edwards use from the first Bush-Kerry debate? Bush's smirks and grimaces? Well, there's always Halliburton , but that nonsense isn't fooling anyone, least of all FactCheck.org "Kerry ad falsely accuses Cheney on Halliburton" http://snipurl.com/9hp9 .