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Wednesday, October 06, 2004  

Blogospherics: Indy blogger judges VP debate

Natalie Davis came to the debate between vice presidential candidates for the two major parties in a different posture than most of us. She is supporting neither Bush/Cheney nor Kerry/Edwards. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have refused to endorse equal rights for gay people in regard to marriage. So, Davis has refused them her support. Her candidate is Green Party nominee David Cobb. As a result, she was able to look at Dick Cheney and John Edwards with a greater degree of objectivity than is the norm.

Semantic Slugfest

I would call the night a draw, at least on the surface. Edwards gave a strong performance, underscored the differences between his side and the other's (at least on a few key issues), and made his points quite clearly. He even rattled the selected veep on a few occasions. Edwards deserves kudos for much of the job he did. I don't think he did anything to hurt the Kerry effort and he may have helped. The same could be said for Bush's second. But the good news for libs is that big, bad Cheney, the one with the experience and gravitas, did not achieve any knockouts -- Edwards absolutely held his own.

Unfortunately, though, the viciousness of Cheney overwhelmed much of the verbal duel, which perhaps will lead some -- Bush supporters and people inclined to believe statements only because they are repeated angrily and ad nauseum -- to call Cheney the victor.

Truth is, while both candidates stretched facts here and there, Cheney lied deliberately, repeatedly and constantly. And while Edwards was well prepared, able to anticipate what his opponent would say, composed, and yes, smooth, he missed some opportunities to nail the Squatter's number-two man to the wall.

Davis offers these insights.

~ Cheney lied about never having met Edwards, because, he said, the senator from North Carolina is absent from Congress so often. She provides a photographs of one of two prior meetings. (I would not be surprised to learn there have been more.)

~ Cheney's denial that the Bush administration has linked the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to Saddam Hussein is false and disingenuous. The alleged linkage has been used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq, though none of the terrorists were Iraqi. Davis directly quotes previous statements by Cheney in which he explicitly says Hussein is responsible for Al Qaida and other terrorists' actions.

~ One of Edwards' best moments was his recapitulation of Cheney's ultraconservative voting record.

The vice president ... when he was one of 435 members of the United States House, he was one of 10 to vote against Headstart, one of four to vote against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors. He voted against the Department of Education. He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King. He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. It's amazing to hear him criticize either my record or John Kerry's.

Edwards does not escape unscathed by Davis' scrutiny. She notes, accurately, that he did not always use his time well. By sticking to a script that emphasized promoting Kerry whenever possible, Edwards missed opportunities to refute some of Cheney's scurrilous claims.

I am a Kerry supporter, pretty much by default. But, I found Davis' outlook informative. I believe you will, too. Read the entire entry. While you are at All Facts and Opinions, avail yourself of the transcript of the debate Natalie Davis has generously provided.

9:19 PM