Monday, October 04, 2004

Kerry's Pyrrhic Debate Victory

The conventional wisdom is in. Kerry won the debate.

Here's why the G.O.P. should not worried. Kerry looked presidential, was calm and composed, spoke well, had better style, and made no obvious gaffes. Bush, by contrast, sounded tired, slurred his speech, missed opportunities to counter, was visibly annoyed during some of Kerry's answers. Kerry shoots up in the polls, no downside for the Dems, right?

Not so fast. There are a number of things that are coming back to haunt Kerry: The "Global Test," the advocacy of a freeze on nuclear bunker-buster development (a weapon that would be ideally suited to rogue nations and terrorists sheltering destructive weapons in underground redoubts), the advocacy of delivering nuclear fuel to Tehran and conceding to Pyongyang in their desire for bilateral talks with the U.S. I don't hear similar issues being raised by the Democrats -- they seem content to focus on a generic tone of failure, etc.

If Kerry won the debate on style, made no unintentional gaffes, looked well-rested, lucid, etc., it becomes more difficult to argue that Kerry didn't intend these, indeed that these are not the well-thought out and consistent positions of a man who supported both a U.S. nuclear-freeze and establishing a warm relationship with the Sandinistas in the 80's (his eulogies and warm praises for the late President Reagan notwithstanding).
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