Wednesday, September 29, 2004

"The Debate" Part 2

If anyone wants to read the sage advice of former Vice President Al Gore to John Kerry as he readies for tomorrow’s debate, you can rummage through his Op-Ed piece in today’s (September 29, 2004) NYT. This is the same Al Gore who clearly lost his debates with Bush four years ago. He lost, not because the media raised expectations for his performance and lowered them for Bush, but rather his hyperbolic behavior and peripatetic style, including his silly assault-like meandering over to Bush’s podium during one of the debates.

In this Op-Ed, he says: “My advice to John Kerry is simple: be prepared for the toughest debates of your career. While George Bush's campaign has made ‘lowering expectations’ into a high art form, the record is clear - he's a skilled debater who uses the format to his advantage. There is no reason to expect any less this time around. And if anyone truly has ‘low expectations’ for an incumbent president, that in itself is an issue.

“But more important than his record as a debater is Mr. Bush's record as a president. And therein lies the true opportunity for John Kerry - because notwithstanding the president's political skills, his performance in office amounts to a catastrophic failure. And the debates represent a time to hold him to account…”

The people saw Gore as phony, and they saw and see Bush as real. He’s not necessarily universally a likeable person, but the key difference is credibility. Will Kerry be credible? Not if he listens to ol’ Al.

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