Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Prevailing Doctrinal Assumptions, Part III

I don't like to resurrect old news, but after the Bush-Kerry debates (not to mention Bush-Gore, Clinton-Dole, etc. etc.), the responses of the intellectuals and commentators was interesting. The perception of who won the debate was almost exclusively along partisan lines. It made the debates as worthless as "filing press releases verbally" (to paraphrase Something Awful).How would one judge a debate? One conceivable way to do it would be to put aside one's partisan outlook and evaluate the reasoning offered by both sides, seeing what issues were responded to, what issues were conceded, and who explained their position better. In that sense, I think even a Republican could agree that Kerry-Edwards ran circles around Bush-Cheney. (Admittedly, Cheney was going on easy on Edwards because his intent was to prove he was a good guy, not a good politico). Even the Republican election talking head they interviewed admitted that "not even the best trial lawyer in the country could defend John Kerry's record" (translation: Cheney lost except on the narrow issues of Kerry's personality issues). One would take notes with columns for each constructive or rebuttal. We called it flowing in debate, and it was assumed to be the only way to sensibly adjudicate issues.This may be why, in a world where ballots are actually counted instead of selectively allowed thanks to the patronage games of partisan election officials, Kerry and Edwards won.


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