Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Prelude to the Debates: Cheney Versus Edwards

First, play the drinking game. But please, people: do not use anything stronger than Bartles and James for every time Haliburton is mentioned. Please. The Corsair does not want to be held responsible for alcohol poisoning in the blogosphere. And remember The Corsair's motto with regard to liquor: "Fear does not exist in this dojo ... pain ... does not exist in this dojo."

What can we expect?

Although most people will say that they cannot imagine either Dick Cheney or John Edwards breaking character and being aggressive in a debate, I predict that it will be a nasty affair. I could be totally off here, but I can smell the blood from the New York blogosphere.

Liberals will say that Dick Cheney is a nasty character, but, to be honest, we only have his debates with Joseph Lieberman to "hold the mirror up to nature," and he was well behaved in those. But he is the pit bull terrier of the Administration, and there is no way a naturally dark character like him -- a lifetime whiffing petrochemicals in the Defense and Natural Resources Industries, doing the work of Beelzebub -- is going to look good against a Bright Knight of Light like John "Pretty Hair Like a Pony" Edwards. That golden boy even has the Americana name -- he's perfect. Trying to be the good, sunny guy against the Senator is futile, it goes against type. Cheney is best suited as the heavy, his stronghold.

No doubt Karl Rove has crafted some labyrinthine traps. If The Corsair were Karl Rove, more than anything, I would want a Dan Quayle Moment. Maneuver John Edwards into a position where Cheney can spring a rhetorical trap that reveals him as not-yet-ready-for-Prime-Time. Earlier I predicted he would do something, like:

"I just met with (insert X: Prime Minister of an obscure nation) ... Do you even know what country he represents, Senator? Answer the question -- do you know the (X) represents? America, you have to ask yourself ... is this man ready to be a heartbeat away from the button?"

Of course, Dick Cheney would be well advised to stay away from the actual word "heartbeat" as that may draw attention to his health, which is dodgy.

The talented Gwen Ifill is the moderator, and John Edwards would do well to throw off the Southern charm. I don't mean any disrespect to Ifill, who is a top drawer journalist hosting the Veep debates of the last standing superpower -- one of these men could become the most powerful man in the world and this is the job interview, but the chemistry between Ifill and the candidates is bound to be a factor in these debates in a way that the chemistry between a charismatically challenged guy like Jim Lehrer and the Presidential candidates would never be.

As I mentioned in the drinking game, Edwards will use words like "Haliburton," "Middle Class," "Two Americas," "The Corporations," and "Change."

Cheney will attack Edwards on being a "Trial Lawyer," and "Inexperienced." He will say of himself "I've been battle tested, I am ready." His closing speech will sound like, "Ladies and gentlemen, when you go inside the ballot box this November, you are not only voting for President, but -- and I hope this isn't so -- a Vice President who may have to step in and lead the nation and the world. Look at the two of us and ask yourselves -- Is this (points to Edwards) man ready to lead the free world?"

Cheney will make the obligatory hair joke, midway through, but, to be honest, the debate is tailor made to his gravitas advantage. If you really want to get drunk -- The Corsair will be drunk, I'm watching it at my neighborhood bar -- drink every time Chris Matthews uses the word "gravitas" in the follow up analysis. Cheney has been around power -- literally, in the case of oil and natural resources -- so long that in the dictionary, under the word, is a picture of Dick Cheney.

Cheney appears calm, calculating, stable, dependable, manly, all those good things women in the 1950s married men for. Dick Cheney also has nothing to lose. His job on the ticket is easy -- to solidify the base. He has done that by being his stable rock of Gibraltar self.

A bad performance in the debate could, should Kerry lose, end his prospects for a political future. Edwards will mention North Carolina, as he should -- winning North Carolina for the ticket will enhance his status as a front runner for 2012, should Kerry win, and this is his largest forum to date. Expect Edwards to give lots of stories about growing up in North Carolina.

Will Edwards bring up race and gender politics? Obviously those concerns will be on the radar of Gwen Ifill, who is a black woman. That would be a shrewd maneuver, a bold Presidential maneuver, on the part of Edwards as Cheney has a horrific record on women and African Americans, voting against Head Start, the federal Education Department and the Equal Rights Amendment for women, the Martin Luther King holiday, and, most tellingly, 1986 vote against a resolution that called for U.S. recognition of the African National Congress in South Africa.

Will Apartheid South Africa become the sleeper of this debate?
Will there be a clear winner? A KO? Or a TKO?

Tune in, and play the drinking game.


Anonymous said...

What a clever man you are. Methinks you've nailed it again. Imaginative, concise and right on. I've become a huge fan. Thanks Ron, and Rock Steady.

Groupie On A Woodstock Mountain

Unknown said...

Ron is quite notably the Best Blogger Ever ;) ;) Anyhoo, debates over. Edwards was glorious, Cheney showed some humanity, if only briefly and it is done. I'm still going the liberal route, because I have to, the world deserves it. Thanks for all your terrific commentary Ron!

The Corsair said...

Thank you Cupie, Anonymous ... you bring gladness to my heart.