Monday, October 04, 2004

Cheney v. Edwards, Part 2

Following up on Jack Pitney's comments about the upcoming veep debate, Dems need to be wary of this one. Edwards is very appealing and eloquent, but his command of the facts is often lacking. In one of the last Democratic primary debates, he completely whiffed a question on the Defense of Marriage Act. As I pointed out here back in January:

When asked about DOMA, Edwards said:

"what happened with the Defense of Marriage Act is it took away the power of states, like Vermont, to be able to do what they chose to do about civil unions, about these kinds of marriage issues."

Later, Brit Hume pressed him on this response and Edwards said:

No, the Defense of Marriage -- first of all, I wasn't in the Congress, I don't claim to be an expert on this. But as I understand the Defense of Marriage Act, it would take away the power of some states to choose whether they would recognize or not recognize gay marriages. That's my understanding of it.

That's completely wrong. The Defense of Marriage Act says that one state does not have to recognize the marriage between two homosexuals granted by another state.

Say what you will about him, but Cheney knows his stuff and a flub like that could elicit a devastating rejoinder from Cheney. Of course, knowing Cheney, he could go too far by ripping Edwards's still beating heart from his chest and eating it on national television.


danielj said...

Edwards needs to learn one key lesson from Cheney: Make stuff up when convenient. Cheney continues to tout nonexistent links between Iraq and Al Qaeda as justification for the war. Rumsfeld, today, was only the latest official to dispute the link (

Don't tell the VP!

Cheney did well by looking calm and reasonable in 2000 against a toothless debate opponent. But, please recall that his most memorable line form that debate was a gross distortion of the truth. He got a laugh line by saying the Gov't. had nothing to do with his success as a businessman when Halliburton, of course, greatly benefited from Gov't. contracts during (and after) his time there. Clearly, his service in government, including the DoD and Middle East contacts he gained while serving in the public sphere was the key reason he was hired.

I actually do agree that the Dems shouldn't take him too lightly. His voice is strangely reassuring and he gives off the air of confidence. It's not impossible that Edwards may appear young and light next to him. But it's less a knowledge gap than a cynical willingness to distort information and positions when it suits his purpose.

Also, keep in mind the biggest difference between now and four years ago - Cheney has a record to defend.

Rothko said...

Isn't the fundemental difference this year that BC04 has a record to defend? BC00 could lob grenades from outside the palace walls. Now they're buried in a bunker in the secretly located palace. It's never as much fun to be the one receiving fire and Bush certainly showed he was un-prepared for it.

The expectations for Cheney are astronomically high. He basically has to re-set the table for his boss. Anything short of mopping the floor with Edwards and the perception (and it's all about perception) will be that BC04 has blown two golden opportunities to create seperation with their oponnents.

Edwards simply has to hold his own. He is one smooth mofo. The man became a millionaire because he could gain people's trust...that's not something anyone...not even Dick "Gravitas" Cheney should take lightly.

PS...Don't you think Dick is getting a little tired of having to prop Dubbya up?

Palooka said...

Edwards is all looks. He really lacks on substance. Edwards made that gaffe in several places. I think he may have even done it in one of the debates.

danielj said...

Palooka - Since you focus on substance, I'll assume you won't be casting your vote for George ("You forgot Poland!") Bush.

danielj said...

In all seriousness, I don't that we'll see a clear winner in tonight's debate. The typical debate scenario is that people see what they want to see. Republicans will see Cheney as authoritative and in commna, and Dems will see Edwards as making a strong case against the Admin's record.

I do think they have very different dynamics going on, and, thus, very different jobs this evening. Cheney has to appear as the President's minder - the true president, in a way, because the actual President doesn't appear to know very much - while Edwards will be making the case for Kerry rather than for himself. In short, Cheney has to reassure voters that "the Administration" knows what's going on even if the President doesn't.

Those who dismiss Edwards as a lightweight don't get him, IMO. I've never seen a politician do a better job of turning issues into value contrasts, and BC's record provides a lot of ammo to make contrasts along the lines of special interests vs. the public interest. People vote values, and Edwards shouldn't be penalized for understanding that.