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The Debates and Why We Hire Lawyers

No one at the concert talked about the debates tonight. In fact, I'd have to say that Peter White was great. Not quite the Hollywood Bowl, but the almost-finished-being-remodeled Hyatt Newporter always puts on a good show in the outdoor amphitheater.

But people did talk today.

About the debates.

Right. A new subject for MIPTC. I generally steer away from politics. And religion. But, I'm going to make an exception tonight.

So, how did George W. do? Well, how did Kerry do?

Depends on who you ask.

But that's not what this post is about. I have a few observations to offer to both candidates, and they have only a little to do with performance.

Let's look at presidential fashion first. Why did Bush wear a blue tie?

His handlers weren't paying attention. The background was blue, and Kerry sported a red tie, correctly hitting the old red, white and blue combination with his tie, shirt and background.

Bush, on the other hand, was better lit. Check out his shoulders, and compare them - look again - to Kerry's disappearing eyes. All because Kerry wasn't underlit, and Bush was backlit, giving him the halo effect.

Exacting details, maybe, but someone forgot the basics of three basics of television - lighting, lighting and more lighting.

OK, that's all fine and dandy, but can we have a little bit of substance here? Let's see if I can do this without favoring one over the other. I'm going to pick on one missed opportunity, without trying to endorse either candidate. I'm just offering some 20/20 hindsight, Friday night quarterbacking.

Alright. Here it is. But just one, tantalizing thought.

Bush had the chance to really zing Kerry, but he dropped the ball. Here's the setup: Kerry lambastes Bush for not building a coalition in attacking Iraq. This accusation is not news - Kerry's been making the charge for some time. Kerry has also pushed bilateral talks with Korea. Also not news.

No comment here on why Bush wasn't ready to attack these two points.

So, when Kerry took both positions in the first debate, why did Bush hold back? Bush could have picked Kerry apart for taking inconsistent positions during the very debate he was in. To push bilateral talks with North Korea ignores the coalition Bush has built with China, South Korea and Russia - the exact opposite of Kerry's criticism of Bush's "lack" of a coalition in attacking Iraq.

A skilled litigator would have made mincemeat of the flip-flop in positions, building further on Bush's main criticism of Kerry.

A missed opportunity. Groan.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, October 01, 2004

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