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January 13, 2004

The Dilemma to Come

Drudge is quoting Michael Moore as saying, about his endorsement of Wes Clark:

He's an honest and decent man. I would like to see the General debate the deserter.

Frankly, I don't care to find out more about Moore's opinion, but his quip brought a question to mind that I'm surprised I haven't wondered yet: what are these debates going to be like?

For the most part, I can't imagine them being otherwise than bad for the Democrat candidate, whomever that might be. If he behaves like a responsible politician, he'll betray his base — who, given the rhetoric thus far, will probably hope to see the candidate say to Bush's face what he's been saying to them for months and years. If he does as they desire, the difference in demeanor will be stark, with the non-loony majority of the country seeing the Democrat candidate as irresponsible, even dangerous.

Of course, the degree of this dilemma will be dependent upon who wins the Democrat nomination. Also of course, the damage in either direction could be mitigated if the mainstream media takes up the task of tweaking the performance of their candidate (which is to say the Democrat) for their respective audiences. If the candidate is either Howard Dean or Wes Clark, the only way I foresee debates helping them is if the media manages to present multiple versions of events to the vast majority of Americans who don't watch political debates. With the burgeoning alternative media, I don't know that such a thing can be done these days.

Posted by Justin Katz at January 13, 2004 12:13 PM

I hope the first debate has the Democratic nominee with hair styled, face made up, and clothes cut to make him look as much like Ronald Wilson Reagan as possible. That'll be a real treat. Again.

Posted by: ELC at January 14, 2004 1:39 PM