Edwards took the battle to Cheney, and Cheney left many of his points unrebutted and had to lie in order to rebut others. Edwards also brought forward a lot of facts that are old hat to people here, but which most Americans have been previously unaware of.
I don’t know what the rules are for scoring formal debates, but if they allow people to win debates by lying, we should ignore them.
You can say, “You know and I know that Edwards won, but in the battle of public opinion, it was a draw”. Well, the battle for public opinion isn’t finished. It’s continuing, and we’re now in the post-debate spin period. It’s not hard to make a strong case that Edwards won, and we should make it.
I just got myself steamed up over at Kevin Drum, where Kevin thought the debate was mediocre and unimpressive and pretty much a draw. Too goddamn many Democrats are too fine to descend to actually playing the game. They have to speak from this elevated place above the battle. But there really isn’t a high elevated truth about one of these political debates — it’s all politics, and if you bother with it at all, you should play. If you’re too good for this stuff, you should translate Chinese poetry or something like that. (Which, as it happens, I sometimes do).
As long as Kevin is in the public sphere, he will be taken as a representative of the Democrats, and as a matter of principle, he will always refuse to act as a Democratic advocate. Which means that he will be whipped by the Republican advocate from time to time, like all the various various weak “Democrats” you see on TV. All of whom, of course, are very well paid.
Josh Micah Marshall, as moderate as Kevin, comes to quite a different conclusion.
A foreigner points out that you don’t really win a debate if your facts are all wrong.