Will Bush do better next time?

Forewarned is forearmed.

A reader writes:

Well, of course, Bush lost the first debate. He hasn’t had anyone criticize him to his face for months. All of his events are Potemkin villages. He’s been cocooned completely.

But after last night’s disaster for Bush, we need to expect him to be well prepped for the next debate.

Kerry had better watch out. “Bushisms” aside, Bush is a fantastic debater–he just destroyed Gore and McCain. Don’t count on a clear Kerry victory like the last time.

A fair point. Much of what Kerry has to gain from the debates he gained last night: he stood toe-to-toe with the Commander in Chief, and as one of my colleagues remarked today, “Somebody looked Presidential, but it wasn’t the President.” But the next two might not be such laydowns as this one.

In particular, I would expect Bush to do decently in the third debate, where he can pretty much guess what the questions will be in advance. The “town hall” format may lead to more curveballs, which may be harder for him to handle.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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