Win some, lose some

Cheney/Edwards scored a draw, and Cheney not branded a liar: in my eyes, that’s a victory for the Dark Side.

Our side clearly won the spin war over the first debate. But the spin war over the second debate didn’t go nearly so well; I’d count it a loss.

A win would have been to have “Cheney’s big and little lies” established as part of the narrative, rather than as a partisan opinion, as “Bush’s sour faces” is part of the established narrative of the first debate. That hasn’t happened, at least as of today’s newspapers and the bits of NPR I heard. The narrative I see and hear is roughly: Cheney was tough but knowledgeable, and he and Edwards both scored some points and both stretched the truth some.

In each case, we started with the better hand, though the bad guys started out with most of the institutional advantages; rescuing a draw from the VP debate counts as a big accomplishment for Rove & Co., and I congratulate them.

What’s ironic is that if the Administration had applied to Iraq the skilled and attentive viciousness that has characterized the campaign, they probably could have achieved succes there that would have made the election a cake-walk.

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:

One thought on “Win some, lose some”

  1. Lost Political Opportunity Costs

    Incomptence, ideological fixation or a reflexive and instinctive reaction against trusting expertise? There is good evidence and accounts to support all of these possible assumptions, but I am still curious as to why Bush threw away a reasonably goo…

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