The VP Debate

Who won the Vice Presidential Debate last night?

I guess it depends on what “won” means in this context.

I, personally, thought that Cheney was more persuasive. He came off as intelligent, thoughtful, in command of the facts and arguments relevant to the topics. I thought Edwards was just mouthing slogans that were either wrong or misleading or content-free.

But, then, I came to the debate finding the Cheney line on Iraq, for example, to have merit. If I hadn’t, I suspect that I would have been more likely to see Cheney as misleading and deceitful, and Edwards as an effective critic of the mistakes and proponent of a better alternative.

So, I don’t think many people who had a preference before the debate will have changed it because of the debate (even if they thought that the opposition candidate performed better technically).

So, who won? I guess it depends on which was more effective at swaying undecided likely voters to prefer his side. I don’t claim to understand those people well enough to know which way they are more likely to have been pushed. If they haven’t decided about Iraq by now, they either haven’t been paying attention or they just don’t think about these things in a way I understand.

So…I have no idea. And I don’t have enough confidence in polls to tell me.

The bottom-line, I think, is that neither did so poorly so as to lose existing support. I suspect that it won’t really cause much of a change in the election outcome one way or the other.

Rodney Dangerfield, RIP

Rodney died today.

I was a big fan of Rodney. I enjoyed many of his TV appearances, and I saw him perform in Vegas, too. But, I think my favorite memory of him will always be of his role in Caddyshack. So many great lines…

Hey, I’ve got the DVD, I think I’ll go watch it.

“Hey Whitey! Where’s your hat?

X Prize Winner!!!

Congratulations to Burt Rutan, Paul Allen, Mojave Aerospace Ventures, and everyone who contributed to today’s achievement!

It’s a spectacular demonstration of the power of a small group of private, creative, people to overcome huge obstacles and do great things. I hope that the government clears the way for more private progress (by clarifying liability issues, granting rights to allow these flights, and otherwise generally staying out of the way). The attitude of NASA seems very positive thusfar.

It’s a great day for mankind.

The First Debate

Ok, now that I’ve watched my recording of the first debate, I thought I’d make a few comments.

I didn’t think that the debate was likely to change very many minds about this election, and I still think it won’t. Kerry is a better, more polished, public speaker than Bush; but people already knew that, so they’d forgive Bush minor inarticulateness. The only chance that this debate would have made a difference would have been if one of them (probably Kerry) had made a major gaffe. I don’t think that happened.

The only surprise for me was Kerry’s mention of a “global test“, that seemed to be a pre-condition for the president to order a pre-emptive strike:

“Where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.”

Bush did question this, but I would have liked to see a call for further elaboration.

What does “can prove to the world” mean?

Does “the world” mean every other country, or all UN Security Council countries, or what?

Does “can prove” mean that you must first get their agreement, or that you believe that you have a strong enough case to convince a reasonable foreign leader who takes our security seriously?

If Kerry means that the president must first get the agreement of some set of foriegn leaders, how is that different from the veto power he claims he would not grant them?