My guess is that to most people this thing will seem beside the point and will be written off as a waste of time and a worthless way to learn anything new. On the plus side, Bush is about as awkward as ever when it comes to debating, so nothing new there, and Kerry is as unlikeable as ever, so he's not going to gain anything by this.
When I was a Silicon Valley guy, the management of my company used to joke that the competition in our industry niche was "like a knife fight in a phonebooth." I'm getting that feeling now.
So the teevee is now off!
Update: Doug, a commenter at Roger L. Simon's site, had this to say:
Let me make a few observations:I agree with Doug. Basically, since no one should be making an important decision about whom to vote for based on one of these debates, why should they be given the opportunity? I'd be happy to see these things pass into the mists of history. However, I would think they'd still have a valuable role to play during the primaries.
1. Debates should be eliminated in presidential politics. We didn't need debates to select Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Truman Eisenhower, Lincoln etc. etc. These are exercises in silliness. No candidate is going to allow himself to be put in a position where he can be made to look foolish. And an election should not be decided on whether a president looks at his watch or sighs or grimaces.
2. It is truly impossible for a biased person to genuinely analyze a candidates performance. Roger and I think Kerry is a lying weazle so we disregard everything he says and think everyone else feels that way. Same is true vice versa. So I will not bother to give you my personal views on the performances except to say that Kerry left himself so wide open for sharp counter-attack that it killed me that Bush does not have the skills to go in for the kill. I wished while watching it that Bush could have chanelled JFK. (the original that is) But that is not who he is.
3. I think the MSM will DEFINITELY spin this as a Kerry victory. I hear it already. "Kerry lived to fight another day." As if Bush was going to blow him away in a debate. As for the question of whether it will actually sway voters, I find it hard to believe that anyone who was concerned about Kerry's resolve or leadership skills will really be impressed by a ninety minute sound bite fest. So I would be surprised if the debate really moves the numbers.
4. I am listening to some jackass on WABC say "Bush failed to deliver the knock out blow. He was the George Forman tonight and Ali got off the ropes." We have got to stop these. Someone has to say the emperor has no clothes.
I've got some thoughts about the upcoming vice presidential debates posted here.
Update: Looks like Captain Ed feels the same way.