Monday, October 11, 2004

Let's go to the analysis (take 2)

As expected, there has been a ton said about Presidential Debate #2 since the weekend. Most of it has been partisan, which is okay when it's in Op/Ed form. But impartial analysis of the "end game" of each candidate has been a bit difficult to find. Most of the impartial "analysis" has just been a recounting of what actually occured...sort of a a highlight summary of the 90 minutes. However, Ronald Brownstein of the LA Times has a pretty interesting take which I daresay is truly analysis! Yay!

In short, the analysis seeks to connect the candidates' content and demeanor with the overall goals of the campaigns and the targets of various pieces. This goes beyond saying that Bush got better as the debate went on, but actually provides commentary on why (perhaps) the candidates said certain things.

To be sure, there are useless comments such as this:

Democrats saw nothing in the evening that would slow the momentum Kerry
gained after the first debate. Republicans were generally pleased that Bush delivered a steadier performance likely to remind his base why they support him.

But gladly, that is used more to comment on the general partisan feelings about the debate and is not the focus of the analysis. Holla if ya hear me, Larry!

In addition, Brownstein comments on the quality of the questions asked of the candidates, comparing them to previous town hall forums. Several other editorials comments on this as well. And I think that's important. Going into this debate (as well as the other ones), I feel like the general mood was that the rules around the debate would limit any real engagement and that pre-screened questions would be useless. In fact, the St. Louis audience provided some very direct questions, which the candidates tried to answer...not as directly as possible, but Charlie Gibson tried to pen in the candidates at some points (without too much success).

The most interesting thing I find is that the only places where any of this type of analysis is available is in the blogosphere. The blogs may belong to paid journalists, but it's very interesting to note that the most insightful commentary is being provided through a medium which allows for the most flexibility. I would be interested to see what these paid bloggers would be like if they were reporters being paid by CNN and such. Most likely, they wouldn't even make it through the ranks to get on TV, but that's a whole different story.

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