Democrats & Liberals Archives

How to Debate W

Tonight, John Kerry and George W. Bush finally face off in the first of three debates between the two Presidential nominees. Time to move beyond the mud-slinging of the past few weeks and actually discuss the issues important to the American voter.

Having debated W. during the 2000 election cycle, former Vice President Al Gore gives some advice concerning how to debate Bush.

In his New York Times Op-Ed piece published Wednesday, Gore states the critical importance of the debates, "In this era of media clutter, it is all the more important for voters to have this moment of simple clarity when the candidates appear before them stripped of advisers, sound bites and media spin."

Gore warns Kerry of Bush's ability to set "low expectations" which gives him an advantage by not having to live up the same level that others have had to in debates.

But Gore also suggests attacking Bush's record in office. That is "the true opportunity for John Kerry - because notwithstanding the president's political skills, his performance in office amounts to a catastrophic failure." Kerry needs to hold Bush accountable for the inability to capture Osama bin Laden, the state of the economy and for the deteriorating situation in Iraq. And he also needs to hold up Bush's track record against his debate promises of four years ago, when he promised:

If elected... he would support allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada. He promised that his tax cuts would create millions of new jobs. He vowed to end partisan bickering in Washington. Above all, he pledged that if he put American troops into combat: "The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well defined."

Clearly, Bush has not lived up to these campaign promises. But simply pointing out Bush's weaknesses will not win the election. Kerry also needs to clearly state to the American voters his stance on issue and how his different views on issues like Iraq, medical insurance, and jobs growth differ from the President's and will set this country onto the right path over the next four years.

It's clearly time to end the inane criticism over purple hearts and national guard duty, and engage in true dialogues about the state and future of our country. Hopefully, Kerry can succeed in convincing voters he has the better plan lest we face another 4 more years of unnecessary military deaths, squashing of civil liberties, and an expanding wealth gap between the rich and the rest of the population.

Posted by blipsman at September 30, 2004 1:10 PM