Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Curse of Victory
Brendan Miniter has a great piece today in the WSJ about why the "success" of last week's presidential debate (as you all know, I still maintain that Kerry did not have the victory many are attributing to him) might end up being an albatross for the Democratic ticket.

What it comes down to is the expectations game. Debate victors on the national level, unfortuantely, do not win because of superior policy claims, or powerful statements, but rather because of the heuristic shortcuts taken by the public at large. When you boil down what Kerry said, it was no different then what he'd been saying for the previous ten days, and significantly different from what he'd been saying in each of the preceeding ten-day periods. But, supposedly he won because of style points. Now, the benefit he got from the national media's downplaying his debating skills is gone. Even if he loses the next debate, he will be expected to win another victory when the third rolls around.

Tough break. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. (Oh, except maybe Al Gore, who won the first debate in 2000). Read Mr. Miniter's piece, it's worth it.

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