Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A Mixed Round

John Edwards did not quite follow my advice last night. He did get in some sharp jabs -- about the loss of jobs and benefits, about the lies that got us into war, about the crimes of Halliburton, and, notably, about Dick Cheney voting way back against the liberation of Nelson Mandela, against Head Start, against Meals on Wheels and against Martin Luther King Day.

But Cheney got in some jabs too -- notably, about flip-flopping. He noted that Kerry and Edwards voted for Bush’s tax cuts, for his war budgets and for letting him take us to war -- and then changed their tone when Howard Dean threatened to capture the nomination with his pitch for peace and old-line Democratic values. Once Dean was overcome, they went back to Bush lite.

I had thought that as a crackerjack courtroom lawyer Edwards would punch away until Cheney lost his notorious temper. Instead, Edwards chose to play the shill for Kerry. He was at times deferential to Cheney -- embarrassingly so -- and as belligerent about the war as Bush, if not more so. And he never did come out for universal health care.

The polls and the pundits are mixed about who won the round. But there is this hopeful thought: If the right can push Kerry and Edwards around that easily -- so can the left. And there’s a lot of exciting action going on, on our side.