Friday, October 08, 2004

Tips for the Master Debaters (sure it's cheap, but I'm lazy today)


  1. Hammer home the Duelfer report. As CNB wrote (as did most every major news agency), this undermines their reason for the war, whether they acknowledge it or not.
  2. Make some positive statements. Voters will get turned off if everything they hear from you is negative.
  3. Make simple and clear declarative statements. Anything less makes people think, right or wrong, that you are a flip-flopper.
  4. On that subject -- no 25-cent words. This is not to say that the American electorate is not too bright, but it wouldn't hurt to dumb it down a shade.
  5. Because Bush will say anything (see #1 tip to Bush, below), you need to anticipate what he is going to say to defuse it (e.g., the President will say we gained 96,000 jobs last month, but that ignores the fact that . . . .) Bush is predictable, so this should not be hard. Moreover, Bush does this to you, so do it to him before he does it to you.
  6. Give Bush credit for something. You seem to agree with him on Afghanistan, so say that the President was right on Afghanistan (you always fall short of saying that), and then you can make your statements of an Iraqi diversion. It will sound much more genuine and positive (see #2 above), and likely take Bush aback (see #7, below).
  7. If Bush again says that his job is "hard work" - call him on it. Respond by saying that if the president is having trouble keeping up with his work, then you more than willing to take over. That'll make Bush mad, which he does not handle well. Remember, your best quality for many folks is that you are not George Bush.


  1. Say whatever you want, but say it with conviction. Cheney apparently has no regard for accuracy, but no one seems to care because he sounds articulate and commanding while speaking.
  2. No more stump speech language. Town-hall or not, these folks have not signed a loyalty pledge (frankly, those creep out the CNB). Thus, you will not get resounding cheers every time you finish a sentence.
  3. Don't use the term "evildoers" or the phrase "they hate us for our freedom". It makes you sound simple, which is not something you really can afford right now.
  4. You've had a tough week (last week's debate, falling poll numbers, the Duelfer report and other bad news out of Iraq, September jobs report) - acknowledge it (and NOT by continually complaining that being president is "hard work"). What is angering people is your disconnect with your surroundings. Tip #1 notwithstanding, show that you actually know what is going on in the world, as opposed to what you wish were going on.
  5. Stop using conditional tense when you speak. In case no one told you, you ARE the president. Thus, you cannot just rely on what you WILL do if you happen to win in a month - you have to talk about what you HAVE done. At some point, Kerry is going to wise up and remind you that with a Republican-controlled Congress, nothing stopped you from getting things done for the past 4 years (your tax cuts seemed to get through).
  6. Do not even hint at a 9/11 - Iraq connection. You will embarrass yourself with that, and it contradicts a statement you made last year (i.e. you become a flip-flopper).

Let's see if Bush can rebound from last week, and if Kerry can continue to keep me awake. . .