Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Debate About Debates: Part II

Second Bananas Meet
The talking heads over at CNN are saying that this debate was, in effect, a draw. However, the pundits seem to be taking particular delight in saying that certain Republican operatives are muttering that Vice President Cheney did a better job with his opponent than President Bush did with his.

The EdWonk disagrees with CNNs assessment that the debate was a draw. He supports the belief that Cheney was the debate's winner. He did not win decisively, but he won nevertheless. Cheney achieved the Administration's primary goal by preventing a clear-cut Edwards victory.

What Cheney needed to do was to prevent people from thinking that Edwards was ready to assume the job that is always "a heartbeat from the Presidency." As a result of tonight's debate, many will continue to have doubts as to Edwards qualifications to be President should the unimaginable occur.

As for Cheney, even his Democratic opponents concede that he would be ready, if need be, to assume the Presidency.

There were no questions from moderator Gwyn Ifill concerning education, but both did briefly address educational matters in the context of answering other questions.

Edwards scored some points (with some) by informing the audience that Cheney voted against "Head Start" and the creation of the Department Of Education. (Your EdWonk wishes that he could have voted against the creation of that bureaucratic federal monster.) Edwards also stated, "Eight hundred teachers have been laid off in Cleveland." We here at The Education Wonks are very intrigued by this statement and will examine it further.

Cheney spoke about the passage and implementation of "The No Child Left Behind Act." He said that the Administration was pledged to the continued development of a first-class public education system. He went on to say that he supported continued implementation and expansion of the No Child Left Behind Act to secondary and post-secondary (college) levels.

Neither candidate addressed the issue of where the funding for their education programs would come from considering how much treasure will continue to be expended on the prosecution of the War On Terror and what both sides concede will be a long-term involvement in Iraq.

Your EdWonk believes that, on the whole, it was a better night for the Bush/Cheney effort than it was for the Kerry/Edwards team. This is because, in the end, the state-by-state electoral college map probably did not change even one tiny bit. And for Bush/Cheney, that is good news.