September 30, 2004
DEBATE PREDICTION: Unless Kerry melts into a puddle on the floor, the media spin will be that he did well and helped his campaign. This is for two reasons. One is, as Newsweek’ Evan Thomas remarked, that the press “wants Kerry to win.”
The other, of course, is that they want the race to remain interesting — which is to say, a race — for another month, and it’ll be hard to do that if everybody’s pronouncing Kerry doomed after tonight.
UPDATE: Expectations-lowering here, but these comments may go just a bit too far in that direction:
“People keep analyzing these things as a great opportunity for Kerry—his last opportunity to define himself,” said Democratic operative Chris Lehane. “But usually what happens is that someone makes a mistake, and that ends up defining the debates, which end up defining the last four weeks of the campaign.” Mr. Lehane should know: He was Al Gore’s press secretary in 2000.
Wasn’t Al Gore orange for one of the debates, too?