Lee P Butler

Did President Bush 'Sandbag' Kerry At The Debate?

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Did President Bush ‘Sandbag’ Kerry At The Debate? 
 

Freerepublic.com discussion board post #1

Freerepublic.com discussion board post #2

10-04-2004

In Nascar, the term ‘sandbag’ is used to describe a maneuver in which a driver who has a really fast car doesn’t utilize the full potential of the car’s strength during that race. The idea is to intentionally make the other drivers; who aren’t expecting this to happen, think they may have the fastest cars so they make fewer adjustments to their cars...to make them even faster...and they show everyone else what they have during the race.

Once the race is close to the finish, the driver who has been ‘sandbagging’ knows what adjustments the other race teams have made, knows who he has to contend with and what kind of racing performance the top cars potentially have. So he moves to the front of the race and in the last few laps fights for or cruises to the win at the finish.

It is my contention that President Bush ‘sandbagged’ Kerry during their debate and I’ll explain why, but I also want to point out that this is only speculation on my part. If indeed this was a planned tactic by the Bush team, they already gleaned the information they needed... and set Kerry up in the process...to finish the race with strong momentum and the Kerry people can now do little to ‘adjust’ their game plan to compensate for the setback this brilliant maneuver has created.

Okay, so let’s start with the elite media. They were chomping at the bit before the debate about how this would be the defining moment for John Kerry. That this debate would turn around his faltering campaign, because he would overwhelm the President with his extensive debating prowess and his stellar intellectual superiority, giving the American electorate no choice but to flock to Kerry in awe and wonderment.

They repeatedly asserted that Kerry had to 'win' this debate and do so decidedly. The idea was to give the viewing public... which was supposed to be one of the largest audiences ever for a presidential debate...the misguided perception that the debate could actually be 'won' or 'lost'.

Debates are not designed to be won or lost, they are channels for candidates to: 1) Allow a candidate to better clarify their position on a subject, 2) Give a candidate a better opportunity to reach more of his/her constituency at one time, 3) Give candidates a free forum in which they can address the differences between them and, 4) Allows a candidate to present themselves in a favorable way so possible voters will connect with them more.

Those reasons are why incumbents usually are only willing to do a few selected debates, if any, during an election season, because in almost every category only the challenger has an opportunity to gain anything positive from a debate. Most constituents already know where an incumbent stands on the issues.

You don't win or lose debates, you... to a greater or lesser degree...reenforce your position on the issues. The Bush team went into the debate knowing this and as I saw it, put together guidelines that most effectively took advantage of the situation.

One tool a good debater; especially one who has decided their best chance at helping themselves in the eyes of the viewers is by attacking his/her opponent in lieu of expanding on thier own merits, uses to their benefit is by monopolizing the time spent discussing the subject put forth by the moderator.

The President's team prevented Kerry from doing this by making the time lights visible to the viewers and enforcing the agreed upon time limits. That meant Kerry could focus on attacking the President if he wanted to, but it wouldn't prevent President Bush from solidifying his positions and forced Kerry to choose between explaining his positions or attacking the President. He clearly chose the later.

Every commentator after the debate said almost the same thing about President Bush... that he stayed on topic. Of course, to them this was a form of defeat, why it seemed as if he ran out of material long before the debate was over, he repeated the same thing many times, and he paused often... I just loved this peice of objective, unbiased elite media analysis...because 'he didn't know what to say.'

Anybody who has ever watched the President speak while being interviewed or during a speech knows he pauses, probably because he is making sure he says the right thing because anything he says can and will be held against him in the court of the elite media. Kerry has yet to learn this and flaps his gums like sheets in a breeze and the following day has to change what he said and explain how he is being 'consistent'.

One of the major points of my 'sandbagging' theory is that the President was told not to engage Kerry, unless Kerry said something absurd and could be challenged, which did happen and we'll get to that in a moment, because by doing so would give Kerry a reason to waste time by picking at that one topic. That is basic debate tactic.

The elite media cares about only one thing, image. Substance only counts when they are focused on Republicans and what they have said, so as long as Kerry 'looked and sounded' presidential while he wasted time picking at something... which President Bush didn't allow to happen...they could crow all day about great Kerry was... which they did anyway, but mostly they attacked how President Bush looked, talked, and stood.

While elite media pundits were amazed by how 'presidential' Kerry appeared and how 'tired' President Bush looked, the President was unequivocally reenforcing who he was, what he believed and gave Kerry nothing that could be used against him. Kerry, on the other hand, said a lot that could be used against him, while at the same time not telling the American people much of anything in substance.

The moderator even asked Kerry several times to be specific in answering what he would do in certian circumstances and he even had to go back to what Kerry had said in an attempt to 'be clear about what he had said'.

In the end, no one who watched the debate has any problem reiterating what President Bush believes in or his stance on any subject that was covered... remember he repeated these things because he didn't have anything else to say...but, other than two things, can you say without a doubt what Kerry had to say about those same subjects?

The two subjects were that he felt the biggest future threat to America was nuclear proliferation and that to take preemptive action he would have to get America through a 'global test'. That supposed test is where the president diverted from the game plan and confronted Kerry and on this Kerry faltered and was unable to counter. Either you want American sovereignty to be decided by other countries or you don't.

Kerry made his choice and apparently the elite media were to busy admiring his tan to pay attention to what he said, because the headlines the next day were that he 'won' the debate and not that he would put our sovereignty in the hands of foreigners.

By holding back, 'sandbagging', the President garnered more than enough ammunition to use against Kerry in the next few weeks and they already have documentation of Kerry contradicting Kerry during the debate itself. Democrats can say the President looked 'stupid', but it means little when you have Kerry actually playing the part.

Debates aren't 'won' or 'lost'. Participants either make their case or they don't. They either give their challenger fodder to use against them or they don't.

Kerry may have looked and sounded better, but the race isn't over yet. The President's team knows what adjustments Kerry's team has made to their car, and now you'll start to see the sandbags coming off President Bush's car. The elite media and Kerry have 'misunderestimated' the President once again and the American public won't have to see us pass a global test to know who wins this race!

Lee P Butler

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