Politics: After millions of dollars of attack ads (okay on both sides) it was absolutely fascinating to watch the electoral map change in Kerry's favor soon after the first debate, and stay there. [Here's one map]
In other words - they paint both guys with ad dollars - all that money can buy - and then the public (a record crowd) tunes in (I think there were 75 million but don't quote me on that) - and they see these guys for themselves. They see that Kerry is a flip-flopper but a smart one. That G.W. is petulant and dogmatic.
Look, I remember watching the vote on giving the President power to go to war and I remember watching Kerry and Edwards talking about their votes at the time. I remember thinking - man - if Kerry had any real political courage, he would have voted against the war. I know, now he says that he wasn't voting for the war but to send a message of unity to Saddam. That was bull. He was looking at the polls and calculating how much it would hurt him if he voted against the President. And sure he knew this was a vote for G.W. to go to war.
On the other hand, G.W. was planning to go to war from Day One. Before Sept. 11th. So you got your two men up there and both of them are twisting facts around. Hey - they're politicans. The bottom line, is that even though both of these guys are spinning, you still know about where they stand and so you can make a pretty informed decision.
G.W. will continue with more of the same and hope for the best. He will continue to deny the facts on the ground and will put the best face on the mess as he can. And who knows, he may even believe what he says. I don't know.
My take on G.W. is that he went into office determined to clean-up what he saw as an untidy finish to his dad's work in Iraq. He was going to make his mark there and fix what dad couldn't fix. He sees things in black and white and doesn't like the idea of keeping many ideas floating around at the same time. It makes him uneasy.
Kerry will inherit this mess. I don't think even he knows what he will do with it. But Kerry will probably be more comfortable changing course; keeping many balls in the air at the same time; and waffling around. He is - after all a master at the flip flop. He did the same thing with Vietnam. First he went to serve, then he came back and denounced what he saw. First he votes for the invasion. Then he's against it.
I know that the conventional wisdom is that a leader doesn't take both sides of an issue at practically the same time - but in this convoluted world - I'd rather have a smart flip-flopper than a dogmatic dolt.