Well, between pitches of Sox/Yanks game 2 ('nuff said on that, btw), I took in most of the last debate. Simply put, I thought the President won (whereas I thought he narrowly lost the first and tied or did a bit better than Kerry in the second). I thought the President did a fine job of explaining that the 90-Minute-Debate-Kerry is not the same as the 20-Year-Senator-Kerry. Additionally, it just appeared to me that President Bush is plainly the more "human" candidate. I acknowledge my inherent bias, however, and took the instant polls with a grain of salt. I realize that the critical "swing" voter may be looking for something different than I. Initially, it looked as if the President was viewed as a loser, but that was mostly from the spin of the MSM. Now, on Friday, it seems that my first inclinations may have been correct, as the Zogby tracking poll has the President up 4 points post debate (it had him up 1 point pre-debate). Nonetheless, polls still must be viewed cautiously.
So why the shift? I suspect three things, all having nothing to do with policy and having everything to do with depths to which the Democratic ticket will plumb to gain any scintilla of political advantage.
First, upon the death of Christopher Reeve, was the claim by John Edwards (in his best evangelical style) that, under a Kerry Presidency in which all aborted babies will be made available for that panacea known as fetal stem cell research, Christopher Reeve would have been able to walk. To this, Charles Krauthammer, himself a quadriplegic, has offered the best rebuke.
Second were the cynical attempts made by Edwards and Kerry, respectively, to insert the Vice-President's daughter into the debate. It can be argued that now is a fine time for conservatives to get indignant about a lesbian being used for political gain when they have either wanted to push things of this nature under the rug or, worse, have themselves used the gay marriage debate as a "wedge issue." That point can be argued, it may even be fair, but it is not really germane. One cannot be indignant about conservative, Republican, or even the Cheney's reaction, without acknowledging the cynical nature of the mention by Kerry and Edwards: It was an obvious attempt to use the VP's daughter as a wedge of their own. Additionally, how can one ignore the disgraceful comment by Mrs. Edwards that implied that the Mrs. Cheney was ashamed of her own daughter? Simply put, the Democrats crossed the line on this one, too.
Finally, the reports of Democrat Party plan to launch a "pre-emptive" strike by charging voter disenfranchisement whether or not it exists. If they can't win at the ballot box, then they will win in the courts. Haven't we seen this before? Yet, the effort at the ballot box has not been forgotten. Instances of voter fraud are cropping up nationally, including such phenomena as counties having more newly registered voters than residents, or some people registering more than once, as well as other shenanigans. Most are being done by Democrat sympathizers, such as ACORN, a left wing voter registration outfit (though they claim to be non-partisan).
I believe that all of these events have brought about the small uptick for President Bush. The American people value fair play above all else. They like winners, but they like fair winners. Right now, the Democrats look like cheaters.