Bush-Kerry as a Tennis Match
[WARNING: CONVOLUTED, MANGLED ANALOGY AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION]
Just finished watching the first presidential debate. Powerline did a blow by blow using a boxing analogy to grade the debate, and says Kerry is back in the game. Hugh Hewitt has a nice little graphic on his blog, detailing the debate as he live-blogged it. He says it's game, set, and match for Bush. I don't think it's over yet. But, Hugh has inspired me; let's look at this election as a tennis match. In my analogy, tonight was the opening of the third set. As we are joining the coverage in progress, let's recap.
Bush vs. Kerry--Best of five set match, Davis Cup rules (no tiebreaks)--winner is the President of the United States for the next 4 years.
FIRST SET--The first set of our match occurred from the time Kerry won the Democratic nomination and ended the week after the Democratic convention. This set was hard-fought. Kerry led in many national polls during this time, holding his own with Bush. Bush plodded along, being Presidential. Each player held serve throughout the beginning of the set. No major gaffes. Bush is like a wall though--returning every Kerry shot, sending him from sideline to sideline. Kerry's doing a lot of reacting, running all over the court, returning each Bush topspin shot right into the middle of Bush's court. Bush hardly has to move, Kerry seems to be getting winded.
Kerry struggled a little bit with defining himself. We knew what we had in Bush, but Kerry hadn't passed the 'Can this guy be President?' test yet. Going into the Democratic convention, they had split the first 10 games of the set. It's all tied up at 5-5. Kerry has the serve--and he has the convention. He can close out the first set strong and lead the match if he can only do something, anything, during his free week of media attention.
Kerry starts off the game with a double fault named Al Gore, love-fifteen. The media loves Obama, Kerry gets transference, fifteen all. Turay-zah Heinz Kerry, oh my it's fifteen-thirty. He follows with a way too-deep backhand named Al Sharpton that hits a ballboy in the head, fifteen-forty. JFK, reporting for duty, game President Bush. Bush leads 6-5 and serves for the first set.
No bounce out of the convention. Oh wait, a negative bounce, that's unprecedented. Bush holds serve and wins the first set, 7-5.
SECOND SET--The second set happened during August and September. Kerry is being hammered by the Swifties. Turay-zah is saying silly things. Republicans have a good convention. Kerry's falling in the polls, blames his racket stringer. Kerry contradicts himself daily. No one's listening. Rathergate takes away 10 days of coverage for Kerry. Windsurfing backfires.
Bush plods along. He looks slow afoot. But, he has a deadly backhand, smacking Kerry silly. Kerry's plummeting in the polls. Kerry blames a linesman and the umpire for his poor performance. "John Kerry doesn't foot fault," he says. No one can find John Edwards. Kerry's changing rackets between every other point now. His campaign staff seems to be overhauled weekly. Bush wins this set handily, 6-0.
Bush leads 7-5, 6-0 heading into the first debate. Kerry needs to get on track. Bush tries to stay the course.
THIRD SET--The first debate. Kerry serving. He looks presidential. He's not too orange. His demeanor is good. He stands up well to Bush. Bush is slouching. Kerry is writing away, ala Daschle, while Bush is speaking. Bush looks annoyed and incredulous while Kerry is speaking. On appearance only, Kerry holds serve, leads 1-0.
Bush serving. On substance, Bush is winning. Bush hammers away at the flip flops. How can you gather a coalition for a war, when it's the wrong war, wrong place, wrong time. I know next to little about North Korea. Kerry wants bilateral, Bush says 5 nation coalition. Bush convinces me that this is better than what Kerry wants. Kerry's going all over the board with his answers. Bush answers most questions with the same answer. Stay the course. Be firm. We will win. Bush holds serve and we're tied 1-1.
Kerry serving in the third game. Bush isn't losing the debate. Kerry isn't losing either. Kerry hasn't pushed Bush over the edge which seems to have been a good stratergy going in. Both candidates are doing OK. Bush catches Kerry in a gaffe: preemptive war only if it passes the global test, point Bush. Kerry stands toe-to-toe, matching the President's groundstrokes, deuce. Back and forth they go, Bush is getting tired, Kerry stays strong throughout the debate, advantage Kerry. Kerry doesn't screw up his closing statement, point and game to Senator Kerry. Kerry leads 2-1.
Bush serving. Most pundits are saying the debate was a draw, point to Kerry. Organized Democrats load up on internet polls saying Kerry won the debate, point to Kerry. And that, my friends, is where we are today in the election.
Bush leads 7-5, 6-0, 1-2 (0-30).
Other reactions for your perusal. American Mind says the debate was a draw that prolongs Kerry's campaign. The Moderate Voice uses a baseball analogy, saying the game's far from over, and could go extra innings.
Captain Ed says Kerry lives to fight another day. And Jason, in an interesting post, says Bush mopped the floor with Kerry. Actually, Allah has a huge blogdom roundup of debate reactions found here.