Friday, October 3, 2008

How To Win a Debate Without Really Trying

I'm seeing a lot of stuff like this from CNN:
[S]ince Biden was supposed to destroy Palin, and didn't even come close, this was a good night for the Republican.
As P.G. Wodehouse once wrote, "what frightful horse-radish."

Most of the talking heads now annoint debate winners not in terms of who actually performed better, but who performed above or below expectations. In this case, Sarah Palin didn't accidentally set the podium on fire as expected, so she won.

OK, here's my plan: I'm going to challenge Michael Phelps to a 100-meter butterfly. But first, I must tell you that I'm a terrible swimmer. I'm not sure I could finish a 100-meter race. There, now your expectations for my winning are pretty low, right? So, when I do eventually crawl out of the pool, you'll be surprised that I failed to drown.

Which will make me the winner. All I need to do is perform better than expected.

PS to Sarah: in a debate, you're really not supposed to say "I may not answer the questions...." It's a debate, the point of which is, well, that you answer the questions.

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