This morning, I was listening to the radio on the way to work, and thought about the 'Insta-polls' from the night before, which boldly declared that Kerry won the debate.
I knew all the reasons not to believe in those works of spin. I was well aware, for example, that many Democrat websites and groups had planned ahead of time to swamp the polls for Kerry, and I also knew that there is absolutely no science to those things; even the network polls admit they have no detailed demographics and use a much smaller base than anyone would consider reasonable for even a snapshot. But more than anything else, they miss the critical question. They ask who won the debate, assuming that this matters in the election. They do not, I think intentionally, ask who the voters will support in the Election. Because they already know that answer, and they want to sell a different story.
But I also thought of another way to explain why the spin is not important. A couple years ago, my department was expanding, and my company had me interview a number of applicants. I remember one woman in particular. She was very attractive, very intelligent, and very articulate. Of more than thirty interviews I had, I would have to say hers was the most enjoyable, and she made a very good impression. However, when it was time to make the decision on the two people to hire, this woman was not one of the two I chose. Why not? Because for all her appearance, intelligence, and personality, she was not nearly the best qualified. My department has no direct contact with the public, so beauty and fashion have no value for our group. My department does analysis and investigations, and the team members have to be very familiar with the relevant laws and codes in force. This woman did well in her interview, but completely failed to show why she should be hired for the position; she possessed none of the requisite skills.
That is the same problem for John Kerry. he is clearly intelligent, and dresses well. He does not, however, have the necessary abilities and resume to be President of the United States. Somehow, Kerry managed to forget that while his "Hate Bush" message was sufficient to get people to give him a look, he still had to convince voters that he could do the job. For all the months he spent campaigning, for all his time in front of cameras during the Primaries, during the Democrats' Convention, and the three Debates, John Kerry never showed any compelling reason to believe he could make the hard choices, or that he understood the priorities and mission of the White House. Yes, he managed to look and sound impressive at times. But that only qualified him to replace Martin Sheen. It never came close to qualifying him for the Oval Office.
It remains to be seen, how much damage will be done by the Old Media spin machine, by the frantic efforts of his '527' attack dogs, or the smear tactics of the lawyers sent to extort a Democrat win in the swing states, but in the end it won't be enough.
John Kerry has proven to the nation that he is not up to the job, and President Bush has affirmed that he is competent.