Is it too much to hope that John Kerry will be great tonight? I'm actually hoping for a little less righteous anger (people know by now that he can be a stand-up guy) and a little more Capraesque (or Clintonesque) hopefulness. We all know Bush is going to be angry and pissy, so I think it would be a good contrast. The voters who are still saying they're not hearing what they want to hear in the debates want to hear someone say, in effect, "I'll lead you out of this mess"; if that sounds sentimental, well, Americans are a sentimental people (present company excepted). The still-undecideds, I think, are hearing as Kerry's message as "Bush will just keep leading you around in circles," and Bush's message as "I sure will -- it's called 'leadership.' You got a problem with that?" I don't need to hear violin music from Kerry, but I think a lot of people want to hear it from somebody; a tiny bit of schmaltz tonight might be just what he needs.
And yes, I'm prepared for this to sound stupid as of 10:30 tonight.