In a sidebar to an article on the first Bush-Kerry debate, the Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita [The Republic], in its weekend edition of Oct. 2-3, 2004, published a long quotation from Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman. It reads:
“This was not a debate but rather a press conference. Kerry came out much better than I expected. He showed smoothness and intelligence, and didn't talk too much. For the first time in the campaign he gave voters a reason to vote for him, and not just against Bush. Bush also surprised me — by his nervousness. He seemed incredibly nervous! Probably because intellectual debate is not his strong side. Still, it's not clear to me that the debate changed anything. The electorate is divided, and everything I saw could only harden both camps in their previous views. As for undecided voters, well, there's not many of them, and so it's also hard to say at this point whether the debate mattered. The biggest influence on all this will be played by the media, since in the end it's they who will decide who wins.”
The quotation was translated by Professor Political Science David Ost. He reports that Rzeczpospolita is one of Poland's major daily newspapers.
“It is the country's most serious paper, a little too serious to have a mass audience but with a solid readership among the political and economic elite,” he says.
Deutchman's quote came from a front-page article titled “The Irritation and Exhaustion of George Bush,” by the paper's Washington correspondent Piotr Gillert.
Ost has lived extensively in Poland and written widely on Polish politics. His new book, “The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Postcommunist Europe,” will be published in 2005.