The Debates

14 Oct

I haven't said much on the debates since my blogging has been fairly light of late, but I did want to do a brief wrap-up now that they are all over. For me, the debates were not all that enlightening. I knew John Kerry before the the mass public did and I knew he could handle the presidency. But that is the single most important aspect of the debates, they allowed Kerry to stand along side George Bush and appear equal in stature. Kerry nailed that and it why he won the three debate. But beyond the shallow "who meet pre-existing expectations better" argument, John Kerry won substance too. Read on for is short debate-by-debate argument:First Debate: There was no question that Kerry won the first debate. Whether judging on substance or style, Kerry cleaned Bush's clock.

Second Debate: The second debate was the best debate in my opinion because the questions were actually written by people who wanted to know something substantive. I was disappointed that Kerry struggled so much with the Abortion question near the end (I also thought that young lady who asked the question was so in love with GWB that there was no way she was undecided). But that was really the only stumble on his part.

Bush on the other hand was still not trying very hard. His "Want some wood?" comment, his use of Dred Scott as a "red-state codeword" for Roe vs. Wade, and his attack on Charlie Gibson (he did rush the moderator!!!) made him look unpresidential next to Kerry. In a sense, Kerry didn't so much as win this debate as Bush lost it (figuratively and literally).

Third Debate: The last debate was boring. The moderator was horrible, giving Bush zero policy questions. This was a debate about domestic policy and it was totally about ideology. Again, this is why the debate number two was the best. It at least had good questions. Kerry didn't go in for the kill and I wish he did. I don't know if he felt he had the momentum and shouldn't risk it by looking too eager to attack. He did keep Bush on the defensive and that was all it really took to stay in the game.

Bush, on the other hand, again seemed to be out of his element. He was not articulate and tried to attack Kerry in ways that will make his base happy, but will do little to stop Kerry's momentum. At one point he even had spittle on his mouth, and I can tell you that will turn women voters off even more then sweat. Bush's comment about OBL also looks like it could backfire. However, the absolute worst moment in the debate for Bush was discussing jobs. It is my interpretation, but Bush said if you do not have a job it is because you are stupid. How the hell is NCLB going to help a 50 year-old unemployed machinist? It won't, but that is what Bush said was the main focus of his jobs program. That was the moment in all of the debates where Bush appeared the most out of touch and that is what will have the lasting impact.

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