...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

October 08, 2004

Presidential Debate Notes 2.0

i wanna do this without listening to any of the TV pundits, so my opinion won't be tainted. Which means that i may end up modifying my opinions later after i've taken in the insights of people wiser than i am. Plus, we finished another couple of bottles of that chianti, and i'm on my second glass of Port. So waaatchout!

No, really, i think President Bush did a fine job overall. And i think he improved his national security presentation slightly over last week, though not as much as i would have liked. He didn't hammer Kerry's no vote on the 1991 war, which i just don't understand. Ultimately, i think Kerry won the foreign policy portion again, simply on the strength of his relentless attacks and the relative ineffectiveness of the president's rebuttal skills.

But, and i wonder if anyone else feels this way, i think the President blew Kerry away on the domestic portion. Who'd have thunk it? Really, he relaxed, he had facts - facts - at his fingertips, he was quick and sharp and funny too. i was not only impressed, i think it's fair to say i was surprised. Bush didn't let me down.

Also interesting was my observation that Kerry missed a few chances to hammer Bush on domestic policy. i never would have expected that. Maybe they both prepared better for their weaker events, i don't know.

Oh Gibson. Punk-ass a-hole. What's the idea of picking that last question? WTF? The last question chosen by Gibson was for the president to name not one, not two, but three fucking mistakes! The last question of the debate, mind you. That was punk-ass biased, no question about it. And the Prez refused to play that game. i'm proud of him. i liked his take too. Let the historians decide, he's the president and it's not up to him. What the president couldn't say, but which is nonetheless the real reason is that, despite the demands of the touchy-feely Oprahcized society we are now cursed with, no President of the United States should ever admit to making one single mistake on questions of policy while he sits in office. Never Ever Fucking Ever No Way Ever Never.

But anyway. i think Bush stopped the bleeding tonight, not that there was much, thanks to Cheney. But still expectations were high, and Bush needed to do well. i believe he accomplished what he needed, which was to achieve at least a draw. He did so by appearing comfortable, attacking, parrying, and connecting. Kerry got his shots in, but Kerry said some stuff that will have people shaking their heads tomorrow too. How many times did Kerry say "I have a plan?" How many times did Kerry tell us what the plan was? Answers: a gazillion, and zero.

Did you get the feeling that Bush's passion is domestic policy? i almost feel like he wishes he were not a wartime president because he seems so passionate about domestic issues: education, tax policy, even the environment. Bush is really a Truman Democrat. That's not a bad thing, even though i'm a Republican. i happen to think that Truman was one of our greatest presidents. Like Truman, George Bush's intellect has been unfairly questioned. Like Bush, Truman had to make difficult foreign policy decisions. Like Truman, a central tenet of Bush's foreign policy is the support and defense of fragile democracies around the world. Truman believed, like Bush does now, that free nations halfway around the world can make America safer. History proved Truman right about that, and history will prove George W. Bush right. But i digress.

Oh i could nitpick the president's performance a little more - he should have realized that by turning around so much, trying to connect with the live audience, he ended up showing his back to the TV audience more often than not, since the inept director on Fox News couldn't keep up with him - but i won't. i'll just say i'm happy with his performance, i feel a whole lot better now, and i hope lots of other voters agree with me.

Oh, i'll be so pissed if the big internet brouhaha tomorrow turns out to be: Bush said he doesn't own a timber company but he actually does!

More: Bill thinks the final question was outrageous too.

If i say something nice about Kevin, then i can post a trackback to his Debate Wrapup. Kevin, i think you are way cool! Plus, he too predicted a better showing in the town hall format.

i'm not quite sure about the rules for link-whoring to Allah's blog. He wants a synopsis, but of what? The debate? My post? His post? i don't want to make Allah mad at me again. Long time readers may recall that it's been a little over a year since Allah declared his fatwa on me.

And i ain't the only one to notice the Truman analogy. c.f. Sparse Matrix.

And der Commissar has the funniest one liner attributable to Kerry: "I know Chris Reeve. Chris Reeve is friend of mine; and Mr President, you're no Chris Reeve!"

Posted by annika, Oct. 8, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


Nicely said. i agree.

You write all of this after 3 bottles of wine. I am impressed.

Posted by: jake on Oct. 8, 2004

I think the domestic policy points for Bush (I agree with your point) should be a real concern for the Kerry camp going into the domestic policy debate. I'm sure they thought they had that one in the bag.

Posted by: Kevin on Oct. 8, 2004

Annika, the Fact is, though Bush gets high marks for foreign policy, it is not his strong point. Kerry has spent his whole life studying foreign policy. Bush was the Governor of a state(though as large as some countries) and always focused on domestic issues. The only reason Bush has received high marks for FP was his Moral clarity and His team! Bush provides the vision the team fills in the rest. On domestic, Bush dealt With them first hand as Gov, he as more experience in that area. That is why I always though the FP parts of the debate would be Bush's weakest and domestics would be his strongest! Kerry really does not have the intellectual foundation in domestic issues like Bush. Bush is more comfortable discussing domestic issues than FP issues. Remember Cheney was chosen for His FP experience to balance out the ticket in 2000!

Posted by: lawguy on Oct. 8, 2004

i can't disagree with your analysis, lawguy.

Posted by: annika! on Oct. 8, 2004

Kerry is a one-trick pony, and his bluster is wearing thin.

Posted by: Casca on Oct. 8, 2004

Gibson owns you repuke cunt!

Posted by: Um Yeah on Oct. 8, 2004

Bush won on everything. I'am bias about America and I don't think Kerry truly believe in the USA no matter what he says. He don't believe in the troops can get the job done, Kerry thinks France and the UN knows what is best and that is all I need to know about the guy, serious does Kerry really seems to be for the country someone answer that one.

Posted by: Dex on Oct. 8, 2004

I tended to see it the same way - the President let Kerry off the hook on the FP side and Kerry was on the defensive/backtracking on the Dom side.

I also fail to see why the President's advisor don't hammer home the point that all the "conditions" Kerry faults the President for in 2002/3 about going to war were satisfied in 1990/1 and he voted against that resolution while he voted for one in 2002.

Also, if "intelligence" is so important to Kerry, why doesn't the President do the 1-2 punch about his votes on the intelligence budget as well as Kerry's attendance at Intelligence committee meetings?

The last question was dumb, but I suspect Kerry thinks the abortion and stem cell questions were slanted against him. Did he tap dance when the President hit him with the votes on parental notification and partial birth?

If I were advising the President, I'd get him to reinforce the point that security underpins everything. He should look the people in the eye and tell them "you know that if you're not safe in your homes, neighborhood, or schools, then your family and your community won't function" - the same is true for the nation." And then have him rattle off "Beirut, TWA, PAN-AM, Berlin disco, Somalia, NYC WTC 93, USS Coles, African embassies, etc..and say our response to those events were tepid and emboldened our enemies that resulted in 9/11...and we're not going back..(which could bring in Kerry's comment about "sensitive", global test, etc..)

I'd really wish someone would ask Kerry exaxtly WHICH countries not in the coalition he expects to join us as a result of his "summit." Having just had a chance to talk with some of my peers at NATO, they are terrified of the prospect of Kerry actually having to "name names." They love the current position of being anti-Bush, but actually fear a Kerry victory - they don't want to participate and Bush gives them an out.

Kerry is now officially on record about taxes, tort reform (wow, did he try to say that fast so nobody heard him), and budget deficit reduction. If he wins, the Rep nominee in 2008 will already have his/her commercials teed up.

I'm also waiting to hear if any mentions the people chosen were almost all white except for the one black woman (maybe I dozed off, but I don't recall any other non-white questioner)..

Posted by: Col Steve on Oct. 8, 2004

Um Yeah: All right! Way to convince conservatives that liberals are rational and not as blinded by anger as they're made out to be!



Posted by: Kevin Kim on Oct. 9, 2004

Kerry looked like an idiot and couldn't stop lying. If Bush owns a timber company, I own fucking General Electric.

Crush Kerry!

Posted by: d-rod on Oct. 9, 2004

I thought that the final question was intended to mean "what are the worst 3 decisions that *you* have ever made," where "you" means Bush or Kerry, as applicable. Kerry chose to interpret it in terms of Bush's decisions, not his own.

Posted by: David Foster on Oct. 9, 2004

Just checked the transcript, and I guess my interpretation of the question was wrong. I must have been thinking about how the question *should* have been asked.

Posted by: David Foster on Oct. 9, 2004

Col. Steve, as usual, you make several excellent points. Not the least of which is that our reluctant "allies" really don't want to participate and Bush gives them an out.

Kerry wants us to believe that the force of his personality alone will bring the "allies" to the table. Yet this is a man who is so pompous and unlikeable, that his campaign is hard pressed to find any friends in the Senate, or even going way back to college. People don't like this man one-on-one. As a rule, people like Bush once they meet him. Which underscores the point. Personality is important in diplomacy, but it is not magic. Personality can't make a nation act against what it percieves as its own self interest. And our supposed "allies" still feel that it is not in their self interest to get involved in "America's war." How's Kerry going to change their minds?

And Kerry's "plan" that he referred to dozens of times, consists of these two points only (check the transcript): he will bring the allies to the table, and he will train the Iraqi security forces faster! So we're supposed to trust him on the basis of those two slim promises?

And what if our "allies" just say no, which they undoubtedly will? i'm not voting for a man who believes the Iraq War has been conducted "all wrong," but his only plan to fix it amounts to training the Iraqis faster.

Posted by: annika! on Oct. 9, 2004

Kerry is basically arguing that we should elect him because of his diplomatic abilities; ie, his personal selling skills. If I were interviewing someone for an important sales job--and if he were claiming that he could get us into accounts that had previously not been obtainable--I would want to know:
a)What is your previous experience in closing major sales?
b)What ideas do you have for *specifically* how you will sell these accounts? What "benefits" arguments will you make that we have not already made? How will you work the internal politics within these prospects in order to develop advocacy for our products?

Kerry has provided no answers to the above questions.

Posted by: David Foster on Oct. 9, 2004

whats the differance between a fresh masive peanutt shit and a KKKonservitive?

theres less nuts in the shit and its a hole lot warmer!


Posted by: Um Yeah on Oct. 9, 2004

Um Yeah, it's funny you mentioned the KKK. If Robert Byrd ever goes against the Demonicrat party line, the media might find out that he was in the Klan or something.........

It's also funny that you brought up massive peanut shit. I'm sure Carter had excreted plenty of those while in office........http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/jc39.html

If my man wins this election, I gotta new slogan.........KERRY TRIED, VOTERS DENIED

Posted by: reagan80 on Oct. 9, 2004


Next time we'll get alot more!


Posted by: Barney Gumble on Oct. 9, 2004


Is Barney G. saying that he's joyous that the "evil joos" were killed in Egypt? Is he saying that he's a terrorist and that he's gonna kill more next time? If that's the case, I hope this happens to you, Mr Grumble..........


Posted by: reagan80 on Oct. 9, 2004

Annika...I've linked this, with additional commentary on the Truman thing.

Posted by: David Foster on Oct. 9, 2004

I don't think Kerry actually believes he can create a larger or stronger coalition, and I don't think he cares at all about that. His position is where it is because that's what his core support wants to hear.

He says whatever he thinks the listener wants to hear. Why should this particular instance be any different?

Posted by: Ted on Oct. 10, 2004

Here's one mistake Bush could and should have owned up to: agreeing to a debate moderated by Charles Gibson.

Posted by: Xrlq on Oct. 11, 2004