October 01, 2004
Watching those two weird men on TV
I don't feel up to attempting a full post mortem on the debate last night, but I will say I was shocked by how well Kerry came off. He didn't "win," by any means. But I had expected a train wreck. For the first time, I found I could almost picture him as the leader of something, maybe even as the President. I imagine that his improved deportment alone will have picked up some "undecideds." (He didn't quite pick me up, I have to say, but I'm still listening - I still can't quite summon the conviction that either of these guys really deserves to be elected.)
Bush isn't much of an orator, and fortunately for him no one expects him to be. Even so, he wasn't at his best. He seemed to run out of material half way through. He didn't "blow it," though, despite what appeared to be some moments of ill temper and distraction. Outside of "the enclaves," where few people seem able to see beyond the platitude that he is something like the Devil incarnate, people tend to like Bush and give him the benefit of the doubt. His awkward moments and verbal infelicities come off as charming and human, even among those who are disinclined to vote for him. I'm sorry, folks, but it's true. Misusing the word "vociferously" will not cost him a single vote. I don't think he lost any ground on account of his "performance." But his campaign has suffered a set-back in that his opponent has suddenly managed to present himself as something other than a joke.
Yet despite the improved presentation, Kerry's Iraq spiel is as incoherent and confusing as ever. It is mystifying to me that he continues to harp on the propriety and manner of the decision to go to war in the first place, rather than to press Bush on the inept conduct and poor results of the reconstruction. That's certainly the more pertinent issue. The most pressing issue, of course, is what to do now. And on that score, neither of these guys is very persuasive. Kerry's notion that it's all a matter of convening the proper number of summits is laughable; but Bush's assertion that things aren't as bad as they seem and are going to get better in unspecified ways and through unspecified means is hardly more convincing. I hope he's right, of course. But he's lucky Kerry doesn't have a coherent, credible counter-argument on offer.
Posted by Dr. Frank at October 1, 2004 06:40 PM
If there is a good answer as to how to change our fortunes in Iraq, I certainly can't think of it. I'm certain Kerry doesn't really believe that China, Germany and France will come to our rescue. I wish he would just say "Well, basically I'm going to do the same thing that he's going to do from here on out, but he's the guy who didn't think this through in the first place." Also, I'm not enjoying Bush's commitment to the sunk-cost fallacy. Bush's point didn't seem to be that Kerry was incorrect that this war had been a mistake (which is debatable), but more that the commander and chief isn't allowed to say that. Psst...Don't say this war may have been a mistake, the troops might hear you and then they'll feel bad. I wish I wish presidential candidates were just a catalogue of "here's what I'm gonna do," and "here's what it'll cost you" proposals.
Generally speaking, I felt that Senator Kerry and President Bush exceeded my admittedly low expectations. However, I think it's a bit of an overstatement to say Kerry "didn't 'win' by any means." Clearly Kerry 'won' - but it wasn't a decisive victory. It was more of a split-decision than a knockout. Nevertheless, I don't think either candidate wowed the elusive undecided crowd. Frankly, if you haven't decided by now, I don't think anything will compel you to fully support Bush or Kerry. They are who they are...and they are pretty well defined at this point in the campaign. Is there such think as unwavering ambivalence? That's kinda how I feel and I don't think anything is going to change over the course of the next month.
I consider myself the real winner of the debate. I sat motionless for 90 minutes and didn't hurl anything at the TV. I did chuckle at George's use of "vociferously" - and wondered if Kerry would somehow acknowledge it.
Well, you've convinced me...When will you be running for president? ;)
The propriety and the manner of the decision to go to war in the first place is important. True, what to do next is important, but we can't ignore such a grave mistake when deciding who should lead the country. I'm glad he didn't shy away from that as some kind of "gentlemanly" courtesy.
I don't think Kerry was saying that a certain number of summits will solve the problem. It was clear to me that he was simply saying that actually meeting with other allies and convincing them that they are allowed to help rebuild and secure Iraq and should help is one of the steps.
what about Kerry's mention of the intention to build a permenant US presence in Iraq(i.e. 14 bases)... this seems to be a clue as to why we really went there and why our allies won't really participate.
what happened to no "nation-building" from 4 years ago. I thought that was Bush's platform... maybe it was just a figment of my imagination (can anyone else remember 'no nation-building' from 4 years ago?) if this isn't nation-building, I don't know what is.... it certainly wasn't about WMD or we'd already be in Iran and N.Korea, and it wasn't about a nasty dictatorial gov't or we'd have invaded half the world.
You said "on offer." Communist!!
Now for a non-pompous opinion: What you have here is two vastly different characters; character A:) Aristocratic, liberal, wealthy schmoozie and almost evangelical/used car salesman orator and character B:) Hard-assed take no shit good ole' boy.
I'll take character B:) who'll tell me the facts, not just what I want to hear.
The way I viewed the debate was that Kerry had a lot of bright/good ideas but has no facts or even no clue about how to execute his ideas. Remember when he was talking about handing out oodles and oodles of money to the police, fire, highways, education, healthcare etc... GW's reply was "How are you going to pay for it?" GOOD QUESTION!!!
Kerry also made the "Collosal Mistake" in saying that the war was the aforementiond quote and by saying "Wrong place, wrong time". He got hammered for that flip-flop all night long.
What I saw was Kerry telling America what they want to hear with no clue as how to execute his "plan" errrrrrrr.....I mean ideas and GW getting pissed off because he knows that the majority of America is too dumb to see this and getting even more pissed off about Kerry's total disrespect and disregard or our troops and military. Vietnam left him a very, very bitter man.
What we found out: Kerry is a good orator, Bush is not...well no shit!!!
Kerry has ideas and Bush has a temper....no shit!!!!!
Kerry direspects the military, Bush is ready to fight....no shit!!!!
Kerry is full of empty promises, Bush wants to "stay the course"....no friggin' shit!!!!
Debate score: Kerry +1 for being suave and a good speaker. Bush +1 for calling him on his bluffs
Kerry -1 for not having any plans, just ideas, Bush -1 for getting irritated and angry
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO WINS!!!!!!!
The President can't do jack-shit without approval from congress so if Kerry wins it's a stale-mate and more of the same and if Bush wins well we know what's went on the last 4 years. The only difference maker would be if in two years, the Senate and House goes to majority democrat and then there will be change and middle-class will suffer through tax-burdens to make up for the poor, the undereducated, the police, fire departments and highways...in other words shit that shouldn't need money because they waste the funds they have....screw that!!
I'm voting Bush just because I know I won't get tax-robbed,raped and pillaged if the Senate and House get won over by the democrats in 2 years.
Hey Frank, what's with the language filter? Not that I needed to use the F-word anyway, mind you.
Zaphod, it's not a language filter. It's a comments spam filter (blacklist) that somehow ended up including a few curse words among all the urls. I've filtered the filter, and it should work properly now, so cuss away.
I have some of the same thoughts presented by Zaphod. A dead heat debate, neither candidate really quite coming out on top, leaving more questions than answers. I don't know exactly which one of these clowns will get my vote yet, But I try to be as objective as I can.
Yeah... as a Kerry supporter (and not *just* because he's not Bush) I was disappointed in his performance. I really saw this as his opportunity to "come out" and show the undecided what he's all about. I felt like I heard too much "I can do better" and not enough "I will do better by doing the following things...," but as a friend pointed out to me, that might not be the wisest move, as Bush's people seem to enjoy co-opting Kerry's stance as their own on the issues where people are most critical of them.
I feel like Bush was very transparently flustered, aggravated, and arrogant. I don't know what channel you watched on, but I watched it on C-Span, where they showed both candidates the entire time, and being able to see Bush's reactions (or lack thereof at times) spoke volumes about what goes on in his head.
I give points to Kerry for finally having at least one coherent plan - the parts about securing nuclear materials in Russia. Bush had no response. I am still very irritated, however, that Kerry can't articulate this magic Iraq plan of his. I think a lot of people who are still listening, as you put it, would see Kerry as a more realistic choice if he gave them something more tangible in the way of plans.
"It is mystifying to me that he continues to harp on the propriety and manner of the decision to go to war in the first place, rather than to press Bush on the inept conduct and poor results of the reconstruction. "
But of course, he CAN'T go after the current situation in Iraq, because Bush and the GOP have done such a terrific job of demonizing any and all criticism involving the troops. Say that the war is going poorly - you're unpatriotic, can't lead, and demoralizing the troops. In real life, the troops are much more demoralized by being shot at in a quagmire with no exit strategy, but with Bush and the right-wing media constantly bleating about anti-patriotism, Kerry's in a tough spot to tell the truth about Bush's terrible, terrible failures.
And what exactly is Kerry supposed to say about a precise exit strategy? Bush broke the egg, and Kerry is to be criticized for not having a detailed plan for putting it back together - even though Bush DOESN'T HAVE A PLAN EITHER?! Better to get rid of the egg-breaker, lest he crack open a few more.
Zaphod"Now for a non-pompous opinion: What you have here is two vastly different characters; character A:) Aristocratic, liberal, wealthy schmoozie and almost evangelical/used car salesman orator and character B:) Hard-assed take no shit good ole' boy.
I'll take character B:) who'll tell me the facts, not just what I want to hear."
No offense, Zaphod, but you must have forgotten Bush's background.
He grew up a rich, spoiled brat in Connecticut.
He was a cheerleader in high school. (While Kerry was in a rock band ;))
He went to Harvard AND Yale.
He was VERY pro-Viet Nam, but didn't volunteer to go himself.
He's been a failure at every business endeavor he's ever attempted, yet his connections made him filty, filthy rich.
He only PRETENDS to be a "Hard-assed take no shit good ole' boy."
He didn't even have his "ranch" until he ramped up his political ambitions, so he could use it has a backdrop for his newly invented back story as a cowboy.
Don't fall for his fake image - Bush is, and always has been, a wimp.
if i may offer the simplified opinion of a dork:
the a and b you actually have here is
this particualr scenario:
You are in a cave with a group of orcs(soley
because both things are common in non-reality)
and most people are weak wizards who want to do anything but kill them.
You as the non-so weak leader of this group:
A)Kill them all anyway with your +10 Axe of Hurt
B)Try to talk to them to see if maybe they are
rebel nice orcs or maybe can at least be fooled into letting take their treasure.
Am I wrong?
I managed to catch the debates the other night but for the life of me couldn't really come to any judgements afterwords, except to maybe concede that the whole shpeal was more or less a stalemate. As the good Doctor pointed out, this isn't really going to do anything to change anyone's minds. The election still looks like a (very slow, somewhat surreal) horserace from here, folks, though many of my friends are taking bets on which side is going to pull some huge stunt sometime this month. I have twenty bucks riding on the hopes that Bush does NOT suddenly yell "surprise!" and pull Bin Laden out of his butt on Nov. 1, but you never know...
Also, was anyone else a little let down by all the hype about Kerry's fake tan? I was hoping he'd look a little more carroty.