The more I think about it
Here's the transcript
, in case you wanted to check the debate out for yourself.
The more I think about it, the more I think Bush really won this one. And also, Bob Schieffer's questions were either idiotic or softballs for Kerry. I suppose there were a few hard questions for Kerry but he didn't answer them. For instance, when asked how he was going to pay for his massive health care plan, Kerry just rambled about how you're a moron if you don't want it. Not a single line about how to pay for it. I didn't really give it much thought, as Schieffer was less obviously biased than I thought he would be and that made him look a bit better I guess. Be that as it may, Kerry should have done much better. With Schieffer in there hanging 'em over the plate, and on domestic issues in the format of the first debate no less, Kerry should have trounced Bush according to the conventional wisdom.
This happened to me in every debate. I still think President Bush could have done better, but most of the questions were more tainted towards Kerry than I originally noticed and Kerry's answers were either pandering or flat wrong.
I think when it came to showing values and clarity, Bush ran away with it. He got in plenty of good shots but if he fell short anywhere it was in responding to Kerry again. Maybe that's just something he is content to let the punditry and the folks at the watercooler sort out.
I thought Kerry was pandering, waffling and tied up in logical knots, if you paid attention closely enough (it's hard to hear him drone on). Besides his weirdo hand movements, several times he used his rebuttal time to go back to a previous question.
Several times he made arrogant and irrelevant insertions of opportunistic non sequiturs. Bringing Cheney's daughter in to the question about homosexuality was bad, but mentioning Tom Daschle's hug with Bush in the well of the Senate (while paying a false tribute to Bush for his speech, which didn't fit his theme of "everything the president has done has been wrong and evil") made me almost gag. I can't imagine Daschle was too happy about it either.
The question about "marrying up" produced at least 4 real laughs from the audience, but Kerry starting his answer about his *mother* was, at best, strange. Then at the end of it he was able to crack a joke about marrying further up than anyone else, but the audience at first reacted strangely I thought. Not really laughter at first, as if they weren't really sure if he was joking or what, exactly. I might have misinterpreted it.
Bush also finally got a few of the jabs every conservative I know has wished he would. Foremost of these, Kerry's vote against the first Gulf War! Yesssss! I'm running out of steam here, but that's the main one that sticks out.
Yes, the more I think about it the more I think Bush won on style and substance tonight. Maybe not technical debate style, but the kind of style that convinces people that you're not an empty suit spouting the answer your focus group has told you will get the most votes. I just wish more people had been watching.
posted by M@ at 2:14 AM