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Musings and Meanderings
Friday, October 08, 2004
Well both of them!
There is no question that this was a better performance by a sitting President of the US in round two tonight. He was animated and excited looking like he was "itchin' to get goin'" on every question. We saw a side of George W. Bush that we have not seen in a long time I felt, the intelligent person. He was much more the person who beat Ann Richardson in the debates for Texas Governor than the person who showed up for the first debate, or even the '00 debates.
I read a great article somewhere talking about the evolution of Bush's way of speaking in public. That it was an affectation, and that videotapes and press conferences from his early public speaking years show an intelligent and well spoken man who pronounces words correctly and puts sentences together well. This is the person who showed up tonight.
I'm feeling like I’ve been listening to a broken record at this point on the third round now, including the VP debate. The Bush/Cheney team dummying down the record of Senator Kerry into bits and bytes for consumption. The Kerry/Edwards team attempting to put their confusing and needlessly complicated positions into some better light.
Senator Kerry was as cool and collected as the President was passionate. He did one thing that was a brilliant strategy in looking directly at the President while criticizing his policies. No doubt this strategy was to get the President to break and get angry or flustered. It worked only once, during question six regarding the military draft when Bush was so agitated that he over spoke the moderator. Kerry utilized and marshaled his facts and the names of people who thought the war in Iraq was mismanaged very well. He did repeat some of the catch slogans that are being used on the campaign trail, but so did President Bush so that was a draw.
I don't think either candidate did a great job of actually answering the questions that were put to them. Some they did answer but others were almost ignored, or as in the 18th and last question, were conveniently reinterpreted by the Candidates.
However in a true debate (which none of these are really) the winner and looser is determined by how they handled the questions and what they actually said, not the throw away one liners, stump speech sound bites nor the grimaces or chuckles. For this debate I took copious notes on each question and what was said. If I were to shape those notes into a piece it would be needlessly long and I'd loose you fairly early, if I haven't lost you already......
However in a cursory run through of the Questions, taking into consideration HOW the questions were handled, not the actual facts that were presented ( I will leave that to Factcheck.org) I would give the nod to Senator Kerry over President Bush 10 to 8.
Stand out things I heard tonight from the Candidates: The term "internets", as if there were more than one. Enjoyed the phrase "The Military wins the war, its the President that wins the Peace". When asked why we had such a huge deficit, President Bush actually practiced truth in advertising and said: "well we had a war and a recession and then we cut taxes!". Kerry looking directly in the camera and saying he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than 200K a year. President Bush's joke in response to the Supreme Court question was quite endearing in his "I'm not telling!" response.
All in all this debate did nothing to break the deadlock btw the two candidates. I still stand by what I have said over and over in this blog, that it's all well and good, but that Kerry just cannot win in November. Whether its' voting machines in Florida, Right wing Secretaries of State in Ohio, or the whole messy Electoral College system, Kerry will not win enough electoral college votes to win the Presidency. He may very well win the popular vote however.
Won't that be something?