The Debate

The debate just ended.
From where I was sitting — in my living room, Senator Kerry spoke clearly, and confidently. President Bush was often less confident, stumbled.

Most importantly, Kerry enunciated clearly how his core beliefs have not changed, as he has been accused. He explained how his different votes and statements have been based on different information, and different situations. He didn’t quote Emerson, and to do so would have been disrespectful, but I will: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of simple minds.”

Consistency is sometimes appropriate and necessary. Emerson spoke against a foolish consistency. When information changes. When the situation changes. It can call for different actions.

There were often disagreements on the facts, and it will be interesting to see the analysts pick apart which one was correct.

I was watching on C-Span, and as the representative from the Commission on Presidential Debates said…after the debate those who support Kerry will say he won, and those who support Bush will say he won. What is important is how the undecideds feel. According to some polls 1/3 of America is undecided — or at least have said the debates will influence their decision. Of course, I am not undecided. And I know my view of the debate is biased.

As a side note: I thought the green, yellow, and red lights were silly. The debate isn’t a game show, nor is it the Emmys. However, I believe the only time the red light flashed was while Bush was speaking. (I may be wrong in that there were a few minutes where I wasn’t watching, but only listening, so I might have missed Kerry going over.)

Morning Update:

Here’s a running commentary of the debate from one of my two favorite comic authors /political commentators, Peter David. Tom Tomorrow, was busy elsewhere. (PAD does actually slip in some negative comments about Kerry.)

The polls this morning generally agree with my assessment — Kerry won the debate.

0 thoughts on “The Debate

  1. Greg Trotter

    Sorry this is so delayed, but I’ve been out of town. I was driving while the debate was on, so my reaction is based on listening to them and not seeing them at all.

    I thought it was pretty close, maybe a slight edge to Bush.

    Kerry was a better tempo speaker. He didn’t have the dead-air pauses that Bush had. Some of Bush’s pauses were so long, I thought we’d lost the radio station signal.

    Bush used the line about “you can’t lead the troops if you keep changing your position on the war” about 17 times too often. I got the point after the first dozen times he said it.

    Kerry walked into a verbal trap. After saying over and over that the President made a mistake with Iraq, he had to respond to his old comment about being the alst to die for a mistake, and are the troops dying for a mistake now? And he said “No”, which is entirely inconsistent with his previous statements.

    If they are not dying for a mistake, that means either:

    a) soldiers aren’t dying
    b) it wasn’t a mistake

    I think it stood out, because it’s easy to sidestep that question and throw it back into the President’s face… but Kerry didn’t do that, and I was disappointed in that.

    The fact is Kerry should have absolutely walked away with the foreign affairs debate, since that’s where the lion’s share of presidential criticism is focused. But he didn’t, so that doesn’t bode well.

  2. John

    Kerry did make it clear he felt we were misled into war, but we are there now, and we can’t leave until the job is finished.

    So while he and much of America might not like how we got there, there is a mission to be accomplished. Mistakes got us where we are, but it would be a mistake not to finish what we’ve started.

    I agree, he didn’t make this point as strongly as he could have, and as I would have liked. Its possible only those who were already his supporters connected the dots.


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