I know everyone is eager to hear my thoughts on the debate (sarcasm), so here they come. The debate has just ended, so I don’t know what everyone else is going to say, but generally I’ve been re-assured that neither candidate is right for me. When I hear them both argue about how much money they are spending or want to spend, it makes me violently ill.
My thoughts on Kerry:
– The “outsourcing” comment about capturing Bin Laden was a fairly cheap shot, and not witty enough that even Sharpton would consider saying it.
– He spent a lot of time trying to explain how his viewpoint on the war was consistent – I think with moderate success. He did spend so much time explaining himself that it almost came off sounding negative, though.
– After being beaten up by fellow veterans about Vietnam, for some reason he still insists on bringing it up frequently.
– He is clearly a better speaker than Bush.
– He made a great point in attacking Bush for saying that, knowing what he knows now, he would have done things exactly the same. I would think that even if Bush was trying to keep the troops’ spirits up, he’d at least concede that something really should have been done differently.
– Not sure if it’s totally accurate, but the argument about Iraq being more of a terrorist haven now than it was before is pretty damaging. Bush did little to disprove that.
Thoughts on Bush:
– A local political radio host said earlier in the week that the expectations of Bush doing well in this debate were so low, that the only way he would fail to meet them is if he “picked his nose and ate it.” Since that didn’t happen, I guess it’s safe to say he at least lived up to expectations.
– By pretending to take notes when Kerry spoke (I watched the NBC feed which showed the split screen and reaction shots) I think that was more appealing than some of Kerry’s reactions. Definitely better than watching Kerry’s phony, exaggerated smile.
– He overemphasized the “Wrong war, wrong time” line to the point where I believe he used it to rebut an unrelated argument.
– I thought he gave an excellent answer to the question of whether or not the war was “worth it” with regard to lost lives. It was poorly delivered (as is most of what Bush says) but it had good substance and in the end he gave a clear answer – “yes.” Kerry’s rebuttal pretty much allowed him to skirt that question and he did not provide a yes/no answer.
– His arguments about America making their own decisions about defense and treaties (like the international court thing) appealed to me, and I think were somehwat damaging to Kerry.
In general, I think they spent too much time bickering over details. Bush got 75% of Al Qaeda, but not UBL. Kerry wants bi-lateral talks with Korea and Bush doesn’t. Both felt it was America’s duty to disarm Saddam. Both love spending money. Both are pro-troops (as is mostly everyone). Whoop-dee-do.
I don’t think the debate had a pure winner, only because of the topic. If the next debate is about social issues I think that will be more interesting. I think Bush will have a tough time with that.