Friday, October 01, 2004

Presidential Debate

Jane Galt has a great narrative. Hugh Hewitt has a grade sheet and a transcript.

I watched the whole, dull, boring thing. My impression:

Bush is not a very good public speaker. He sputtered, stammered, lost his place and ramble incoherently. BUT, he did manage to stay on message, get a few good podium poundings and finger jabs and thwart most of Kerry's attacks.

Kerry is not a very good public speaker either. He rambled incessantly and on the few occasions where I thought he had Bush, he'd say something stupid like "global test." BUT, he also stayed on message pretty well and managed to appear more composed than Bush and definitely had a broader understanding of the issues.

In short, they both sucked, but Kerry sucked less by a very, very small margin. However, I think the "global test" and "simultaneous bilateral and multilateral" crap is going to kill him in the court of public opinion.

As the proverbial swing voter, I'm starting to lean towards Bush for four reasons:

1. Kerry is going to raise my taxes because he has a ton of new programs.
2. I like Kerry's Iraq goals better, but his plan is pretty much - I'm going to do what Bush is doing, only I'll do it better because I'm John Kerry/anybody but Bush.
3. Bush made a much better point on how to deal with N. Korea and I believe it.
4. The overall messages I got from the two candidates were:

Kerry - I have a deep suspicion of America with its nukes, its weapons, its preemption and its resolve to go it alone if necessary. Unless the world loves us, we're on the wrong track.

Bush - America is good, and while it would be nice for the world to like us, I'd rather be feared yet safe than loved and vulnerable. We are the greatest and strongest country in the world. I'll bring along what allies I can get for each situation, but I'll never let them tell me what to do or how to do it.

I like Bush's message much better.

I'll reserve final judgement until after the next debate.

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