October 1 2004
THE GREAT DEBATE: I don't think there is
any question that John Kerry helped himself with his performance
tonight. Just how much, and how much it may matter in the
polls is a different story altogether.
as a practical matter Kerry not only survived this debate
and avoided being knocked out of the race tonight by President
Bush, he'll probably emerge in the coming days with a reenergized
base and a few undecideds in his column. The early spin
among the punditry seems to be quite favorable for Kerry,
and you don't have to be a black-helicopter wingnut to know
that the MSM has everything they need to start churning
out Kerry comeback stories from now through the end of the
are such a strange ritual of style triumphing over substance.
I mean, I'm sure John Kerry passed a certain bar tonight
with many people because of his looks, his demeanor, and
his articulateness - even though to my mind he really didn't
articulate anything very substantive. It's like taking a
used car and giving it a new muffler and paint job so it
looks and sounds different than you remember. But if you
pop the hood you'll see it's still running on the same old
people are talking about Kerry's "global test"
remark in response to Jim Lehrer's question about the doctrine
of preemption. It certainly was a gaffe - or perhaps more
of a Freudian slip - and it may come back to bite him, though
I wouldn't hold your breath hoping the press focuses on
my money, this exchange was the most damning part of the
entire debate for Kerry:
Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I
made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the
president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which
believe that when you know something's going wrong, you
make it right. That's what I learned in Vietnam. When
I came back from that war I saw that it was wrong. Some
people don't like the fact that I stood up to say no,
but I did. And that's what I did with that vote. And I'm
going to lead those troops to victory.
All right, new question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry.
of Vietnam, you spoke to Congress in 1971, after you came
back from Vietnam, and you said, quote, "How do you
ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?
No, and they don't have to, providing
we have the leadership that we put -- that I'm offering.
do not have to have a PhD in logic to notice the egregious
contradiction here. If your view is that invading Iraq was
a mistake and U.S. soldiers are dying in Iraq (which they
are) then our brave troops are, in fact, dying for a mistake.
for President Bush, his performance struck me as a bit disappointing.
He was disciplined (other people call it repetitive), spoke
with conviction and didn't make any big mistakes. Still,
he's clearly much better at making his case on the stump,
and I thought he missed a lot of opportunties.
was not the only time over the last couple years I've found
myself wishing for Tony Blair to act as a stand in for the
President and defend the war in Iraq. Blair would have thrashed
Kerry so viciously they'd still be vacuuming up pieces of
him off the red carpet right now.
the final analysis, Bush had the stronger case based on
facts and substance and Kerry had the better performance
from a stylistic perspective. How this may affect the polls
over the coming days is anyone's guess.- T. Bevan
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