"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

The Debate

>> Thursday, September 30, 2004

My initial feeling is that Kerry got his points across better than Bush. Kerry still couldn't stop himself from contradicting himself from one paragraph to the next, but he looked good and confident. Bush grasped for words several times and had quite a few awkward silences but had a stronger message. Bush did get out several good points but I was yelling at the screen several times for Bush to point out XY or Z.

Bush had a chance to completely knock Kerry out of the race tonight but didn't do it. I'm all the more disappointed because Bush has so many facts on his side and Kerry couldn't spot a clue if you gave him COL Mustard and the Lead Pipe.

Kerry never made any specifics as to what he would do as he tried to attack Bush from the right. This position will shift a few of people in the middle, but he just lost the Dean and Kucinich supporters.

Kerry's final statement was about Vietnam. Go figure.

Bush made a strong finish! "If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift towards tragedy. That's not going to happen so long as I'm your president. We will continue to strengthen our homeland security and intelligence gathering capability. We will reform our military. It will be an all volunteer army. We will continue to stay on offence so we will not have to face them here at home. We will continue to build our alliances. But I will never turn over America's national security needs to leaders of other countries as we continue to build those alliances. And we continue to spread freedom. I believe in the transformational power of liberty. I believe that a free Iraq is in this nation's best interest. I believe that a free Afghanistan and a free Iraq will serve as a powerful example for million that plead in silence for liberty in the Middle East. We've done a lot of hard work over the last 3 1/2 years. We've had some challenges and we've risen to those challenges. By being resolute and steadfast and strong; by keeping our word; by supporting our troops, we can achieve the peace we all want." [TiVo rocks!]

Hugh Hewitt is a Bush supporter and a radio commentator. He has a good breakdown of the questions and answers in a grid.

Complete transcript from the debate

James Taranto notes Kerry's internal inconsistencies and lack of backbone.

Insight Mag on why Bush won

Bush won not only the debate but, in all
probability, the election. Senator Kerry stood up
well but, once more, he didn't say anything. In fact, coming out of
the debate, I'm less clear as to what Kerry actually thinks about Iraq
and the broader War on Terrorism than I was before I went in.

If he's to be believed (which is an open question) Kerry's foreign
policy ideas are potentially the most ruinous proposed by any
Presidential candidate since George McGovern in 1972. Senator Kerry
proposes an American foreign policy that is consistent only in that it
dovetails exactly with the stuff prescribed by the global elites.

Kerry's "plan" for Iraq is simply a fantasy. He's going to "call a
summit": and do what? Is the man so deluded to think that foreign
nations are going to deploy their troops to Iraq simply at his beck
and call? Because, if you take out the part about the foreign
nations, Senator Kerry doesn't really have a plan.

I'm convinced that, if elected President, Senator Kerry will manage to
buy as many African and Asian UN Blue-Helmets as he can and then he'll
flee Iraq at a greater-than-deliberate speed. His constant repeating
of his bizarre non-plan to have the French, Germans and unidentified
"Arab" nations step to the rescue (Jordan doesn't have an Army, so who
is he going to ask: Syria? Saudi Arabia?) simply reinforces the idea
that he doesn't have a plan to do anything more than sound minimally
competent enough to get elected.

Kerry also made a number of fundamental mistakes of fact when speaking
about the war and foreign policy which, I think, the Bush campaign
would be wise to mercilessly pound upon.

First, during the third question, Senator Kerry said that, "The
president moved the troops, so he's got 10 times the number of troops
in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is." This
is a potentially huge error, perhaps even a "there is no Soviet
domination of Poland" level error.

I don't think that anyone in the know thinks that Osama Bin Laden,
even if his is alive, is in Afghanistan. Even CNN's reporter pointed
this fact out immediately after the end of the debate. If Senator
Kerry wants to hammer Bush for getting Osama Bin Laden, he'd damn well
better, at the very least, remember which country he's in.

And this also, of course, wasn't a slip of the tongue: it was the
center of his entire argument on the matter, namely that Bush has,
"got 10 times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan,
where Osama bin Laden is." Except he's not there, Senator.

The second mistake, again, exposes a fundamental error of policy and
reality on Senator Kerry's part and it deserves some real examination.
It deserves extensive quotation:

"With respect to North Korea, the real story: We had inspectors and
television cameras in the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Secretary
Bill Perry negotiated that under President Clinton. And we knew where
the fuel rods were. And we knew the limits on their nuclear power...
While they didn't talk at all, the fuel rods came out, the inspectors
were kicked out, the television cameras were kicked out. And today,
there are four to seven nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea."

Senator Kerry misses entirely, and presumably his entire national
security team misses, the significance of the point that President
Bush then raised next when he said, "the breach on the agreement was
not through plutonium. The breach on the agreement is highly enriched
uranium." That bears repeating: Senator Kerry either didn't know, or
hoped the public wouldn't know, the difference between the two and the
mechanics of how North Korea developed its nuclear weapons.


Jerry 6:31 AM  

Kerry was smooooooth last night. Used car salesman smooth, the sort of smoothness you get from a guy who's selling you something expensive that he will have NO responsibility for once you drive it off the lot.

Changing metaphors, watching this reminded me of a cowboy movie, where the stalwart, honest sherrif gets supplanted by a smooth-talker - who's really in league with the bad guys getting ready to rob the bank. You're looking at the townspeople and going "Why are they buying this stuff?" as the smooth-talker works his magic. The sherrif's a bit puzzled, he can't figure it out either.

The smooth-talker works to discredit the sherrif, planting a bit of evidence here, rumor and innuendo there, 'till the people get to the point where they tell the sherrif they don't want him around. The sherrif goes but stays close by, catches the smooth-talker and bandits robbing the bank, and all is revealed. Then the credits roll, lights come up...

Unfortunately, the real world doesn't have such clear endings.


Jody 7:10 AM  

Jerry's comments are right on the money. Kerry was smooth. Too smooth. Almost like he knew the questions in advance smooth (not that I'm implying anyhting). I was bothered by the way he kept saying that he has a plan for Iraq but never detailed anything specific. Almost like "I have a plan but you won't hear it unless you go to my website "JohnKerry.com". Wait, he did say that.

Bush did finish strong. I thought his statement that the Army will remain volunteer was strong and hit Kerry in the gut of "the Bush administration will bring back the draft". I was also glad to hear him say that he will not leave uor nation's security to other countries, i.e. the UN.

Overall I think that Bush got his message across but Kerry had a better appearance. Democrats will be crowing today.

Doug H 4:28 PM  

Dick Morris hits my feelings too

Das 7:01 PM  

Doug and Jody thanks for linking me; keep up the good work

Anita 8:19 AM  

Agree agree agree!

One of the things that drives me crazy about these debates is that they permit a PBS newscaster to come up with the questions. So the entire debate became a referendum on Bush's performance. Where were the questions about Kerry's voting record in the Senate on issues of foreign policy?

They should create a panel of half Republicans and half Democrats - all with graduate degrees - to come up with the questions for Bush and Kerry. Finding a totally impartial moderator might be impossible, but I vote for Tim Russert as at least very fair.

Doug H 11:26 AM  

Dennis Prager has an excellent point, "Whatever your position on Iraq, John Kerry is your man."

Kerry made so many contradictory remarks that no matter your position, he said something to appeal to you. Dennis lays out many of the statements.

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

John Kerry is a person very smooth.In this story it shows situations he faced.In Iraq it shows how Kerry workout himself and showed that real world doesn't have such happy endings.


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