Posted by: Jim | October 9, 2004

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Last Night’s Debate

My overall impression of last night’s debates was that it was, like the election, a dead heat. GW was less consistent, seeming at times practically shrill in his defenses, but at other times working the audience. For example, Kerry said he owned a lumber company, and Bush stood up and said, “really? That’s news to me.” Then he paused, and looked at the moderator and said, “Need some wood?” I thought that probably scored him some points. Although if it turns out he really DOES own a lumber company, subtract even more.

I thought the director might have been a bit pro-Kerry. Here’s why. When Kerry would say something pointed and accusing, the camera would zoom in on Bush (hoping for a scowl, perhaps?) But when Bush would say something DUMB, (Like “You gotta be right 100% of the time!”) the camera would zoom in on Kerry, giving him a chance to smile sardonically in agreement.

Here are a few other random notes:

1. Kerry and Bush re-enacted the SAME play as the last debate, ending with Kerry’s zinger “I made a mistake with words. He made a mistake with invading Iraq.” Did one of them forget that conversation prior?

2. Bush winked at someone in the audience. How statesmanly.

3. George Bush used the word “Internets.” Hoohah!

4. Bush first blamed the current deficit on the fact that we are in a recession. THEN he said that his tax cut at the beginning of his incumbency made this the shortest recession in history. Huh?

5. When the moderator asked Bush to stop, Bush didn’t and muscled his way into a few more seconds of grandstanding. When the moderator asked Kerry to stop, Kerry did.

6. GW tried to hoodwink all the stupid voters at the end of the debate. First GW accused Kerry of not voting against the partial birth abortion amendment. Then Kerry stood up and said it was because the bill did not make allowances to save the life of the mother, and that he could not vote for such a bill. This seemed like a damn good reason to me. Then GW got the last word and said, “Well you didn’t vote against the partial birth abortion bill and that says it all.” Not a snappy comeback, George.

Anyway, I haven’t read anything else yet, but it seems to me like last night’s debate was sort of a wash. What I did learn was that these two candidates differ on one primary world viewpoint:

Kerry sees the world as complex, resulting in more complex answers.
Bush sees the world as simple, resulting in direct, simple, declarative soundbyte answers.

If I make make a sweeping generalization, I would say the voters back the candidate who sees the world as they see it.

And I guess I was wrong. Nothing came out of left field from the Bush campaign.

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