Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate thoughts

Kerry held his own, but came up with nothing new that I could detect. The "global test" meme could be his worst moment. He really let it be known that there's one thing he does believe in and that's the necessity for getting international permission before the US does anything to safeguard itself. That's the only time he showed any passion, when he was talking about getting the UN involved in all the conflicts of the world, as if they've ever done anything positive about any conflict they ever got into. He even had the nerve to mention "global warming" but didn't dare bring up the ICC, which Bush used to some effect. That could come back to haunt him and should be showing up in an RNC commercial - soon!

Bush hit all the right themes, but could have been more forceful about the connection between 9/11 and Iraq and the War on Terror. There was too much about Iraq. I thought Lehrer would have a little more imagination. Does he really think Iraq deserves ninety percent of a foreign policy debate? Unless - you don't think! - he was purposely trying to hammer home what a terrible job he thought Bush was doing. There really isn't that much to say about Iraq any more. And Kerry never did say in any detail what his "secret plan" was.

Overall, it was the War of the Stump Speeches. On North Korea, I thought Kerry stumbled badly by appearing to come out against the multilateral talks. Bush said, "That's just what Kim Jong-Il wants to happen" and of course he's right but I don't delude myself that anyone's really going to notice. On Iran and the sanctions Bush caught Kerry out with the comeback that they hadn't started on his watch and Kerry never replied to that.

Bush now knows that Kerry's a worthwhile opponent and with any luck can boost his preparation a bit and hit back harder next time. Time for the gloves to come off.
Pre-debate frenzy

So O'Reilly is doing his best to keep me from watching the debates on Fox. I just don't like the fake neutrality he espouses. Before too long that attitude is going to look so pre-blog! Maybe it will be a good thing when all commentators declare their allegiance before they start to pontificate. I find it very handy to have someone declared as a liberal. Then I can stop listening to him. I no longer delude myself that any liberal has anything interesting to say. I saw Instapundit on Kudlow and Cramer earlier. Thought he did pretty well, although the blogger segment was awfully short. Now Instapundit is regarded as neutral by most anti-collectivist bloggers like me, but he seems to have come to that position honestly, from his gut, not just to get people to read him, but to get to the truth. My only problem with that attitude is that he has not yet realized that liberals really do have nothing real to say. But he's young yet. He'll learn.

I'll be looking for Bush to stay steady and on course. He knows exactly what he has to say and how he needs to say it. Kerry, if experience is any guide, will essentially go in winging it, hoping to score points like a boxer who knows he's behind in the judges' scoring and can only hope for a knockout. I just hope they aren't allowed to recycle their stump speeches.