October 4, 2004 [LINK]
Bush vs. Kerry: great debate?
It seemed pretty clear to me that President Bush did better than Senator Kerry in the first 30 or so minutes of the first debate last week, effectively underlining the key arguments, such as: Terrorism is the end result of hatred deliberately sowed by dictatorial regimes in the Middle East. Therefore, our security depends on changing their regimes. It's a simple, fundamental point that folks on Kerry's side tend to ignore. Bush also pointed out that if Kerry really believed in U.N.-sponsored international security, he would have voted to authorize U.S. military action in Iraq in January 1991 -- after the U.N. Security Council had already passed the necessary resolution. Bush also made fun of Kerry for saying he would meet a "global test" in deciding on foreign intervention, but failed to go for the jugular when he had the chance. (See Just One Minute (Tom Maguire) and Juan Cole for thoughts on what the "global test" might mean.)
It was just as clear that Bush got fatigued as the debate wore on and let his irritation at Kerry show, a major stylistic boo-boo. Both Kerry and Bush got very repetitive toward the end, but Kerry did much better in regaining his composure. Upon this very non-substantive basis, most people (at least those in the polls and in the media) picked Kerry as the winner. So, it's going to be a "horse race," after all. Video tape of the first debate shows that John Kerry pulled something from his coat pocket as he stepped up to the podium, a possible violation of the lengthy debate rules, which specified no cheat sheets, among other things. See www.boston.com, via Drudge Report.
Finally, just for fun, here are some recent ScrappleFace headlines:
- Kerry Battles Bush Without Plan to Win Peace
- Rev. Jackson Brings Black Windsurfers Into Kerry Camp
- Kerry Musters Coalition to Debate Bush
- Kerry: I'll Kill Bin Laden with My Bare Hands
Carter on Florida elections
Ex-President Jimmy Carter bitterly complained about elections in Florida in last Monday's Washington Post. He has become an expert in overseeing elections around the world, most recently in Venezuela. (Hugo Chavez owes him a big favor.) I thought the tone of Carter's piece was unfortunately partisan, another sign of the sad times we live in. Libertarian blogger Asymmetrical Information, "Jane Galt" (pseudonym referring to Atlas Shrugged character) offers a much sharper retort to Carter's insinuation that our electoral process has descended to Third World status.