Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog

Friday, October 01, 2004
First debate reaction.

I'm doing a quick breeze-through of this debate.  It's late, and I didn't get off of work until 1:00AM and didn't get home until after 2 (I had to stop by Walmart and get some stuff).

I was too busy working and trying to get in commercials during our broadcast of the debate to actually hear alot of it.  I'm watching the feed on right now, but I'm breezing through it.  I plan to have a more thorough analysis - question by question - of the debate once I get home from classes tomorrow.  But I'll give a quick reaction from the time being. 

Tonight, in a sense, was disappointing.  I know both Kerry and Bush wanted a lot of control in this debate, but I think it didn't work.  Now, Jeff Greenfield supposedly said this was the best debate in decades, and he's probably right.  But I feel there should have been more point/counterpoint in it than it was.

At the very least, Kerry came out on a better plane than Bush.  Not necessarily that Kerry won outright, but I think it temporarily stemmed the bad momentum that Kerry has had ever since the Swiftboat ads came out.

Bill Kristol had it correct in the post-debate analysis; Bush had a chance to put this election out of reach and he absolutely blew it.  And for a viewer like me who is politically aware and knows the deal on Kerry's positions on foreign policy, it's really frustrating.  I'm one that believes in the idea that simply winning is not good enough.  You have to make a statement as well, and make sure others think twice before challenging you again.  And Bush did not seem to have that killer instinct tonight.

Now, that doesn't mean Bush lost in a farce.  By most accounts it's a draw.  In fact, Drudge is reporting that CSpan caught Joe Lockhart said the same thing.  But that's probably a good thing with the Kerry campaign, as they probably expected Bush to come off better than Kerry in this debate.  And Bush should have.

As Bush quipped at earlier, there were some loaded questions, and they were definitely designed in John Kerry's favor.  And it was obvious that he wasn't adequately prepared to turn those questions in his favor, and he should have been. 

For example, when Lehrer asked Kerry about Iraq being a diversion on the War on Terror, Kerry claimed that Bush "outsourced" the job of capturing Osama bin Laden to Afghan warlords instead of our military, because we had them sent in Iraq.  That's a lie and Kerry knows it.  So why didn't Bush jump on that?  That was way too obvious and should have been criticized immediately.  Instead, Bush took a defensive tone on other things Kerry said.  And that wasn't the only time, as there was opportunity after opportunity after opportunity that Bush never took advantage of.

This was probably the first blunder I can think of by the Bush campaign in this race.  I really don't think they took these debates serious enough.  Had it been me, I would have had Bush prepped for these debates at least once a week since May.  I think he only started practicing for two weeks.

I'll have more about this tomorrow.  I have to get up in three hours.

Posted at 04:25 am by Expertise



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