October 09, 2004

Debate redux

Once again, Bush's debate voice was best characterised as "guys, you gotta believe me!" Not very presidential. Others have noticed, of course, and I just wish some of the more mainstream media pundits would point it out.

His debate face was a bit better this time around. Clearly, someone told him he had to stop smirking and looking impatient; almost as clearly, he took lessons in this from his wife, whose long-time approach to this is to appear utterly (perhaps udderly) vacant.

Someone needs to fill in W on modern computing terminology, though. I mean, "there's a rumour on the inter-nets"? Has he not used a computer in the last ten years? Heck, forget using a computer; I'd think that general media exposure, even for illiterates, would use the word "Internet" often enough that pretty much everyone but the mountain hermits would know it by now.

Kerry, for his part, seemed a bit restrained. He made a few good points, as with the "we did something they've been unable to do---balance the budget" line. However, there were never any really powerful zingers. In fact, he was handed two golden opportunities by his opponent, which he totally passed up.

Early in the debate, Bush made reference to Kerry's "global test", as we all knew he would. Kerry should have been ready, as soon as that was said, to start his rebuttal with some variant of: "Oh, weren't you paying attention the other night? I explained my global test then, but I'll revisit it now..." The spin of that whole thing, condensing a whole paragraph of explanation into its two least representative words, is an inexcusable bit of campaign 'strategery' from the Bush camp, and making Bush out as if he wasn't paying attention had every potential to be another "There you go again" or "You're no Jack Kennedy".

Later, in one of the last questions, Bush went on and on about his "Culture of Life". I don't remember whether this was in response to abortion or stem-cell research. But when Kerry got his 30-second extension, Kerry should have immediately dropped the proximate topic and ripped Bush a new one: "Culture of Life? Culture of Life? This from the man who supports increasing the use of the death penalty, sends thousands of men and women to their deaths with no plan or purpose served, refuses to fund any sort of realistic health care initiative for children, the elderly, or indeed anyone at all. Ladies and gentlemen, we can talk about a culture of life, but this man shows no consistent support for quality of life or even the preservation of life. Do not believe his lies."

Overall, though, I think the debate went well. Bush rambled a bunch, using the same old phrases we've heard before, and there was a fair amount of not answering the question on both sides. But the questions were excellent, and the moderator was at least somewhat good at pressing the candidates when they dodged a question. I'm not a fan of the "town hall" format where random people are picked and then they ask a question, because there's a lot of not-really-a-question questions and general grandstanding. But having an impartial moderator select questions from 200 or so written by audience members, that gives us the best of both worlds.

Also, I just noticed as my dog was sitting on my lap that some of his whiskers have split ends. So cute!

"People do what they want to do. Corollary: When people do things, it's because they want to do them. This philosophy saves me a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted on trying to figure out other people's motives." --Casey Westerman

Posted by blahedo at 10:16pm on 9 Oct 2004
You have to see Jon Stewart on crossfire. It is on the web, there is a thread or two on the dopes saying how to dload it. Posted by lee at 12:40am on 16 Oct 2004
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