Friday, October 01, 2004

Debating the post-debate debate

The story that seems to be forming is that Kerry won and did a great job, but no one cared. That of course is total bullshit since we have yet to see an actual poll (and won't for several days). The NY Times Friday Op-Ed is really nasty to Bush. I'm waiting to see how pissed off Ann Coulter is at the Times for being so openly liberal.

Mr. Kerry found the most effective line of argument when he told the audience that "Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror" and that the president had "rushed the war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace." It is the strongest and most sensible critique of the administration's actions. Of course, it left Mr. Kerry open to rejoinders by Mr. Bush that Mr. Kerry had sounded far more warlike about Iraq in his pre-campaign persona. That's a fair comment, and one the senator simply has to live with in this campaign. "As the politics changed, his position changed," Mr. Bush said.

But when Mr. Bush jabbed at the senator with a reminder about his infamous comment on voting for a war appropriation before he voted against it, Mr. Kerry had finally found an effective answer. While saying he had made a mistake in the way he had expressed himself, the senator added: "But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?"

Yes, I think that answer finally responds to the accusation. Bush went to a gun fight with a knife and was surprised when his opponent drew his gun. Some other stories in today's Times show how well the spin war is going for Kerry. There's this one about the body language shown by Bush in the cutaway shots banned in the agreement.
Mr. Bush, who seemed to grow tired as the night wore on, repeatedly used the phrase "hard work" to describe the war in Iraq. Mr. Kerry repeatedly referred to his first-hand experience sending men into battle in Vietnam, and that seemed to unnerve Mr. Bush. The president said he understood that fighting was hard work and added, "I see on the TV screens how hard it is."
That's a phrase I want to burn into your heads. "I see on the TV screens how hard it is."Color me biased, but I would like it if the president didn't learn about how hard war is on people from watching TV. That's what I want you to think about on Nov. 2, "I see on the TV screens how hard it is." There is also Adam Nagourney's piece which was written in D.C. without Adam actually going to "Spin Alley." So I have to disagree with some of the way he has portrayed the debate and the responses given. But there are some important grafs I want to highlight.

And for much of the debate, television networks showed a split screen, displaying Mr. Bush often scowling and grimacing as Mr. Kerry challenged his management of the war.

When Mr. Bush was asked whether Mr. Kerry had character issues that should prevent him from becoming president, he sighed loudly as he referred to that as "a loaded question."


At one point, Mr. Bush said that he had gone to war in Iraq because "the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us."

A moment later, Mr. Kerry said: "The president just said something extraordinarily revealing and, frankly, very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said the enemy attacked us. Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaeda attacked us."

Mr. Bush looked sternly at Mr. Kerry and motioned that he wanted a chance to respond."Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us - I know that."

Lot's to read, I know, but some very important stuff. Kerry did a good job tonight of pointing out that Iraq is not "even close to the center of the war on terror." He probably could have done more, but all in all he managed to point out the "they" who attacked us was al Qaida and al Qaida is not Iraq. That is a very important part of the debate and Kerry hit on it over and over, reinforcing that 9/11 and Iraq were two different things (read the transcript). He even brought up that bin Laden was using Iraq as a recruiting poster. The best response Bush could come up with is "Osama bin Laden isn't going to determine how we defend ourselves." I don't want to drag this on anymore, this post is already very long, but it seems prudent to me to defend yourself in whatever way harms your enemy the most. It's late and I'm done for the night. It's been a pretty wild ride and I'm anxious to see how the coverage continues. Same bat time; same bat channel.


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