really, i thought the first one was a hands down blowout for kerry, this one, i know kerry is right so he's the winner. but i'm not sure how well that came across.
Depends on the spin doctors the next few days.
Bush was defensive or Bush was passionate? Was he living in a fantasy or giving us the harsh reality?
Kerry was consistent or Kerry was repetetive? Was he promising more than he could deliver or realizing the benefits of our American system?
I don't know, I'm counting this one as a tie. With the winner being determined by the post-debate spin.
Bush will get a lot of follow-up press just because he looked better than last time. ("Didn't the President look better?" "Wasn't Bush more aggressive and more confident?" "Did you see how Bush came alive with a live audience over that last debate?" etc) He made some good points but his passion may have come across as too much at times (even as rudeness). He did reaffirm his strongly held convictions and record of consistency (that it may be consistently wrong or destructive is beside the fact). He also did well on downplaying (or ignoring) the upper-class tax cut and hammering home the reduction of the marriage penalty and child tax credit. His missed opportunity was something he glanced off at one point...Kerry's experience. I think he might have won if he backed off the flip-flopper line a bit (because it's been done and more importantly, it was likely Kerry's whole preperation strategy) and suddenly started pressing the "where were these plans for the past 20 years?" bit while really emphasizing Kerry's abyssmal attendance and liberal voting record. If I were him, I'd have my team combing through records for Kerry's voting stances on specific bills and on his absences and start hitting him with a new attack he'd be less prepared to throw off come Wednesday.
On the other hand, Kerry did start doing a lot more to define the subtleties of his stances and start spinning that flip-flopper label into a deep-thinker label. He made some really good points (1 in particular that I liked and was caught off guard by, but I can't remember now) and I liked his stem cell rebuttal. I thought he came off as more whiney every time he tried to call Bush on the using of labels and as overtly pandering everytime he tried that "I'm for you" or "my priority is you" routine. (He'd better not steal my "I'm for kids!" poster ideas!) He also lost points with me for question dodging and answering questions that weren't asked (its AMAZING how many issues come back to Bush's tax cut for the rich, isn't it?) But he gained them back when he got more into specifics on some of his plans instead of just informing us that he had a plan. If I were him I'd prepare to be even more specific in the next debate and throw Bush off by flooding him with specifics. Why spend 2 mins making one broad point that can be refuted with one broad rebuttal when you could confuse the hell out of Bush by using your 2 mins to list 10 very specifc and very diverse points on you plan (while subsequently showing the people that you have a very detailed, well thought-out plan)? There's no way Bush, or most people for that matter, could refute multiple points covering a breadth of range and nuances in 90 seconds. Especially not on question after question for 4, 5, 6 different topics.
2004-10-08 11:09 pm (UTC)
My favorite question..
Was the one about "who would you appoint to the Supreme Court?" Bush strated listing facts as if someone had sat down with him and reviewed a middle school American history book.
Some of the questions were pure shit, though. The abortion question is not appropriate to bring up in a debate because it props both candidates up on the fence. And the (last?) one about "name 3 of your mistakes" was totally loaded, because it just sets up Kerry to list Bush's mistakes. What kind of debate question is that?
I *listened* to the first debate, and watched the second half of this one (listened to the first half). After the first debate, I was just depressed about the whole situation. Both candidates seemed to become far more similar than I realized, and I didn't think there was a clear winner. "The polls" said otherwise. After watching this one, I really felt that Kerry had a lot more moments where he had a good, well thought out answer, and Bush spent most of his repsponses being smug and name dropping (to prove that he's been president for the last 4 years...in case we weren't aware)
I did really like that the moderator for this one asked the same thing 2 or 3 times in a row after both candidates failed to answer the initial question. It amazed me how often they did that, though. They're in a postion where they have to defend every accusation that the other person makes. If one of them answers one question with an off-topic answer, it can throw off the rest of the entire debate.
Anyway, drinking while watching debates makes them more tolerable.
2004-10-08 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: My favorite question..
I'll respond to two things you said.
I think I'm the only person I've talked to that thought the 3 mistakes thing was a good question. If I had been asking that question I wouldn't have expected Bush to say "I think Iraq was a mistake", but he could have gave even one example of some human-like error he had made in the past four years, and what he learned from it and changes he made. And as the other Roy pointed out Kerry could have also said something in his rebuttal about how "in four years he can't come up with one mistake". Instead they just both predictably talked about Iraq and whether or not it was a mistake, again.
Kerry did a lot of name dropping too. In fact, possibly more than Bush.
I found myself laughing a lot during the first half. Then by the end just really, really hoping Kerry gets elected. It's funny how this election alone made me change my mind about whether I'd be content as a non-voting permanent resident (if I stay here long enough and ever get to that) without ever trying to be a citizen.
Bush did try the "where were you the last 20 years" approach briefly, but that kind of thing will take a lot more preparation than he did, because in the last 20 years (until Bush took office), things had improved pretty significantly in this country.
Was I the only one who was deeply disturbed by the end of Bush's answer and Supreme Court justices when he said, "Besides, I want 'em all voting for me"?
Was that just a flat indication that this election, whatever the outcome, was going to come back to the republican-seeded Supreme Court for decision? ..or did he just mean that he really needs those nine votes to swing the general election?
2004-10-09 08:33 am (UTC)
I think I actually screamed at the TV when he added that smug "I want'em all voting for me." It's sad that he was just saying it to be smug and buddy buddy with hte audience, but the majority of the people watching that weren't horribly offended by the statement, like they should have been.
For either candidate to say something like that would have been offensive and wrong. I think Kerry's rebuttal included a quote from a Supreme Court justice that said something about how a SC judge needs to be non-partisan, which was good.
But just like with Kerry's defense for "voting against 87 billion for our troops", I'm afraid that the nuances and differences between how government should and does work were lost on most of the people watching the debate.
Hi, I'm out from lurking. BTW, thanks for all the Rome photos. It's all very fascinating (so is the concertina posts too).
Anyway, I thought the first debate was hands down Kerry because Bush looked like a old ornery man. This one looked pretty even although Kerry did seem to make his points pretty nicely. I'd give it to Kerry on a close margin just because Bush left some wide holes to drive a truck through but Kerry just let them slide.
The question about Bush's mistakes was just as good or poor as the Kerry question to start off with about his flip-flopping. They both point to what is perceived to be their weaknesses.
I didn't like Bush arguing with the moderator though. That just didn't look good.
If Kerry won, it wasn't nearly as decisive as the first debate. If there was one thing that I was extremely happy to see, it was Kerry explaining that he voted against a bill because he didn't agree with some of the components of the bill, not necessarily the general philosophy. But the Bust team is quick to brand him. And he made sure he dismissed labels very publicly.
I would say Bush was definitely on the defensive for the early majority of the debate, but he started coming out of his shell and breaking out to say things that certainly appeared to be things he believed, whether or not I agreed with them. I think this gave him some strength; so I'd say it's a close tie with favor (in content) for Kerry.
Not exactly sure how I found your journal (maybe on Random? Just can't remember...), but I had to laugh just a little, seeing as how I'm 24, live in Texas and a computer programmer. :)
i thought bush held his own way better with this second debate than he did the first; he actually had numbers and facts this time around that he littered his arguments with...kerry of course did great, but he had the easiest chance to squash bush when the environment bit was brought up and it seemed he just let that one go...HE COULD HAVE MURDERED BUSH WITH ALL THE ANTI-ENVIRONMENTALIST BILLS BUSH HAS PASSED!! i was sorely disappointed!
Congratulations on the most interesting journal entry and responses for the week!
I watched the first debate with Heather, and spent alot of time covering my eyes, yelling, and laughing. I've known since 1999 that Bush was a mental lightweight and nothing more than a spoiled frat boy handled moderately well by the various evil brains surrounding him. What I was surprised by was how obvious Bush made that to the average Joe. I was nervous about Kerry's wordy, aloof tendencies, but he knocked it out of the park in debate one. The only way I would have liked it better would have been for it to be Dean in the debate instead of Kerry. :-) Bush sounded like a teenage girl in an argument with her parent.
For debate two, I watched with Heather and four like-minded others, and there was much yelling at the TV, as well as laughter at the aforementioned "Internets" comment and, of course, the "Need some wood?" comment. Classy. Bush cleaned up his act as far as facial expressions and repetitiveness in debate two, and he tried to use some "facts" here and there. This led to pundits saying Bush did soooooo much better. In fact, I saw it as another trouncing by Kerry. However, there were some missed opportunities for rebuttal, especially on the environment and on what mistakes Bush has made.
After much time-wasting analysis to avoid housework, I have determined that it all comes down to whether Kerry can win either Florida or Ohio. If so, game over. If not, long night on November 2nd.
I sure hope on November 3rd, I can finally feel once again like the next President is smarter than me. It's been a long four years.