Saturday, October 09, 2004

Fight in the town hall

The foreign policy half of this debate had me on the edge of my seat. It was like a fight scene in a good action movie -- I could feel the fury of the participants, I winced at some of the blows Kerry took, and I was excited when he struck back powerfully. I'd call that one a draw in absolute terms, though given that Kerry is still probably rated below Bush on foreign policy, that probably strenghtens Kerry a little bit in the polls.

Things went kind of loose in the domestic policy debate. Kerry won that, but not by as much as he should have. He should've spent his entire time in response to the environment question talking about the environment. And when Bush botched the last question, talking about how he'd take responsibility for making mistakes but not actually taking responsibility for any, Kerry should've called him on that. I don't know how palpable the disconnect between Bush's big talk about how he'd take responsibility and his inability to do so was, but Kerry really should've pointed it out, and then launched into his critique of Bush mistakes.

I was really happy with Kerry's response to the cute blonde girl who asked about abortion. He started strong, looked her in the eye, and ran the public/private sphere distinction that's familiar from liberal political philosophy. This allowed him to come across as a morally upstanding guy who cares about religion, and at the same time be supportive of freedom in the public sphere. Bush's last response to him on that question suggested an inability to comprehend the objections (health of the woman, incest) that Kerry had set on the partial-birth and parental-consent issues.

So I'm looking forward to the domestic debate now. That's Kerry's home turf, and I think he can hold it. People on Tapped have reported that the value of the "Bush wins" contract on tradesports has gone from about 61 to about 54 today. I don't think that big a swing is justified, but I do think we probably eked out material for a small gain tonight.


homer j. simpson said...

Kerry is a weenie!!!!

Dennis said...

And Homer J Simpson is a pathetic ass!

39 and resorting to Kerry is a weenie? Please.

Justin said...

I have to say, I'm somewhat disapointed with the post-debate reaction. I did not think it was in any way a "draw", as the conventional wisdom seems to have it. 50 minutes into the debate last night I looked at my watch and thought, once this thing is over, the experts are going to declare Kerry the new president. Bush seemed antsy, angry (at Kerry, at Charles Gibson, at the questioners, at everybody), and not nearly as good at responding to the content of questions/answers as Kerry was. Bush settled down somewhat late, and so didn't seem as bad after that 50 minute mark, but I still thought it was a decisive Kerry win. The headlines seem to be, though, that 1. It was a draw, and 2. Bush didn't shit himself, as he did during the first debate. That seems to make it a victory of sorts for Bush.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I'm wondering what most Americans thought about Bush's anger. Did they see it as lively, animated, and intense, or did they see it as unhinged and unpresidential? My guess is that more people saw it the former way, and those who saw it the latter way were probably in the Kerry camp already.