My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


A Third Approach

Tonight I had family business to attend to, so I was unable to watch the debate. Indeed, I was unable even to watch any of the post-debate spin.

Given those limitations, tonight's blogging is directly from my reaction to reading the transcript of the debate--I haven't even bothered to read anybody else's take yet. So it will be interesting to me to see if my take coincides with those of people who watched it.

First impression: the President hammered John Kerry tonight, and for two simple reasons. First, he highlighted John Kerry's record in the Senate. In fact, his attacks were so effective that at one point Kerry had to defend himself by saying "Well, again, the president just said, categorically, my opponent is against this, my opponent is against that. You know, it's just not that simple. No, I'm not." At any second, you could hear the word "nuance" starting to creep in. And secondly, it would appear that the President managed to connect with the audience, which, after all, was in the format he prefers best. On the transcript there are only a few breaks for the expository [LAUGHTER], but they are all attached to things the President said.

On specific points, I think we can close the door on the argument of the troops going without equipment; the President teed that on up and sent it back at Kerry's head with the simple "Why did he vote against the $87 billion?" On the judges, his answer was right in the pocket, talking about the Pledge of Allegiance and personal opinion. He could have even made his answer stronger by talking about Gay Marriage and about the Democratic blockade of his Judicial appointments, but I think he got the better of that exchange. And that interesting number that non-defense and non-security federal spending has been halted at less than 1% increases for the last three years was a number I'd never heard before--WHY THE HELL NOT?

Oh, and the President seems to have won the spin on the jobs report--John Kerry barely mentioned it in specific, and the President's response was effective.

By the way, is anybody else out there tired of hearing the John Kerry "has a plan"? And for the second time he directed people to go read his plan at the website. This is astounding to me--I always thought it was the candidate's job to sell his own plan with the force of his conviction and personali. . . Oh. Never mind.

All in all, I thought it was a very strong performance. I'll be curious to see how it spins out, and what others think of it. I am certainly heartened by the comparison to last week's performance.

By the way, did anybody else think it was strange for John Kerry to bring up baseball by mentioning the Red Sox? Hey, John--you're in St. Louis, and they have a pretty good club, too.

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