"Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." John 8:32

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Presidential Debate Deux

Wow! A great debate and a win for the president. Not just a win but a GOOD win. He was not perfect but he blew Kerry away on foreign policy and more than held his own with domestic policy. The atmosphere seemed a little more electric than usual with the breaking news of another memogate media bias at ABCNews. Would Gibson follow his boss's directive to favor Kerry? Overall, though, I thought Gibson did well as moderator. The town hall format probably favored Bush because his style fits better when he talks to people.

Key moments:

Iraq: While defending himself against flip-flopping about Iraq, Kerry says, "I always believed Saddam was a threat...but I would have used that force wisely. I would have brought our allies to our side." The president was able to come back with the "global" test and explaining how you can't build alliances by calling Iraq the wrong war at the wrong time. Great follow up. He also expresses his optimism about Iraq, historic elections in Afghanistan, and reconstruction. I liked Bush's statement about the GWOT being world wide the success in tracking down most of al Qaeda. The references to Saddam gaming the UN to reconstitute his weapons programs were perfect! I can just see old Kofi and Jacques cringing and scowling at that one!

World opinion: Bush emphasized his leadership and referenced Reagan's unpopularity in making the right decisions for Americans even if the decisions were not popular in Europe. So what if Europe thought Bush should treat Arafat like a leader? I am so GLAD that the president considers the International Criminal Court a pariah! A president should never make decisions to be popular in European capitals, regardless of popular opinion OR alliances.

Lies!: Geeez! Kerry apparently hasn't heard how his lie about General Shinseki was refuted by even the New York Times when it said, "But General Shinseki retired, and was not fired, although it is unclear whether he acted under pressure." It AMAZES me that Kerry gets away with this stuff! He is a pathological liar! Kerry goes on to blame the president about Iran and North Korea while expressing disgust that our own country would even think about developing bunker-busters. (Where's my upchuck bucket?) He says he would get tough on Iran but without bunker-busters that may incinerate biological agents he would make our military use harsh language since he has shown his disdain for all major weapons systems in the past. Bush had a question about the draft and hopefully, finally put any doubt about it to bed. I was hoping that he would also discuss how Democrats had authored the bill about the draft and how badly it was defeated in Congress. So how is Kerry going to add 40,000 regular troops?

Bush at a great moment: The president passionately defended the coalition. It reminded me of his great speech on Wednesday.

Domestic policy: Bush FINALLY gets to Kerry's missing 20 year record in the Senate, Medicare, homeland security, intelligence, and tort reform with cuts and non-votes at the wrong times. Again, Kerry goes to the plan! plan! plan! he and Edwards have. He also said, "I'm giving you a tax cut, and I'm giving you health care." Sorry, John. That dog don't hunt, even if the deer DID have 16 points. Bush did OK on medical costs & lawsuits, but cracked me up with the "most liberal Senator" line, saying Kennedy instead of Kerry. Intentional slip? Bush could have hit harder on Kerry's non-votes in the Senate but I was glad for at least a couple references to it. Bush also told everyone about the 1.9 million new jobs created in the last 13 months. Non-defense spending is rising less than 1% a year. Good information for the concerned fiscal conservatives.

More Lies!: Kerry's bizarre look-in-the -camera pledge to not raise taxes on families earning less than $200,000 per year. I'm glad Bush discussed Kerry's record about all the votes lifting ceiling caps and raising taxes. I hope he keeps that message up about Kerry's flaming liberal record...

Environment: Kerry endorsed Kyoto. The president defended his position about it by mentioning how it threatens American jobs, My friends watching with me thought Bush stumbled with this but I thought he handled it OK and held his own. His information about the forests and managing timber was good information.

Ethics: There were questions about stem cell research and abortions. No home run here for Bush but he reaffirmed his character by trying to emphasize life and ethics over science. Kerry goes on some insane comments about protecting a teen girls' right to not tell her father about wanting to abort a baby conceived by the father raping her. HUH??? Bush mentions Kerry's vote against partial birth abortion and comes back with, "You can run, but you can't hide."

Supreme Court: This could have been a great opportunity for the president to talk about the obstructionist attitudes in the Senate that blocks his right to appoint judges. He didn't do it. He did discuss the need to appoint judges that interpreted the Constitution and not make law. He cited about the need for judges to not do things like take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Kerry attacks Scalia and Thomas on the Supreme Court but says he wants judges that make totally neutral decisions with no particular political or religious point of view. Kerry won this on style but lied through his teeth. This election is a huge moment in our country since the next president will probably get to appoint two to maybe four justices. With Kerry's liberal record I am fearful of the the kind of decisions a Kerry Supreme Court would render.

The last question: What were President Bush's three biggest mistakes? Silly. A president that understands what real leadership is will not show weakness and admit fault to enemies around the world by answering a question that has at it's heart criticism of the president's foreign policy in a time of war.

Closing: Kerry did his talking points and his plan! plan! plan! Bush talked about the economy and finished with a good comment about freedom. Very believable.

Kerry still comes across to me as a pathological liar that knows how to debate and come across as someone that is slick and able to say whatever is needed at the moment. He keeps repeating sound bits and talking points even when they have been debunked. His ego and thirst for power will get a lot of us killed. I'll give him this: He has the style but he has no game. He's always saying "I'VE GOT A PLAN!" like it's some kind of mantra or something. It's almost creepy now.

Bush finally started to hammer on Kerry's 20 empty years in the Senate and his liberal voting record when Kerry WAS there. This seems to be a major shift in the Republican's campaign strategy. The "flip-flop" strategy made for good sound bites during the last few months but perhaps was getting old in the ears of the electorate. President Bush also has great ammunition now with the Duelfer report as it continues to digested and shows how wise the president was in invading Iraq. The president was also in command of his delivery and demeanor tonight. He did not look so tired and (thankfully!) was able to control his grimaces and pained expressions. Bush came across early in the debate a touch forceful but showed he was ready. As the debate went on, he relaxed a little and was able to interject some humor and connected with the audience. One of the best lines of the night was "I own a timber company? That's news to me! Need some wood?" Cracked me up and showed a very human side.

I'm looking forward to the last debate. Being about domestic policy makes it look to be Kerry's advantage but Bush tonight showed he can be comfortable with those issues and hold his own. It would be great to hear the president explain how home ownership is way up thanks to the record low interest rates. I really hope he hammers at the 20 year tax and spend record of Kerry to highlight the senator's lack of credibility along with all the missing votes.

The last three weeks of this presidential campaign promises to be a wild ride.

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