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Oct 1, 04 02:44 PM

JK v. GWB

I think Kerry took it.

I said to a friend yesterday afternoon, "I think Kerry's going to look nine times smarter than Bush, but everybody will like Bush and his 'folksy' shtick better." But I think homey stepped up to the plate and rocked it.

There was a good 45 minutes in there when Kerry was hammering Bush on Iraq, and the President looked anguished, flustered; I thought, I can't understand a word Bush is saying! And not just for his verbal flubs per usual; he seemed to be on the run, ideas coming in and out of focus as he struggled to stay on message. I thought: If I can't piece together what the dude is saying, who can?

When the debate turned to arguments for and against bilateral negotiations with North Korea, both candidates veered a little too far into what seemed esoteric to me. Neither seemed particularly strong. And I thought Bush got his shit together for his closing statement. Also, I was bummed that Kerry didn't have his kids up onstage, like Bush did. (I think Kerry's blended family of stepchildren would look a lot more like America to America than Bush's party-girl daughters shoehorned into their roles as smiling offspring)

Still--those 45 minutes of Kerry being forceful, direct, rocking it on the flip-flop issue, clear, concise, referencing his war service but not grandstanding--a fantastic performance, just the thing. Bush's late gains were kind of like the losing team that scores a single touchdown when it's 28 to 0 in the 4th quarter.

I wondered if my bias was making me think crazy. But NBC interviewed a half-dozen undecideds in Ohio, and they all said: "Kerry seemed more on top of it." "Kerry really did well. "Kerry won." "Kerry." "Kerry." "Kerry."

I think he'll take it November 2. I think America is seeing the incompetence of the Bush administration. They may not love Kerry--many of the undecideds mentioned above remained undecided even after declaring Kerry the winner--but when they get into that voting booth, they're just not going to be able to endorse the Bush agenda.

A psych student friend of mine once told me: "The subconscious doesn't hear the negative." Hence, when a parent tells a child, "Don't drop your plate! Don't drop your plate!" The child subconsciously recieves a suggestion to drop the plate. I know that when people are telling me, "Don't blow it!" I'm more likely to blow it when they put it positively--"Succeed!"

So I was VERY glad that W kept repeating, "My opponent says this is the wrong war, in the wrong place, and the wrong time." Because I think the American subconscious kept hearing: Wrong War. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Posted by Mike at October 1, 2004 2:44 PM
Comments

To me, Bush had 2 or 3 real things to say and about 20 different ways to say them. All he could really do was call Kerry a flip-flopper, to which I think Kerry answered well. You could often see him lose his composure when Kerry said something he didn't like which was very telling. Ole JK was cool as ice in my opinion and Bush seemed confused as to who attacked us. I liked what Kerry had to say about the pre-emptive war issue. I'm not sure if Dubya's "I don't know what that means" defense was the best idea.

Faranji!

Posted by: Bassey at October 1, 2004 3:06 PM

Bilateral talks with North Korea are HUGE! For, like, two people, one being me, and one not being Fareed Zakaria, who was on ABC. I can't believe that Zakaria didn't get excited about the chat on bilateral talks.

Do people not know what "bilateral talks" are?

Posted by: DJ Kim Jong-il at October 1, 2004 4:20 PM

A friend of mine noted that Bush kept saying that you can't say that this war is wrong, but really Kerry can, because HE DIDN'T START IT.

I loved that Bush came off as a petulant child for a good portion. Like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one.

Posted by: Jen at October 1, 2004 6:10 PM

Thank Goodness, This shows Kerry can take it to a mentally incompetent 4 year old.

Posted by: The Bunny at October 1, 2004 8:31 PM

they need to amend the drinking game to include every time bush says "it's hard work." the sad thing is the sheep still love bush, and his spin doctors went to work while the debate was still airing, soothing the herd with bullshit.

Posted by: one at October 2, 2004 8:27 AM

as one said above, i definitely didnt know that "hard work" would be a drink phrase... (ELEVEN times, he said it... ELEVEN!) i know a lot of people who were playing a drinking game with the debates; some of the rules included drinking every time Kerry brought up Vietnam, drinking every time Bush smirked, and drinking continuously throughout any blank stares.

i, as well, am VERY glad that Kerry did as well as he did; i was somewhat concerned beforehand, because i knew that there was no way in hell that i was voting for Bush, but i also didnt like the idea of voting AGAINST something rather than FOR something in a situation as big as a presidential election. i would have done it anyway, for sure, and felt dirty, but i wanted to really hear what Kerry had to say, and really hear where Kerry was coming from, so that if i ended up voting for him (i live in Massachusetts, where i'd have the luxury of writing in Kucinich if i wanted, just to prove a point, and it wouldnt effect the outcome in the least), i'd feel as though i was voting FOR Kerry rather than AGAINST Bush, regardless of how against him i am.

i'm pleased that Kerry shined as he did.

are you going to be watching John Edwards vs. Darth Vader... i mean Dick Cheney on Tuesday?


-special-

Posted by: pete at October 2, 2004 2:22 PM

i think kerry took it also. and i was relieved.

i never even pondered the possibility that putting them side by side would expose bush's blatant ignorance. but as the debate began i remembered, oh yeah, bush is a moron. this is going to be awesome.

and honestly, i think it will only get better. this first debate showed senator kerry going toe-to-toe with the president of the united states. he was strong, clear, and to the point. and he made bush squirm. made the president of the united states squirm. very meaningful to me, especially with bush's constant attempts to remind america that he was the leader. the leader being pushed around and flustered by his challenger. oh yeah, squirming demonstrates strength, george, it really does. just keep smirking, its bound to work eventually.

also, i realize that in most of america's schools its popular to harass the smart kid. anyone who gets all a's cannot possibly be cool. which is why bush is so popular. he may not be able to pronounce nuclear, but he knows what it is, and thats cool. to hell with the stupid smart kids.

well, i say, swing voters unite. you know why you can't decide. its becasue your intelligence tells you that politics is dirty. it tells you that all of this heartless grandstanding is more for the candidates benefit than yours. it shows you the smoke and mirrors and the dwarf in the lower half of the saw-box. well, that may be true. but when your intelligence tells you that its time to voice your opinion. that its time to vote. for the love of god vote for the smart kid.

Posted by: rob from colorado at October 2, 2004 4:48 PM

Oh, and I loved the reference to the terrorists as "group of folks". Classic.

Posted by: Bassey at October 3, 2004 4:02 AM

Yes, "group of folks" gave me a chuckle, too.

Bush should have had his neice on stage with him. That would have been ideal for we Kerry "folks" especially since the girls mother Sharon Bush went on record on 20/20 the very next evening on how her newly ex-husband (Bush's brother "Neily") was with hookers in Asia, lost taxpayers millions of dollars through a company that was set up to help clients set up businesses in the Middle East, and recieved 60,000 yearly for being on the working for Crest Investments doing absolutely nothing.
This whole scenario is probably one of the reasons why the Bush campaign stopped digging into Kerry's family background.

Posted by: marie at October 3, 2004 9:04 AM