Thursday, September 30, 2004

Tonight's debate

Well, looks like the expectation-lowering machine of the debates, and especially of the Bush campaign, worked pretty well. Kerry carried himself very well, but we knew he would do that anyway, right? Being the master debater that he is.

Bush did what he needed to do: separate himself from the Swifties (by commending Kerry on his Viet Nam War service) and show Kerry as someone who can't lead because he sends "mixed messages." He brought up the myriads of Security Council resolutions against Saddam Hussein and correctly points out that another round would have been fruitless.

However, I think it's Kerry that came out on top. He needed to show the common thread of his talk about the "wrong war at the wrong time," and I think he did a pretty good job. He certainly has a long way to go in repairing his image, but he got off to a good start tonight.

It was good to see some discussion of North Korea and Darfur, though I'm not sure what is going to be done about Darfur. I believe that the U.S. is obligated under treaties to put pressure on the Islamic government of Sudan and possibly commit troops, but I still don't know what the policy differences are. I guess at this stage we shouldn't, though Bush did a good job stating that we were already putting humanitarian effort in. Kerry mentioned something about logistical support; it would have been nice to hear an elaboration.

Kerry is the clear winner when it comes to debate style. Given what I thought each needed to do, I give Bush a C (did what he needed to do and nothing more) and Kerry a B- (started doing a lot to repair his image as a flip-flopper, could have done even better).