Now, a very great man once said
That some people rob you with a fountain pen.
It didn't take long to find out
Just what he was talkin' about.
A lot of people don't have much food on their table.
But they got a lot of forks 'n' knives.
And they gotta cut somethin'.
Talkin' New York
Welcome one and all the first Presidential Debate of '04, or as George Will described it today, "parallel news conference."
I'm sure millions will be glued to the TV this evening, especially those "swing voters." Those are the ones who can't make up their minds based on the facts, so they're going to watch these two guys go at each other and make their decision based on...what exactly?
Me? I'm gonna kick back old school with the radio and listen instead of watching. Two reasons for that. First off, there's a certain charming "fireside chat" aspect to listening on the radio. It sort of captures the glory days of American radio when the family gathered around to listen to the great events of the day bounced down to them through the ether from the Great Cities of the world. Oh, what times those were! Secondly...Well. I don't have a TV broadcast signal worth a damn here in Scottsville, and I refuse to sign up for the pathetic excuse of a cable company they have here (Hurry up, Cox! Or somebody...). The Lady and I don't watch much TV, which makes us insufferable visitors, staring at the cable, slack jawed like we're members of some post modern cargo cult.
Anyway. I'm going to sit here and listen and we'll see what happens. I'll attempt to blog this thing, but I'm half expecting my brain to explode at some point, probably the first time Kerry mentions Vietnam. So, with my reproduction Crosley cathedral radio and a nice glass of Chateau Cabezac Minervois, I'm going to get ready!
Oh. It's going to be 90 minutes long. Look out.
Gee. Kerry has a better plan. This should be good. Ah. A Summit. That will solve everything. Bush sounds better on the radio than he does on TV. Go figure.
Bush: "Constantly on the offensive."
Kerry is sounding shrill. He'd better watch out. That military endorsements thing was real bad. OH, that was close! "When I was in combat..." Not quite Vietnam, but getting there. He's stumbling.
Bush is hitting Kerry with his own record. "Pre-September 10th mentality."
Bush: "We're making progress." Good point on a many front war. Very true.
Ouch. Bush just crunched Kerry with the Allawi slight.
This is getting ugly. Excellent.
Kerry is getting seriously off message. This guy is a hot debator?
Bush: "The best way to protect the homeland is to stay on the offence."
God. I wish both these guys would stop whacking their podiums. Like a bad thumping bass line.
Kerry is making good inroads against Bush about the occupation. But there he goes again about summits again.
Bush is is hitting back pretty well.
And Halliburton! Ok. All the boogymen are out!
Bush is hitting Kerry hard on the allies issue. "They're not going to follow someone who's saying this is the wrong war at the wrong time."
Why does Poland end up being a tipping point in presidential debates?
Bush: "It's hard work." Well. Yeah.
Kerry is squirming on the "misleading" thing. Very subjective.
Boy, is Kerry giving Bush some openings. The Bin Laden line was bad. And Bush is exploiting it well.
The casualty questions. That's a rough one. Bush sounds like he's breaking up a little on that...
Bush: "Every life is precious. That's what distinguishes us from the enemy."
Kerry mangled the "Pottery Barn Rule" far more than Bush ever could. Hard to believe.
Kerry: "Maybe they're interested in our oil." Well, duh. How else does the economy run?
Yow. Bush just smacked Kerry with the Allawi putdown. This is hitting free-for-all territory.
What's with Kerry and outsourcing? This is stupid.
Kerry: "What do you need to join us?" Is he on drugs?!? He earlier said that he would never give another country a veto over policy. He just did.
Kerry is invoking DeGaulle. Sweet.
We're through an hour.
Bush is hitting hard on the ICC. Good.
This is a better debate than I would have imagined.
Darfur. Tough question. The African Union can prevent it if we give them logistical support? Man. That is lame. Kerry is trying to get out of answering this question big time.
Character issues? In a foreign policy debate? Well, Bush is being gracious. Kerry will go nuts like a pitbull.
Well. How bout that. Kerry was gracious, as well.
At this point, it's falling apart some for Bush. He's stumbling big time. All this nuclear stuff is very old school. Kerry drilled him on it, tho.
I'm calling this debate a draw, which essentially means a win for Kerry. Bush is sounding defensive throughout this debate. Kerry sounds smarmy as hell.
Ok. What to say here.
Kerry didn't change my mind. Bottom line. Bush sounds like Bush. His closing statement was his best moment of the evening.
I'm told by the Denevan that Bush looked horrible on the tube. Glad I didn't watch, I guess.
Well, that just about wraps up this edition of debate blogging. See you next time!