Friday, October 01, 2004

My No-Spin analysis--Debate a Tie But Neither Scored Substance Points

Before I start my spinning--I think I'll try to give a no-spin, objective look at the debate last night. I'm told by book publishers that America is so fractured I must choose between Michael Moore and Anne Coulter--there is no reasoned middle--so this may be not well received--but several journalists--including Dan Rather's heir-apparent and the BBC agree with me.

Truly no-spin, the debate itself was a tie. Senator Kerry started off strong, kept on message, and didn't come across as some tin-foil fanatic like some of the left-wing crazies that flock to the democratic party like a pack of vultures on road kill. President Bush started off slow, kept on message and finished well. For all the attacks and slander he has endured, he gave another "presidential" performance.

Senator Kerry scored surprisingly well on style. His haughtiness, arrogance and aloofness were not evident. He attacked and made some good points without sounding like a hormonal 16-year girl with a bad period like many of his supporters do. I think the critical thing Senator Kerry did last night was come across as reasonable and non-threatening. I may be the only republican to say this--but he actually was likeable. We will see what the polls say but I think the debate last night will increase Senator Kerry's stature--which will (at least in the short-term) erase a big part of the 6-10 point lead the President has been enjoying.

President Bush succeeded on style as well. He is everyman's president--the guy who remains steadfast and true to his convictions--a realistic leader for hard times. Even when I disagree with him, I like him and trust him.

The tragedy in these debates, and in the entire political campaign process, is that there was very little of substance presented from either side. Both droned on with "message" the entire litany of soundbites that will permeate the media for the next 34 days and tell us precious little about what either of them will actually do. They end up bashing each other and leave anybody who is really trying to make a reasoned decision--wondering what the vote will really mean.

The two big issues on the night--Iraq and homeland security give perfect examples.

I happen to agree with Senator Kerry that the war in Iraq was ill-advised. We should have dealt with North Korea and Iran next--because as they both said--nuts with nukes will be the number one problem for the person living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the foreseeable future. The problem senator Kerry has--is that he so politicized Iraq--calling it a "diversion, colossal failure," etc that I don't know how I could vote for him--because every word he has spoken will be thrown up by the world press--and how do you think the troops will feel about having a commander-in-chief that blasts the war in which their friends are dying? How do countries like the UK and Italy feel about Kerry mocking the coalition? How will the Arab world use his comments against us? In short, in trying to be political, the Senator has limited his options if he were elected.

On the other hand, President Bush has fallen short on Homeland Security. He refuses to get control of the borders, explain the realities of treating terrorism as a counter-intelligence rather than a law-enforcement issue and what that means domestically (profiling-spying on citizens-proper airline security-being honest about the Islamist threat within America) Unfortunately, the tremendous cost of the war and insurgency in Iraq is diverting resources and energy from homeland security. We are one major al Qaida strike away from many of these liabilities to be exposed.

On the other hand, Kerry is supported by all the left-wing nutcases like the ACLU, senile Jimmy Carter, all the anti-war, anti-military, anti-intelligence groups that truly don't get how 9/11 has changed things. I fear he may do even less for homeland security. In the end, politics drives both of their responses and a major attack will expose them both.

Before my spin starts, I call last night a draw.
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