DATE: 10/01/2004 08:21:00 AM
Bleargh - Sick today, so blogging will be light. I'm hoping it's not the stupid whooping cough that's been going around.
I've read a bunch of debate roundups. Most people seem to think Kerry won on style and the MSM are giving Kerry the win. I mostly listened to the debate, as I had the C-SPAN window minimized most of the time on my computer. I didn't see many facial expressions or any body language - just heard the messages. Overall, I still have to say that Kerry's message was self-contradictory and almost desperately "multilateral." His faith in the ability of the "world community" to do anything is touching, but will do him little good as president. Sure, he didn't stumble over any words and sounded "presidential," but didn't say anything of consequence.
Kerry's biggest error was saying future conflicts should pass "the global test." Bush's reponse to this was the best of the night, when he said American security should not depend on other countries. In fact, it was Kerry's only real moment - all the rest was bluster and B.S. It's pretty sad when Kerry has to pretend to be something he's so obviously not to win a debate.
The president had the advantage of knowing what he believed and it showed in his comments. His message was consistent and forceful at times. Put me down as one who thinks Bush will stay ahead in the polls after this debate. Gallup already has some evidence to prove it. The headline is rather hopeful in its pro-Kerry feeling ("Kerry holds edge over Bush following first debate") but few of the numbers, except for who won the debate, support that assumption:
Next, regardless of which presidential candidate you support, please tell me if you think John Kerry or George W. Bush would better handle the situation in Iraq.
Kerry - 43
Bush - 54
Who do you trust more to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief of the military: John Kerry, or George W. Bush?
Kerry - 44
Bush - 54
Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one better described John Kerry or George W. Bush during tonight's debate:
Agreed with you more on the issues you care about.
Kerry - 46
Bush - 49
Had a good understanding of the issues.
Kerry - 41
Bush - 41
Was more believable
Kerry - 45
Bush - 50
Was more likeable
Kerry - 41
Bush - 48
Demonstrated he is tough enough for the job
Kerry - 37
Bush - 54
So where's Kerry's edge? Sure, most people seem to think he "won," but trust Bush more and think he'll do a better job. This is almost a perfect repeat of Bush-Goer 2000 and Kerry's convention speech - the media will praise the Democrat to the heavens, and the electorate will shrug and support Bush. This debate proves once again that substance wins over style - Kerry may have sounded better, but that does little good when you have nothing constructive to say.