Thursday, September 30, 2004

Presidential Debate #1

(For a more "expert" opinion on last night's debate, click on the title link. For my views, keep on readin'.)

All right. I got home from tennis, showered, put Ariel to bed, ate a turkey sandwich and got ready. Wait, the debate doesn't start until 9 pm?! What are they waiting for? Its not like the networks have quality programs to show. Let the civic drama begin!

Live from Coral Gables! The most rigid debating exercise possible! Tonight's topics of choice: foreign policy and homeland security. Oooh, right in the Bush wheelhouse! Look out Kerry, you're dealing with Bush on his topics in his brothers state--the American kangaroo republic.

The rules are extensive: 90 minutes of "debating" consisting of 2 minute answers, 90 second rebuttals and random time extensions for when Jim Lehrer decides to get crazay! And don't forget the time lights--green when 30 seconds remain, yellow at 15 seconds, and red at 5 seconds! A buzzer can be used if someone continues (Oh please use the buzzer once!) and if THAT doesn't work Al Gore stuffs you in his lockbox.

9:00 The candidates are introduced and Kerry gets big applause from the U. of Miami crowd. Take THAT Jeb!

9:03 Oh no! Kerry's first miscalculation. He actually sidestepped the opening question to be polite to the audience and start thanking people! Come off it K! You've only got 2 minutes! Stop being insufferably French and answer the question! How would you prevent another September 11th? Not by thanking the people of Florida.

9:06 Bush says that America is safer because Saddam is in a prison cell.

9:07 Is Bush trying to state that al-Qaeda is behind the Russian terrorists that killed those children? That's not true is it? All terrorists around the world are not the same.
He also says that America's best strategy is to keep on the offensive and keep spreading liberty. So are we offensive liberals? I thought that was the Bushies description of Kerry?

9:10 Kerry's first instance of name dropping this evening. The long list of military leaders that think he is a swell guy--much better than W. apparently.

9:11 Oddly neither debater suggests that everyone stop and observe a minute of silence here. A missed opportunity, I think.

9:14 Bush says again that "The world is safer without Saddam Hussein."

9:15 Yahtzee!! Both men get Osama and Saddam slightly mixed up. Bush corrects himself; acquits himself better than Rumsfeld did when he made that mistake recently and comes back strong with one of his tried and true phrases "We're making progress." But how do we know we're not making progress while fighting the wrong guy?

9:18 Kerry name drops again, this time highlighting various state names. Will that affect voter turnout at all John? Hmmm?

9;20 Kerry tries to scare the elderly, not by discussing Medicare, but by raising the specter of unexpected cargo containers . . . right here in Florida! Kerry is flip-flopper and a fearmonger! Also, the first mention of "nuclear" by Kerry. Will Bush flub his pronunciation? DRINK! (Turns out W. skillfully avoided the word)

(Throughout, Bush seems to be pausing quite a bit. Kerry seems to come off much smoother. You can see the gears turning in W's mind.)

9:26 Kerry name-drops Wisconsin. He also lays out the "nuclear" challenge again . . . will George fall into the trap? Additionally the second Vietnam reference by Kerry tonight.

9:28 Bush comes back in a 30 second rebuttal with "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." I'm just gonna copy that phrase, cause I think I'll have the occasion to paste it down again before we're through.

9:29 Third Vietnam reference by Kerry. First Kerry zinger--"I made a mistake talking about the war. He made a mistake invading." Kerry also takes this opportunity to name-drop Cincinnati (in the swing state of Ohio) and mention another military dude that simply loves him.

9:32 Bush, with his dander up, comes back with "What about Tony Blair? . . . and POLAND!!" and he then raises the rhetorical bar a bit higher with two references to "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." And also, I don't know if I have mentioned this but Bush thinks that Kerry is indecisive and is always sending mixed signals. And this just in, the war in Iraq is "hard work and everybody knows its hard work." And don't forget that a free Iraq makes the world a safer place. These phrases in a nutshell are the core of Bush's argument at tonight's "debate."

9:37 Dammit Kerry, you forgot Poland AGAIN!! You've completely lost the vote in Chicago now you idiot!
Hmmm, Kerry mentions nuclear again. Awwww! Lehrer moved onto a new question and the opportunity for mispronunciation is lost once again. We'll never get drunk at this rate!

9:38 Kerry refuses to use the word "lie." Is that the new "N" word? Bush says that "the only think consistent about Kerry position is that he is always inconsistent."

9:45 Kerry mentions Vietnam again.

9:47 Bush says that Kerry changes his positions, sends mixed signals, and apparently stated that Kerry judged the Iraq conflict as "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." Say THIS for Bush, he is doggedly consistent. On message? Yes sir!

9:49 Aw I don't care anymore. Stop teasing us with the word nuclear. It'll never happen.

9:54 Bush states TWICE that consistency is a good thing in a leader.

9:55 Kerry states again that Bush outsourced the effort to catch bin Laden

9:57 Bush gets a bit snippy when replying that "Of course I know that Osama bin Laden attacked us. Of course I know that. I was reading My Pet Goat, remember?!!

9:58 Second Kennedy reference made by Kerry.

10:04: Now for New-q-lur? No? Oh well.

10:11 We take a break from this regular debate to kiss everyone's butt. Basically the president (since he did it first) is saying "Hey undecided female voters, I'm a nice guy. I don't attack teenage girls in my political rhetoric." Bush admires Kerry, but apparently Kerry has send mixed messages. Bush also, apparently "knows how this war works." Since you helped get it started, I don't doubt it.

10:15 Kerry baits Bush again with another nuclear reference and also dangles his devotion for Kennedy out there for the third time.

10:18 Yes! Bush said nuculur, or something. But it was pretty anticlimactic. Oh well.

(Also, I would dearly love it if when there is a pause at the end of the red light, and before Lehrer says something else, for the candidate to say Booyah!)

10:26 Kerry's strongest Vietnam reference yet comes in his closing statement.

10:28 Oh dear . . . Bush says in his closing statement something along the lines of "If we show weakness, we open ourselves up for another attack." Paging Dick Cheney! And also, the soldiers work in Iraq is "hard work" and leaders should be steadfast.
Generally, Kerry handled himself very well (which he HAD to do). He didn't allow Bush to pull ahead with this debate and he went after Bush on important issues instead of ancient service records. Bush seemed too deliberate and not smooth in his demeanor. His pauses were uncomfortable for me and his answers seemed too formulaic. But will it matter?
10:52 In the most shocking moment of the entire coverage, Peter Jennings exposed his Canadian side while throwing a question to Newsweek journalist Fareek Zakaria--he said, I swear, "aboot" (that is "about" to Americans). That is the first time I have ever heard Jennings do that!

1 comment:

lulu said...

Nice commentary there, burb! Very zippy!