Okay, so if last night's debate was a portent of things to come, this election's in the bag. Of course I knock on wood as I say that, and of course I'm completely biased toward the Kerry camp, but I've got to say that last night Kerry came off looking intelligent and thoughtful and clever and poised and, 'kay, presidential while Bush came off looking like an petulant, eye-rolling, lip-smacking frattie who still - still - can't pronounce the word "nuclear." Kerry was concise and showed that he does, in fact, have a plan for both foreign and domestic policy; Bush spluttered, called terrorists "some folks" and couldn't remember whether we're after Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. And had this bizarre obsession with Poland.
Moreover, though, Kerry had the opportunity to really explain his policy. Bush has an advantage in that "stay the course, even if the course is wrong" can lead to quality soundbites that fit nicely into a fifteen-second TV spot or a newspaper sidebar. The thing is, life doesn't fit into soundbites. You can't lead a country with soundbite policy. Kerry's policy is a little more complex, dare I say nuanced, and harder to fit into a ten-second quote on the evening news. Last night, he had the opportunity to say exactly what he thought was wrong with Bush's approach to the war on terror and homeland security and exactly what he would do differently. And his plans are good ones. A lot of people have been wondering why they should vote for Kerry (outside of the "anyone but Bush" meme), how he'll handle the tough issues and why he's better than Bush. There's your answer, folks.
My fave highlights:
Bush's "Saddam Huss - er, Osama bin Laden."
Followed by his "[bin Laden]'s isolated. Seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice." Unfortunately, not the seventy-five percent in charge of kidnapping and beheading.
Bush's "You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can." Now, it's none of my business what he and Missy do in the privacy of their own homes, but I think this just reinforces the idea that America is being screwed by the Bush administration.
Kerry's "Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 would be like FDR invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor."
The whole Korea thing. Friend, editor, and slavedriver-in-chief Georgia made an interesting point this morning as we lazily stirred our coffee and tried to avoid getting to work. Why is it that we absolutely had to go into Iraq without any international cooperation, but as far as Korea is concerned, it's crucial to have a six-nation summit?
Poland. Poland, Poland, Poland, Poland, Poland. Poland-Poland.
Every single Bush stammer and long pause. Your president, live, unscripted, and unrehearsed. He's winging it, and it's hi-larious.
On a sidenote - I think that if you're going to be talking to the press after a debate, it would help to actually watch the debate. Yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Giuliani. The flip-flopper label doesn't work any more, if it ever did. You can't say, "Oh, well, John Kerry said that Saddam Hussein was a threat, and then he said he wasn't a threat" - it's all on tape, he didn't say that. Kerry said that Saddam Hussein was a threat, but that Bush went about addressing the threat the wrong way. You can't say, "Oh, well, John Kerry voted for the war and then said it was wrong" - on tape, didn't say it. He voted to give the president authority to use force if necessary, and Bush abused that authority. This isn't criticism, Rudy, it's advice - before you open your mouth, make sure they can't go to the instant replay and make you look like a big fat stupe.
Update - I'm not alone on this one. Via the Daily Kos, a whole slew of conservative bloggers who think that Bush was kind of lousy.
Freepers agree with me. Ew. I feel all dirty now.