October 09, 2004

Bush Drastically Improved, Still Lost

from - smijer

I don't want to rehash what "everyone else" is saying. It's obvious that Kerry people think Kerry won and Bush people thought Bush won. That just means it was close enough to spin. The real test will be the next week as we see how the debate influenced undecideds and soft supporters. I think we will see that Kerry won.

One of my biggest beefs with Bush is this problem he has with his own fallability. I want to start with his answer to Kerry's charge that he didn't provide enough troops for the occupation and didn't heed Shinseki's advice. At a time when it is absolutely clear that there were mistakes in the post-war planning, Bush's response is to inform us that he met with his generals and put the question to them: "do you have what you need?" Kerry's response to this was dead on, but he should have prefaced it with the attack that goes to the core of Bush's weakness. "Mr. President, Harry Truman said the buck stops here. You cannot place the blame for your failure to plan for a post-war Iraq on the men and women in our military." Or something else that more eloquently expresses the fact that Bush was, in his subtle and conniving way, maneuvering to shift the blame for his failures to his generals. This isn't just a rhetorical dodge. Asking the generals what they need only makes sense in terms of the invasion. The occupation is a complex political process that is has to be handled by the state department and defense together. As Kerry correctly pointed out, the generals' job was to win the war - the Presidents' job was to win the peace. What with all the fluff that will be rehashed in the media from this debate, don't expect to hear too much more about this very important point.

Bush is a belligerent little punk at points during the debate. I have in my mind a picture of him charging off of his stool and talking over the moderator to tell us how it "denergates are allies if you tell 'em we go it alone". Why that was so important that he had to come out hands flailing to make sure we all heard it is beyond me. Kerry was calm and reasonable in his response, but he might have made it a point that the rest of the world, our allies included, already know the truth of the situtation. If I were Kerry (and had prepared for this line, knowing it was coming from Bush) it would have gone like this, "Our allies and the rest of the world don't need me to tell them how your administration undertook this operation. And they know that my criticism, Mr. President, is of your choices, not the cooperation that we have received from some of them. But,..." at which point Kerry would continue with his line about Missouri's troops being the third largest member of the coalition.

via Kos, Olberman has it right" on Bush's wood.

The point awarded to Mr. Bush in the thirteenth round is hereby withdrawn and awarded to Mr. Kerry, for the latter's enterprising hoisting of his opponent on said opponent's own petard.

Mr. Bush is also penalized three points for a truth foul.
Mr. Bush is further penalized two points for getting snarky while in the act of being factually incorrect.

Ok, so I did have to rehash at least that from what everyone else was saying.

I would have liked to have seen some specifics about energy policy from either side. I don't think "hydrogen generated cars" quite cuts it.

I loved Kerry's answers on stem cells, drug re-importation ("we took care of the safety" - succinct!), and abortion. I think that he was credibly sincere on the cultural and moral issues, and that is going to count with a lot of people out there who are uncomfortable with abortion, but who are equally uncomfortable with another four years of Bush's mis-rule. And, I think there are a quite a few people out there like that. Many of them will vote for Bush anyway, but some will start to feel more comfortable with Kerry after hearing his position.

Finally, Bush shows his true lack of humility or sense of responsibility by identifying his three biggest mistakes as being appointees. We all know he means appointing people like Paul O'Neill, John DiIulio, and Paul Bremer (among others) who have the temerity to publicly disagree with the President. Bush's biggest mistake in his own eyes is not appointing enough yes-men!


Posted by smijer at October 9, 2004 07:58 AM

Smijer, I credit you for writing about it at all. I'm still just shaking my head (and taking aspirin for the shout-induced headache Bush gave me). Even if I were a Bush supporter I would feel seriously unnerved by his increasingly obvious temper and petulance. Scary.

univar.jpg Posted by peggy on October 9, 2004 11:53 AM
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