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Bush's Slogan For Debate #2 - "At Least It Was Closer"

A few overall thoughts: Was anyone else interested in Bush’s blue tie? Red is the power color – people made comments that Edwards maroon tie wasn’t as powerful and strong as Cheney’s red one. So why does Bush go blue? Because it’s a calming color, and then maybe people would ignore if his face started going crazy again?? I mean, if he wanted to go truthful, it should have been purple. Ever notice that purple was the color of the evil stepmother/queen etc in all fairy tales? Bush does better with the town hall format than the first. He has people to talk to. With the debate, he just talks to Kerry and that gets him rattled easier. I think that Bush did better than last debate. (I know, hard not to, he had lowered expectations so much.) Even though his responses is just the same stuff over and over. Nothing new. Absolutely nothing substantial. Even in a debate, as the incumbant, he spends more time attacking Kerry that lauding his own record. Gee, I wonder why... Whenever NBC went to a split screen when Kerry was talking, Bush was clenching his jaw. Or biting his lip. Shaking his leg. Or winking at the camera. Yeah, that is MUCH better than the scowling. Putz. (Though Bush did get points from me to making fun of his scowling. I so enjoy the self-deprecation.) Though if I had to hear Bush laud the Patriot Act one more time, I was moving to Canada. And WHY did the moderator continue to let Bush talk w/o granting him the time or overall break the rules? That annoyed the shit out of me!! Does anyone else think with these two guys leaping out of their stools, they just really want to put on the boxing gloves and go at it with each other. I would pay-per-view to see that. (Speaking of I hear that Fahrenheit 9/11 is going to be on pay-per-view the night before the election.) I did have a point though – why not allow the candidates to really debate? To comment to each other. To argue with one another. None of this ole bullshit. I think that Kerry took this debate as well, but Bush didn’t kill his reelection hopes with his performance. He didn’t look incompetent, like he did after the first debate. I think he lost the debate, but Kerry is a smarter, more skilled debater than he is. Bush lost the first debate; Kerry won the second. Bush’s whineyness was getting to me. With almost every answer. I’m supposed to think this guy can be president when he sounds like a child when you just took away his doll?

And now some specifics. All the questions, some of the answers. Mostly just impressions though.

First question to Kerry deals with him as wishy-washy. Kerry doesn’t appear to be discussing himself at all, going into Bush and WMD and no child left behind and the jobs. I have no idea what he’s talking about with respect to this question. I liked the “You can be certain and still be wrong” of last week, personally. Bush "I can see why people think he's wishy-washy. He is." Good line. I don’t think that it is necessarily true. But as new evidence comes in or when it is apparent that something is not working, you better change the strategy. (Note to OSU: Zwick should not start today…) but the point is, it’s a good soundbite. Keep in mind the short attention span of your audience…Bush played that card well. Not on substance though. Still weak there.

Second question to Bush about the president's belief that war was justified even without WMD. Bush goes into a flashback clinch to the first debate and the "Global Test" line. Again, just going with the superficial soundbites, not with the actual truth or accuracy is Bush’s strongest suit in this reelection.

Kerry’s third question asks if he would use same plan as Bush in Iraq. Kerry quotes a few Republicans. I think this is a good strategy, especially early in the debate. When Kerry quoted Bush’s daddy last week, Bush was thrown and pissed and had no response. Good strategy to try to unsettle him early. That’s actually a smart move. This time it didn’t work, but it was a valiant effort. Kerry lays out his plan and Bush comes back and calls it the Bush plan. But anything involving other countries – Bush can’t get the international community’s support because of his actions already. For those who understand that, they understand the difference. I think that most people in the US are stupid though. Bush again turns to “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.” Kerry responds that the right war was Bin Laden and there were no WMD. Bush replies “hey, we thought they were there, you thought they were there.” That’s seems to be his theme tonight. Whining, “you thought so too….” Ugh.

Bush’s fourth question concerned her family’s anti-American feeling they experienced when abroad. Bush lists a bunch of decisions that were unpopular and necessary. Kerry goes back to last weeks “more of the same" superficial soundbite – even though that IS what Bush is unapologetically offering. I don’t like just the superficial soundbite stuff - from either candidate. Kerry quotes Bush from 2000 only going to war if there was an exit strategy and points to all the reports that there isn’t one and calls him a bloody liar. Ok, he didn’t. His words were much more … politician-y. But the point was there. Bush broke his word. And Bush is clenching his teeth again. Shaking his leg. He SO wants to go punch Kerry in the mouth…

Kerry’s fifth question asks about Iran's nuclear threat. Kerry first says "I don't think you can just rely on U.N. sanctions," which is ironic with his statement concerning Iraq. He then blames the president for inattention to Iran. (There’s a slogan for ya. “How many countries can Bush invade, all at the same time? Give him four more years and find out.”) Bush clenching teeth again. Seriously, does this baffoon think it isn’t noticeable? Wait, is Bush WINKING now?!? What the heck? I’m so intrigued by Bush’s facial impressions (not scowling, but just…grinding teeth, biting lips and winking) that I am not even sure what Kerry is saying. HA! Bush starts his response by saying, “that answer almost makes me want to scowl.” He gets laughs, he connects with the audience, and without saying anything of substance. Yeah, that seems like Bush. All style and no substance.

Bush’s sixth question concerns the prospects of a draft. Bush mentions “the internets. He says something about replacing troops with unmanned vehicles to save "manpower and equipment." Now, I’ll admit that I don’t know if that’s even possible, but really, that wouldn’t save equipment, would it? Wouldn’t you need MORE equipment? He categorically says no draft. Am I just cynical? I don’t see how that is going to be possible, for Kerry or for Bush. Bush says that the all volunteer army works, but they have stopped letting people OUT when their service time is up b/c they have not enough people to replace them. How is that working? Kerry starts listing military leaders who support him. Now he mentions the backdoor draft and says that his military policy most resembles a couple of Republicans, Reagan and Eisenhower. Bush jumps off his stool and starts to yell. The moderator tries to get in another question but Bush tells him he has to be able to respond, the moderator is trying to redirect the question and Bush just cuts him off and starts talking. This is really annoying watching Bush just break the rules without penalty again and again, yet really funny at the same time. Bush is completely out of control. Way to go, Commander in Chief. Wait? BUSH MENTIONS POLAND? HAS NO ONE TOLD HIM POLAND ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK THAT POLAND IS PULLING OUT?? Well, if Bush was unaware of it, he can’t be now. Kerry told him in response.

Kerry’s seventh question asked whey have there been no terrorist attacks domestically since 9/11 and how will he keep it that way. Kerry stumbles on Bush’s previous quote that it is "not a question of when but if." Oops. That’s a Bushism. Kerry goes to the lack of intelligence stemming from lack of international cooperation – this is a really important thing, the lack of international cooperation that Bush is capable of receiving, but I fear that not enough Americans understand it. Kerry brings up bag x-rays but not cargo x-rays on airplanes again (I thought this was an excellent point last week as well, but probably over the heads of most people, who don’t WANT to think of OTHER ways terrorists can hurt them and would rather focus on the SAME things happening again.) He ties the weaknesses in security to Bush’s tax cuts going to him, Bush, and the moderator. Bush is clenching his jaw, jiggling his leg, and winking all at the same time. Seriously, is he having a seizure on stage?? Bush goes back to Kerry’s 1993 vote to cut intelligence. (If we are looking in the past, we should be able to hear about Bush’s 1972 cocaine arrest, and 1976 drunk driving arrest, which was off limits even in 2000.) Kerry is shown smiling wryly. He should be careful. That may come across as "this guy is an idiot." I mean, he IS, but so is a lot of the American public. Please don't go Gore on me! Bush goes back to the how can you when the war on terror if you think it's the wrong war, wrong place, wrong time comment. Ugh.

Bush’s eighth question concerns him blocking importation of cheaper drugs from Canada. It's AMAZING that Canadian drugs don't kill Canadians who take them, huh? And did he just say that you may hear in December that he will flip flop? (Bush says he doesn’t want drugs from Canada coming from third world countries.) One of the best lines of the night. When Bush was whining about all the things that Kerry hasn’t done, Kerry comes back with, “We did something you don't know how to do: balance the budget." Sweet.

Kerry’s ninth question asked about Edwards as his VP if he is pro medical rights. Kerry points out that Edwards authored the Patients' Bill of Rights. Bush says that Kerry was the most liberal senator which was hard with that bunch. First, I’d respectfully disagree with the latter half of that sentence. Second, I was fairly certain that was Teddy Kennedy, who is a DIFFERENT Massachusetts Senator. But even if I’m right, that doesn’t matter. These undecided voters are undecided this long, you really think they are paying close enough attention to the election to check to make sure stuff is accurate. And THESE are the people deciding the next president. So Bush gets a point for making the term “liberals” seem dirty. Kerry notes that Bush is trying to scare people with labels, and asks what "compassionate conservatism" means, and lists all the evils of Bush/Cheney’s administration. Well, not all of them, or else the debate would still be going on. But I think he made a strong point, and turned Bush's comment around on him. I wonder if he was expecting that, or if he just thought that quickly. He is a skilled debator and can think on his feet faster than Bush.

Bush’s tenth question asked a question I didn’t wholly follow, concerning the Republican majority Congress and why he hasn’t vetoed spending plans not approved by the American people. I think that the reason that I don’t understand the question is that Bush started talking about the war and homeland security. He says something about the tax cuts and I THINK he said the word “depression" but maybe it was recession? Anyway, Kerry is smiling again as he writes down stuff. Bush seems winded, but mentally (ok, a game of checkers would do that) AND physically. Seriously, is he ok?? Because Cheney is charge scares the shit out of me too. Kerry is going back to health care. That seems unrelated. Ahh, here’s what I want. Bush took the huge surplus and turned it into a huge deficit. He says it’s the first tax cut ever during a war b/c you can’t realistically do both. Is that true?? I don’t know. If it is, it’s a point. Hell, it’s probably a point either way. The moderator asks a follow up question to Bush about how to cut the deficit without retrenchment, and Bush is back to how he was the first debate, pissed off because he is being questioned. He says that the recession was one of the shortest in history. Wait, this recession is over?? Seriously? Bush says this with a straight face??

Kerry eleventh question asks Kerry to swear to the camera that he won't raise tax burdens to families making less than $200,000. “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Ugh. Kerry does. Dramatic, but probably a mistake. What bothered me about the question is that Bush couldn’t ask or challenge Kerry to do so. Nor, I believe, can the moderator. So why can the moderator choose a question where the questioner can? This seems to break the spirit, though not the letter, of the rule. (ETA: Hardball guesses that next election – 2008 – that will be a rule). Kerry starts quoting McCain. Again going for the Republican quotes. I like the strategy. It was rather effective and rattled Bush the first debate. Bush is off his stool talking before Kerry even stops talking. He keeps saying, “it’s just not credible.” He’s got a whine to his voice that isn’t going to play well to the public – this is the president, not a whiny spouse. You want to respect him. He sounds like a child. I can just about hear, “na-uh. You’re lying.” It occurs to me that Bush did well in the debates against Gore in 2000 because he didn’t have a record to be attacked on. The “better to be certain than right” Bush can’t stand to be questioned on decisions that he made. Did he seriously just ask if his time was up?? Umm…you have those lights. Aren’t there where you can see them? I would expect so, but maybe I’m wrong.

Bush’s twelfth question concerns his record as environmentalist. Right here my friend called me b/c Boston just made the ALCS. I vaguely heard Bush just list stuff. I vaguely heard Kerry say something about the Red Sox. (The timing of my friends call is certainly ironic) And I heard Bush say something about the air quality being better.

Kerry’s thirteenth question asked about America remaining competitive in manufacturing. Kerry starts talking about health care?? WTF? I’m still on the phone, so maybe I missed something? He talked about outsourcing as well. Bush just appears to make a joke about not knowing he owned a timber company. Everyone laughs, so he does the joke again. And again. He’s definitely connecting with the audience. I’m not sure why he brought it up – did I miss Kerry say something? Oye, I need to be not on the phone. Besides, I thought the big joke after Cheney’s comment was that due to the $84 interest Bush had, he was a “small business” that Cheney was said would be unfairly taxed.

Bush’s fourteenth question concerns citizens' rights inherent in Patriot Act. Bush doesn't think that my rights are being watered down by the patriot act? Is he serious?? Kerry says he’s been consistent in wanting to revise the Patriot Act and points to other Republicans who also think that it needs to be revised. Shot on Bush grinding his teeth as Kerry is listing all the REPUBLICANS who think that Bush is making mistakes. It’s not as obviously effective this time, but the quoting of the Republicans against Bush is clearly a winning strategy. This is just as great as the scowling. Does he think we don’t notice? He’s been either biting his lip or grinding his teeth all night. And shaking his leg. Does he have ADHD?

Kerry’s fifteenth question concerns stem cell research. Kerry is really offtrack here. He is clearly flustered by this question. He’s fumbling around. He sounds like Bush generally does. I can’t even figure out why. He starts dropping names though. Nancy Reagan, Michael J. Fox. That might gain favor with these undecided people. Chris Reeve! Superman!! Rule!! But ultimately, a weak answer. Luckily, Bush makes no sense either. He has funded it, but he had hard decisions to make and so you can’t do it but you can sometimes? I am lost. Kerry must be too – he points out that Bush is saying yes and no. Bush jumps up before Kerry is done – AGAIN! Why the hell are you the moderator if you aren’t going to do anything to stop it? Anyway, Bush actually explains what the heck me meant. What he’s allowing have already been destroyed so it’s not allowing the destruction. A thin line – but at least I know what the heck he means.

Bush’s sixteenth question asks who he'd appoint to Supreme Court. Bush ain’t telling. He wants strict constructionists. These individuals are also known in some circles as “psychics who would charge $2.99 a minute anywhere else for knowing exactly what was in the framers minds 200+ years ago.” Or maybe that’s just my circle. Whatever. He mentions the judges in Cali who decided the “under God” case. Then he says not someone who voted for Dred Scott. Is Bush SERIOUS?! The case was in 1857. Can you even imagine?? I would HOPE that the racist perception of 150 years ago isn’t someone you’d want to be making decisions. But then again, saying he wouldn’t appoint that judge is easy b/c they are all dead asshole. He kinda messed up what the decision actually held. He says that they upheld slavery by reading into the Constitution and saying slaves were personal property. Actually, Dred Scott was before the 14th Amendment was passed in 1866. Score to Kerry for saying that the Supreme Court IS at issue in this election. That is actually my greatest fear. Kerry mentioned Bush’s quote. "What we need are some good conservatives" on the bench and pointing out that Scalia and Thomas, two of the worst judges imo, are Bush’s favorite justices.

Kerry’s seventeenth question apparently wanted a guarantee that the questioner’s tax dollars would not go towards funding abortion. The courts have already said you don’t have a right to say you don’t want your tax dollars going towards something you don’t support. Despite that, Kerry’s pretty weak on the answer. I am not even really following him. Bush comes in attacking – he can’t say he doesn’t know b/c he voted against parental notifications and against partial birth abortions. However, Kerry returns – his rebuttal is better than his initial answer. You need exceptions always. The health of the mother. The teenager whose father raped her and is pregnant should not have to tell her father that she wants an abortion. Even many pro-life individuals would support those exceptions, and Bush’s extreme examples managed to let Kerry skate over the fact that he actually is pro-choice. Bush made a strategic mistake there.

Bush’s final question asked three instances where he made a wrong decision and how he corrected them. Bush refuses to name a single mistake. Then again, this is the same person who said that he didn’t make any mistakes not that long ago. Kerry asks “Gut check time. Was this really going to war as a last result?" Bush returns to the $87 billion. Kerry repeated last weeks, "I made a mistake in how I talked about it; he made a mistake in going into Iraq."

Closing: Why have Kerry and Edwards had to go first in EVERY closing argument?? I think they have had the first question all three times as well. I thought that it was a coin flip? All three times it was them? Grr…

As for Bush’s comments, does he think that he’s out of the recession? Yes Bush, history will look back, and it will NOT be kind to you. Be prepared to join William Harding… Where are we Bush? You gained 1.9 million jobs but you lost more than you gained. And yes, home ownership is at an all time high. But so is bankruptcy, asshole. And Bush, Iraq IS going to fail. It's inevitable.


  • At 9:32 PM, Blogger James said…

    Very nice analysis, I agree with you 100 percent.


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