Friday, October 01, 2004

Bush vs. Kerry: Foreign Policy Debate

I was dreading last night's debate. After the Bush/Gore debacle of four years ago, I was afraid that Bush would show up the new stiff democratic candidate. Bush's simplistic style and ability to stay on message would surely be better than Kerry's rambling speach. But this did not happen.

In an interesting twist, Kerry finally seemed on message and seemed at ease with his position. He seemed comfortable, like he was making the point, "This is my turf now, you can just go back to the white house and pack up your things." Okay, maybe I am being overly optimistic, but I really thought the debates went well for Kerry. When the camera would provide shots of Kerry while Bush was speaking, he looked attentive, he smiled, he would jot notes down on his paper. Shots of Bush were the opposite. He looked angry at times, confused at others. Bush would jump on the moderator, in a hurry to get in his counter. Bush was, in a word, defensive. Instead of a debate about policy, this debate became what Kerry wanted: a referendum on the Iraq war. Bush tried to stick with his message that Kerry is a flip flopper who changes positions. But in this debate Kerry was the one who sounded like he was steadfast and consistent. At one point, Kerry explained how Bush changed his position in how they were going to approach Iraq initially. Kerry said that the "Bush campaign has a word for that." He made Bush appear to be the flip flopper. And he did this early in the debate. So every time Bush tried to stay on his 'Kerry Changes Positions' talking point, the viewer remembered that Bush changed positions too.

My brother called me up in the middle of the debate. Last I had heard from him, he was going to vote Bush. He said to me "Are you watching this? He is raving! Bush is insane! Call up every republican you know..." It was quite entertaining and I have to agree. Bush looked like an angry man last night, who's only justification for the choices he made as president is that he believes he was right. His message last night was 'trust me'. "I know what I am talking about, trust me." Kerry came to the debate and said, I will do this differently. And he gave points on how.

Overall, I thought it was a very interesting debate. And I truly feel that Kerry came out on top on this one. I only hope its not too late.


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