Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Debate Number Two

With the second debate in the books, here are my thoughts on the evening.

Kerry: How obnoxious is his over-the-top pandering? How many times can he give noncommittal answers? I also disliked how he would continually turn his back on the audience in order to face directly at President Bush when answering questions. Talk to the people, Senator. Oh, and if he would have asserted how much he "respects the feeling behind that question" one more time, I would have puked in my living room. Somebody with absolutely no values that mean anything (we certainly can't make decisions based on our beliefs, although everybody does so every day of their life) whom has to assert that he even understands values when he sees or hears them is a little frightening.

My favorite Kerry moment overall had to be his answer to the abortion question, which was completely indecipherable. So how does he recover on follow-up? By arguing an extreme example that really wouldn't apply anyway (suggested parental notification laws have always had a bypass clause in cases of parental abuse). And what percentage of abortions are performed in those types of situations? The highest figure I've seen, which included rape, incest, and health concerns as reasons for seeking an abortion, was 7%. So Senator Kerry argues one of the more extreme examples and then states that "it's just not that simple." Why is this troubling? I can find a case like his on one side or the other of every controversial decision. If he won't decide on something because of the 7% extreme cases that don't fit the concept, he'll never be able to make a decision. The truth of the matter is that he'll only look at the extreme examples on the liberal side of the equation. That's what he is, after all. Liberal. No matter how much he runs from that label, it sticks in the end.

Bush: Bush focused a lot on Iraq, and unfortunately did not answer the last question on his mistakes in a satisfying way. Also, his assumption that it was a hit on Iraq may or may not have been accurate, but he sounded way too defensive jumping to that conclusion. That was a bad way to end what was an otherwise strong debate for the President. During the debate, he was mostly straightforward, was much more aggressive that in the first debate, and did a good job of talking to the audience and conveying his passion about what he does. Kerry once again seemed aloof and disconnected, which may just be his personality but which results in his speeches being about as compelling as the local farm report. Informational, yes. Emotionally or otherwise compelling? No.

My favorite Bush moment was of course the lumber statements. It was a perfect unplanned moment that showed his sense of humor and exposed Kerry's ridiculous statement for what it was- an obscure reference to an investment that Bush holds. Who here knows exactly everything they invest in (for those who invest)? Who here sees, every month, exactly what they earn from every investment? With 60-68% of Americans investing in the stock market in one way or another, my guess is very few. But according to Kerry, only the "rich" invest (therefore benefiting from the reduction in capital gains tax under Bush, which really helps all investors) and apparently they are personally familiar with every investment they have. How out of touch with America is this guy?

Tomorrow night's final debate should be fun. I'll be back once it's in the can.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Veeps Weigh In

After watching the Vice Presidential debate, I wanted to give myself some time to digest it before I posted. Digestion is now complete, so here's my take on the debate.

Cheney: Once again, Cheney impressed me. He has such a strong presence and such a calm confidence about him- you feel comfortable listening to him. I like that he exposed so many of the fallacies of certain Democratic claims (his 90% math lesson was a classic) and didn't allow statements with obvious false elements to slip by unnoticed. He hung in there with a guy who has an obnoxious habit of repeating the same thing over and over as if we're his average jury. He also avoided being baited too much by the Halliburton and voting record attacks, and pressed on with his own approach. Overall, I gave him an A.

Edwards: Too much for me. His slick, avoid the question and hammer home the same old line approach was too much for me to take. Come on- he responded to an attack on Kerry's "global test" comment by repeating (twice, I believe) "He also said he would not give countries veto power over our national security." Ok, so he said both. We know that. Guess what- it's either another flip-flop or he's lying about one of them. By Edwards' own logic, if he said it, it must be true. So which one will he do? Global test or unilateral authority? I think his record can tell us which one.

I also disliked Edwards' illustrations. Not only because they were oversimplified and insulting, but also because you got the feeling you were being coerced. I don't need a nice story about something. Give me facts, numbers, statistics, and let me make up my mind. This isn't court where the more you make the jury cry, the more money they give you. This is a national election. And speaking of court, did anybody else catch the fact that his solution for our legal environment involved not capping awards, but putting in place an elaborate process for qualifying lawsuits? Who do you think will pay for this process and who do you think will benefit from it? We will pay for it, and lawyers will benefit. Who else can qualify the validity of a lawsuit? This would equal a huge expansion of the legal system, which is the opposite direction we need to go.

Overall, I gave Edwards a B-, and it would have been lower except for his aggressiveness and charisma.

So that's my analysis at this time. I'll be back after Friday to review the next presidential debate.