Saturday, October 02, 2004

Why I didn't do more debate blogging

It's not because I am lazy, readers. Oh no. It's because I knew other, superior bloggers would have it covered.

So, here's my debate blogging: I agree with him. And him. And them.

Go here for the debate in pictures.

And Satan has posted a transcript.
Satan backs Bush, so he's edited out all of Bush's "ums" and "uh . . . uhhhhh's" but his transcript otherwise is accurate.

Kerry did MUCH better than I thought he would. A couple of clunkers, but he was good. And Bush was shockingly bad. Worse than I ever could have hoped or dreamed he would be. Disastrous. He actually sounded whiny. How could that have happened? Wasn't he prepped AT ALL? Bejus, I thought his people ran a tighter ship than that. Perhaps he is so accustomed to delivering his canned lines to adoring, hand-picked, loyalty-oath-signing supporters, who applaud his every sentence, that the silence in the debate hall just rattled him. Plus he had to stand there and take it while Kerry hammered his record, and he's not used to that, either:

The president was often seen pursing his lips or clenching his jaw while Kerry was criticizing him, prompting focus group members to react with words like "arrogant," "nervous" and "not well prepared."

One reason could be that Bush is not used to having his record challenged face to face. Since taking office, he has been largely protected from rhetorical confrontations and tough questioning.

Bush, for example, has held just 15 formal press conferences in three and a half years, the fewest of any president in half a century. That does not count shorter question-and-answer sessions with a few reporters, but those are rarely televised.

And his town-hall meetings on the campaign are actually stage-managed events where only Bush supporters are allowed in and the questions are usually easy for him to address.

At one recent "Ask President Bush" event in Pennsylvania, one questioner asked, "After you are elected in 2004, what will your memoirs say about you, what will the title be and what will the main theme say?"

Another asked, "When you defeat your opponent this fall, Jane Fonda's poster boy, are you going to be able to keep Colin Powell on your team?"

At a recent session in Ohio, the first questioner asked, "I was wondering if you would permit me the honor of giving our commander-in-chief a real Navy salute, and not a flip-flop."

The second opened by saying, "I just want to say that I'm proud that I'm going to be voting for you."

It's possible, of course, that Mr. Bush's god-awful performance was part of a larger strategy by his team - to really, really lower expectations for the next debate to rock bottom, so that if Mr. Bush manages to get through them without bursting into tears or stalking off the stage it will be declared a victory for him.

Update: What he said . . .

Double secret update: Things Bush should not have said


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