"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Thursday, October 14, 2004
  Thoughts on Third Presidential Debate
So it's a couple of hours post-debate. I've been checking emails, and reading blogs on the left and right. My analysis is that, like the second debate, this is a tie. Bush was again better than his first performance, and Kerry was maybe slightly off of his.

But even though this ranks as a tie, I think it is a big loss for President Bush. He had the opportunity to literally grind Kerry into dust in the first debate. During the preceding weeks he had slammed Kerry with his record and his "flip-flopping". Yet when Kerry took the stage, his manner (and Bushes horrible performance) gave the appearance of a confident, presidential leader with a plan, that the current president couldn't answer.

Back to Bush. While he managed to respond to many of Kerry's comments, every time I watched him he reminded me of a dumb high school kid who had suddenly "remembered" what the smart kids had told him to say. As all commentators have noted, he isn't blessed with eloquence or proper grammar. In terms of body language, he again communicated uncertainty and anger at several points in the debate. Kerry by contrast looked his confident self; he appeared serene and looked to me as if he were constantly thinking what I was thinking: this is the president of the USA, this is the best the Republican party can do? It would be downright funny were it not such a grave matter. As a side note, I saw an interesting segment after the first debate where an author of a book on body language critiqued the President (this was on the O'Reilly Factor). She said that Bush's body language was totally improper for a presidential debate - a president should look confident and almost amused, because he knows the other guy's nonsense and how to counter it. That is how Kerry struck me throughout the debate.

To be fair, Kerry had his share of faults. Every time religion came up, I just cringed, because I knew that I was about to be pelted with a barrage of mystical gobble-de-gook. Bush hit a home run in the second debate when he said, "I'm still trying to decipher that." And yet Kerry did a fairly good job of saying (as he did in the second debate) that he could not legislate an article of faith on other Americans. That is the essence of the separation of church and state, something Bush cannot comprehend. Kerry also said he wouldn't appoint any judges who'd overturn Roe v. Wade, which I also found encouraging.

Bush's "culture of life" sent chills down my spine. It's obvious that he is militantly opposed to all abortions, as he wants to protect "all human life" (except for the mother's, I guess she is less human than a clump of cells).

What really came across to me tonight was two fundamental points about the two candidates:
  1. Kerry is a pragmatist along the lines of Clinton
  2. Bush is a pragmatist with better rhetoric, except when it comes to religion where he's a principled theocrat
In my next post, I'll outline why I'm definitely voting for John Kerry this November, and why you should too.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:11 AM


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