Friday, October 01, 2004

A debate occurred 

I am alive. I am writing words on a computer. I watched a debate. Please tell me what happened.

UPDATE: Alright. A few more words have made themselves available to me. This will not be a politically correct pro-Kerry post. I can't deny my own lostness to myself, and this requires an acknowledgment of my confused responses to the event of this evening.

Blicero and I watched the debate together. We shared an ecstasy of agony. It was horrible. Kerry seemed to avoid assiduously any effort to turn Bush's own words against him. Bush did this to Kerry successfully several times--most horribly, when he asked if Kerry would ask prospective allies to "join in a grand diversion." Kerry seemed to mention the allies constantly, in a way that called attention to his lack of better things to say. And he did not hit Bush with all the stuff we know he had at his disposal. For example: why did he not respond when Bush asked him, rhetorically, "How you gonna pay for all that?" after Kerry listed all the things we needed to do on the homeland security front?

But I should acknowledge that Kerry's point here was a good one, and Bush's miserable and horrible. (My father told me of a report about a focus group which apparently responded more positively to Kerry's words about homeland security than to any other utterance in the debate; this is clearly where he has to go--Bush talks a lot, but doesn't really know what to do about terrorism--AND I DO.)

My problem with this exchange was that Kerry seemed here (and elsewhere) to avoid any attempt to really go hard at the opening Bush left him. Kerry seemed instead to make stump-style remarks and general points whenever he had the opportunity, at the expense of really going after what Bush said. But maybe--and this is the key--it was enough that Kerry made a good point here, and that Bush made a bad one. Maybe Kerry didn't need to go after Bush directly.

It seems, now, that people--media whores, undecided voters--think Kerry did better. So it seems possible that people appreciated his full answers and his avoidance of direct attacks and rhetorical pivots. One absolutely crucial thing appears to be the calm, decisive demeanor, which everyone--pundits, blog commenters, my father--say looked infinitely better than Bush's smirking and scowling. I hardly noticed this, and neither did Blicero. I find Bush so repulsive at all times that I wasn't sensitive to the fact that he apparently reached a new pitch of repulsiveness. The contrast between the "presidential" demeanor of Kerry and the asinine sniveling demeanor of the shit sculpture may have been the big difference.

Obviously, I don't trust myself anymore about any of this. I was quite convinced that it was a bloodbath. The post-debate TV activity took me through the looking glass. I would be grateful to know what other AmCoppers think about what has occurred.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?