Friday, October 01, 2004

Thoughts on the Debate

An interesting stat came to my attention prior to last night's debate. In 1980, when then-President Jimmy Carter was running against soon-to-be-President Ronald Reagan, over 80 million people tuned in to watch the first of their debates. That accounted for about 1/3 of the entire population of the United States. Fast-forward 20 years to the Bush-Gore debates of 2000, one of the most closely contested elections of all-time, and the amount of people that tuned into the first debate (where Al Gore famously sighed repeatedly while Bush answered questions) was just over 40 million. Now I don't know how many people tuned in last night...I imagine that it was probably somewhere in the realm of 50-60 million (who wouldn't with the Joey/Will & Grace lead-in), but you can be sure that I had my eyes glued to my big screen.

Both sides are now currently in spin-mode, trying to claim that they won last night's debate. At the time, I thought that there were certainly areas where both candidates succeeded, and areas where both fell short. Kerry didn't have a good answer for his ever-changing positions, but Bush didn't use his best soundbyte more than once ("September 10 mentality").

Kerry surprised me on some of his knowledge of foreign policy, particularly with North Korea. However, his continued belief that our "allies" (the ones that he believes are allies - France, Germany, etc.) will just fall into line once he gets elected is not only overly optimistic, it's downright stupid. Both Chirac and Schroeder have openly announced that even if Kerry is elected, they will not enter into the ground fighting in Iraq. Kerry believes that he can just wave his magic wand and they'll change their mind.

The reason that France and Germany didn't go into Iraq was because both were receiving oil kickbacks from Saddam in exchange for weapons parts that they were providing.

Bush, unfortunately, at times came across like his 2000 opponent, visibly upset by certain points that Kerry made. He got flustered at times and he does not communicate nearly as well when he is flustered. I would have liked to see him push Kerry more on his plan for Iraq. Kerry very obviously doesn't have a definitive one. A while back I heard that he was planning to increase our military enrollment by 30,000 troops in the next year. Did he say how? Not so much. He just said he would increase enrollment...where from? Thin air, I guess...

4 comments:

Mike D said...

I cannot say that I am a Bush supporter nor can I say that I am a Kerry supporter. I guess that was one of the reasons that I tuned in to the debate, I think it was a first for me. My impression of Bush sunk quite a bit and my impression of Kerry was slightly raised. I agree that Kerry's plan for Iraq was pretty vague but you could say the same about just about everything that either of them referred to as 'plans'. They were both pretty good about saying very little but talking a heck of a lot. Bush provided a lot of humor to me, he just seems like such a jackass. Sorry dude, I know you are a Bush lover but you are loving the wrong kind of Bush.

ishane said...

Daddy-D...I don't disagree with you regarding the debate exclusively. Bush underperformed and really didn't hit at Kerry like he should have. He had a lot more ammunition, particularly on Kerry's voting record in the Senate over the last 20 years (in which he voted against many weapons that are in use today as well as proposed a $6 billion cut in intelligence).

You are right. I'm a Bush guy. The most important issue facing this country over the next 4 years (and probably the next 10) is national security. I would think that as a father of 2, you would want a president who takes a strong stance in pursuing those who pose a threat to this country and removing them as soon as they can. Kerry's lip-service in an election year is meaningless because it is not backed up AT ALL by his record in the Senate.

Mike D said...

I certainly believe in national security. But I wouldn't say that I feel any more or less safe than I did around 9/11 time. Although I think that Bush is doing some good things, with respect to the intelligence hierarchy(hopefully they can all work together for the better of our nation). Do you not believe that we would be more secure if we would not have invested so many resources in the Iraq war?? Think about how you felt after 9/11, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, did you not want to get the f-ers that did that to us?? And although many members of Al Qaeda have been captured or killed, where is the mastermind and ring leader?? If we invested some of the resources to finish that job first, then I think we would be a more secure nation. As we have now come to realize, Saddam Hussein was not in possession of 'WsMD' and was more of a threat to his own people than to us. Is it a good thing for Iraq that he is gone, no doubt, but how does him being gone eliminate the fact the we were attacked by terrorists in planes not by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. And before you say, well better to take care of it before it happens...Once again, I do think it is a good thing that Saddam is no longer in power, but I also think that there were more leaders in the world that would have been with us if Bush had been a little more patient.

Lastly, is there anyone in the country(besides Shane Adams) that could run for the presidency that doesn't have negatives?? Is there not something with their 'public record', ie record in the Senate, record in the military, etc. I too believe that Bush would be better off with John McCain, but unfortunately that would still leave Bush as president.

I am not as into politics and up on all the things that you know, so if we were to debate you would treat like 'W'. But I at the least want to become a more educated voter and I don't want the presidency to be decided as it was the last time(see Florida).

Get back to work!!

ishane said...

I agree that certain mistakes have been made. Not giving the beat down to ObL when we had the chance is a major one and I expect the Kerry-Edwards camp to continue to hammer at that one.

HOWEVER, remember the months leading up to Shock and Awe where we made our case to the UN and basically, all signs led to the fact that we were going into Iraq? Who is to say that Saddam didn't ship those weapons across the border to Syria or Iran (although I doubt the latter...Iran/Iraq still don't get along)? He had plenty of time...that's why all his weapons labs were mobile.

The thing about Kerry's record is this: over the past 20 years, there has not been a single Senator who has voted more liberally than John Kerry. That is not a "skeleton in his closet"...it's a telling trait that demonstrates his stance leans much MUCH further left than he would like for the public to believe. And the liberal media isn't going to point that out...that's for sure.