Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A quick take on the last debate

That Bush won this debate is beyond argument. He was aggressive, thoughtful, full of facts and talked about the future. Kerry was a bore. Every word he used he had used before. You did not see a mind working. Bush was especially good on taxes and education (and even had the chance to mention Kerry’s opposition to the Gulf War, finally!) and he was given a great opportunity for wit, and he took it, to his massive advantage. There is no way Kerry can re-group from this. This is what he is and it is now fully revealed. Bush will be re-elected.

Discussions - 16 Comments

Where the election is at stake is Ohio, Florida, & Pennsylvainia. After tonight’s performance by the President I cannot fathom Ohio and Florida voting for Kerry. The best the Kerry campaign can manage is to keep it a close election, but I anticipate a momentum shift that may even push them to do that...

The bottom line is that I hoped the President would stay alive in a domestic debate, and as he did 4 years ago, he far exceeded my expectations. He made strong principled stands on tough issues. He linked job success to education. He framed his faith without being offensive to others, while not conceeding truth. He discussed tolerance without outing his opponent’s family members, but also standing against activist court’s tendency making law...

I’m still disappointed in the politics of entitlement, that the President won’t make a principled stand against. But tonight the President locked up my vote...

Feel free to erase the goof on number one. Kerry was visibly shaking and stammering over his question on being a Catholic and supporting the "right" to abortion. He knew he was in trouble with the Church, the contradiction, and maybe even with his conscience. Stephen Douglas said much the same thing in the debates with Lincoln, "I wouldn’t personally own a slave, but . . . "

Tony, that’s exactly the question that somebody needs to call Kerry on one of these days. "Mr. Kerry, you say that you believe that a fetus is a human being, but that it’s not government’s place to impose that ’article of faith’ on others. Does it not follow that you believe some human beings are not inherently entitled to legal protection, merely because there is not theological or philosophical consensus on their personhood? Is this not the same argument that justified slavery? Couldn’t it also justify another Holocaust? And if you believe that no transcendent theory of ethics -- Catholic moral theology or otherwise -- should have any place in deciding what acts we define as criminal, then what exactly is the basis for any criminal law that we have?"

I agree, Bush won this one. Memorable quote on health care: "A plan is not a litany of complaints!" Loved it!

By the way, was it just me, or did Kerry have a hard time thinking of good things to say about his wife and daughters on that last question?

M.D.

I think Kerry’s answer about his wife was so unfortunate that everyone thought it was a joke. I personally don’t believe he intended it as such, but since I can’t envision a worse way of answering such a softball question, I guess we’ll never know...

How about the way W pronounced the word "exageration " with a few extra a’s thrown in for good luck !

Or what about " pay as you go; you pay, and he goes ahead and spends."

To round out my top 5 lines by W, I submit; "A plan is not a litany of complaints "; "His rhetoric doesn’t match his record"; and the winner by far, plain and simple, was....

"it’s your money" .

Bush’s victory may be beyond question to faithful readers of this column, but statistically significant numbers of Americans thought otherwise.

Bush won big. He pulled the rope-a-dope in debate one; Kerry got suckered in by media spin, and he never came with his A game because he thought he didn’t need it against GWB. I’m inclined to think that people mistake Kerry’s dithering and his ability to speak French profound intellectualism; in actuality, as the debates have revealed, Kerry has a remarkably pedestrian mind. He’s not at all forward looking or proactive in his thought processes. He’s mired in the past, and doesn’t seem to have an original thought in his head. Beat Bush? Not in any of the debates. Bush tagged Kerry with ’global test’ after the first debate, and he painted him pink in this third one when he hammered hope Kerry’s liberal voting record.

Earth to MSM and Kerry: a win on style is not a debating victory.

"Bush’s victory may be beyond question to faithful readers of this column, but statistically significant numbers of Americans thought otherwise."

Turns out when you promise to give stuff to people they like you better. Especially if they arn’t used to doing it for themselves...

But in the end the only stats (and states) that will really count are Ohio, Florida, and PA. And Kerry hasn’t had enough substance to win Ohio and Fla (where Bush is doing his own giving of the stuff with his Prescrition Drug plan)...

Ah, nice to see right-wing political spin at it’s best. When will the Repubs realize they clearly have a dud on the ticket? Without a doubt, Kerry won the last debate. He’s now 3 for 3 and will win the election. He had a strong understanding of the issues, and he explained his plans far better than Bush’s miserable attempts. Plus, it doesn’t help W that many of his promises from 2000 haven’t come to fruition. Not to mention the number of times Bush refused to answer the question posed (homosexuality, refusal to visit NAACP, minimum wage, etc). Bush couldn’t even defend his definite flip-flop on the Assault Weapons Ban that expired. Folks don’t want four more years of the same, that’s one reason why this former Bush supporter is voting for Kerry-Edwards. If I had a penny for everytime Bush answered each question by talking about education, I’d be getting one of those millionaire’s tax cuts!!!

Nice job, troll. I am so tired of seeing Democratic partisans going from site to site, anonymously posting as "former Bush supporters." Look, you and your liberal pals at CBS and CNN can spin this however you want, but Bush clearly won this one, and the second debate as well. And there is no question that Cheney flattened Edwards. In all three occasions, the pundits themselves recognized this, before going home and thinking of what spin they could add to retrench Kerry as a strong candidate. At best, you are 1 for 4, and the only reason it is still even close is the networks’ round the clock campaigning for Kerry.

As I tried to take in the totality of the debates last night, I came to a couple of conclusions about principles, politics, and the candidates.

John Kerry simply has no principles when it comes to domestic policy, but simply supports the status quo, trumpets the Supreme Court’s policy stances, and tries to align himself for votes on issues like abortion, gay civil unions, affirmative action, and the like. "I’m for this, but against that," without any real understanding of first things/principles about why he is for them.

Bush, on the other hand, frustrated me because he believes in certain principles but seemed kind of wimpy in proclaiming them on domestic policy, unlike his strong, principled stand on foreign policy issues. For example, he seeemed to oppose affirmative action but was scared to alienate black voters. He could have stated that he supports opportunity and equality for all, opposes affirmative action, and done things for blacks such as support better schools, school choice, and tax cuts. He was also for a culture of life and against both abortion/partial-birth abortion and would like to have judges overturn Roe v. Wade but was afraid to say so. He did have a strong defense against activist judges and for democratic legislatures and for the culture of life, so I do not know why he just did not state his opposition to Roe v. Wade as an example of judicial activism making up rights in the Constitution that do not exist, or have not been defined by democratically-elected legislatures. He was also not opposed to the practice of homosexuality since it was between consenting adults but wanted to preserve the sanctity of marriage.

Maybe it boils down to a matter of prudence in politics and the realities of getting elected. To me, Kerry comes across as ambitious and unprincipled, but Bush comes across as prudent but a little afraid of his own principles from whence he derived his policy stances.

It was a win for The President. Of course there were missed opportunities (Kerry announcing that they fixed Social Security in the 1990’s in response to a question about how it was broken)...

It is clear that Mr. Kerry is a fantastic Senator -- a man who is deliberative, but not innovative. He is clearly not a leader, and does not have the conviction to lead.

One comment that I have seen here and other places is that Mr. Kerry seemed to repeat the same phrases again and again. This is an output of his years in the Senate. Watch the Senate on CSPAN, every speech is a regurgation of the previous one.

On substance, the Bush/Cheney team is 3 for 4. Not bad. Congrats on 4 more years, Mr. President.

John

what principles does he believe in? I will certainly grant his opposition to abortion. While he has cut taxes, he has joined that with the largest budget increases ever. Is that really conservative? Was he really conservative in his approach to Iraq?

Christopher,
Didn’t you know that monster deficits are now called "investments?" And you are correct that the definition of conservative changes with the wind. For example, Reagan spoke many times about "the flow of red ink" when dems were in control. Now, the two-faced conservatives have a different spin on that.

It is the height of hypocrisy for liberals to fault this president for running up deficits, considering that every time Reagan tried to cut something he was accused of trying to starve old people or some other such heinous act. I don’t like the administration’s big-spending ways, but they’re probably inevitable for anyone who wants to get elected. In short, don’t hate the player, hate the game. And the game’s rulebook was written by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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