Here is Joseph Knippenbergs thoughtful take on the debate. A paragraph: "Remember, this is the debate that Kerry was supposed to win, hands down. His domestic positions were supposed to be more appealing than Bush’s, and the President was saddled with a recession and an agonizingly slow economic recovery. But Kerry’s relentless negativism grated after a while and managed also to distract us from what should have been his positive and hopeful message. Bush hit the nail on the head when he said, in effect, that a plan is not a litany of complaints. Although Kerry had his moments, he and his handlers have to be disappointed. He didn’t articulate a clear and coherent domestic program and didn’t even effectively make some of the more attractive promises he’d made in the past."
Powerline summarizes it all by saying that "Bush kicks donkey." I like it. Here is
Fred Barnes take on the matter. An interesting last paragraph: "Now heres a strange twist on the debate. Bush was the winner in a focus group of uncommitted voters conducted by pollster Frank Luntz last night. The 23 voters thought Kerry, not Bush, won the debate. But they split 17 to 5 in favor of Bush on whom they now plan to vote for (one will vote Libertarian). They still dont trust what John Kerry is saying, Luntz said, though they thought he said it well." Even Mickey Kaus thinks that the debate will help Bush. "Its two hours after the event. I dont remember many specifics. I do remember that Bush was personable, upbeat, human and articulate (he seemed to have gained about 20 IQ points since debate #1 while Kerry was near-funereal. He even looked like a mortician. Wheres the Man Tan when you need it?" Was it appropriate for Kerry to bring up Cheneys daughters homosexuality? Mary Beth Cahill said (after the debate) that she was "fair game." Really, I groaned when I heard that. This will backfire on Kerry. Certainly, Lynn Cheney was not amused: "This is not a good man. Speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom." She called his comment a "cheap and tawdry political trick."