I have been like a Malay running amok (and in Philadelphia on Friday night through Sunday morning; it took me eight hours to fly back to Cleveland, by the way, two cancelled flights, had to go through Detroit, a real mess!), but I am back. This is a copy of a letter a friend sent (there is an indirect reference to his age by the way) to some of his family about the first debate. He sent it one day after the debate. I think it is good enough to quote in full:
Today we are being asked who won the debate last night.
Many, perhaps a majority of, listeners think Kerry won. (Recalling
my own High School debating experience 80 years ago, I might agree.)
The more important question is whether the American people want a
debater as Chief Executive.
There are fundamental differences between executives who make
decisions and take actions and those who are more comfortable
considering the issues and debating the ever-present alternatives. We
have many bright and capable Senators and Representatives and their
words are often persuasive. (Although sometimes I wonder whether they
are all on the same subject.) But we have only one President. The
Founders wisely separated those functions. The jobs are not
Many years ago, our Company assigned the development of a new product
to our Engineering Department. Months later the project was still being
engineered. The engineering department believed their duty was to
design a product that was as nearly perfect as possible. The had no
criteria to use to stop engineering and declare their job finished.
But while engineering was trying to achieve perfection, the sales and
manufacturing groups were without work.
The Chief Executive took the project out of Engineering and turned it
over to Manufacturing where producing the product quickly uncovered
design problems that were corrected immediately.
I never forgot that lesson. (Strange that I should remember it now.)
If you listened carefully to Kerry, you heard him say basically that
invading Iraq was a colossal mistake because 1) we rushed to war alone
instead of waiting for the UN and the inspectors, and 2) Saddam was not
a threat because he was not connected to 9/11, and therefore Iraq was a
diversion from our fight against terrorism. Everything else Kerry said
about Iraq was hung on those two old, previously debated ideas. Further
debate now is academic. We did invade Iraq. The issue now is how
quickly and effectively we adapt to change sin the plan made necessary
by actions of our opponents. Of course it is impossible to know what
might have happened if we had not gone ahead so Kerry is safe in arguing
against the action we took. I do think that his continuing "wrong war"
talk encourages the terrorists to try harder to displace Mr. Bush.
Nine-Eleven was the signal to pull Saddam and Iraq out of the