Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Some reactions - Dick Morris

Here is a reaction to last night’s debate from Dick Morris. I think he’s largely right and offers similar thoughts as some of those commenting on previous postings here: Bush had a more coherent view of the Iraq war and did retort well on some issues (e.g., global "test"), but he also seemed - in a few places - a little too defensive in responding (e.g., the situation in Iraq is not a "catatrophic failure") and missed a few big opportunities (e.g., bunker-busting nukes). He almost seemed too tired or annoyed to really turn the tables on Kerry. As Morris concludes, if Bush had been a little quicker on his feet, this election would be over. I look for Bush to be stronger than people expect on domestic issues.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Bush is tired of defending his foreign policy because he doesn’t like public argument and because he is worn down by his presidential duties. It showed in last night’s debate, especially in his body language and facial expressions.

He may well do better on domestic policy, which really interests him more anyway. But the problem is that the Democrats "own" most of the domestic issues, so a good Bush performance in a domestic policy debate is simply a defensive win, not a decisive move forward.

He could always try using social issues, but he won’t dare.

I have long said that the activists are the campaign. Bush and his top command cannot win it for us. It is up to us, the base. WE must speak for this sadly inarticulate man, and against Kerry.

I find it difficult to believe that learned scholars can sincerely defend the sitting President. His performance last night was nothing short of embarrassing. It is deeply upsetting to me that my vote in the last election caused this man to be our global representative.

Right, because Al Gore would have been so much better.

"Right, because Al Gore would have been so much better. "

A brilliant response. I suppose a substantive reply is too much to ask for when debating the merits of the President’s debating skills.

I think most everyone here has conceded that the President is not the best debater, nor the most eloquent of human beings. I fail to see how that is terribly relevant to the discussion of who would serve our nation best as its leader over the next four years. I admit, I wish the Republican party had had a Reagan-like orator on the podium last night to strike down Kerry’s absurdities satisfyingly, but alas, Bush is not that orator. However, he is far better equipped to lead this country than Senator Kerry, regardless of how inarticulate he was at times last night.

My main point, vague as it may have been, was that this nation would be in far worse shape today if Al Gore had won in 2000. Thus your comment about your vote is a bit foolish. I can accept that people think Bush has made errors. I agree that he has, but the idea that Gore or Kerry would have or will do a better job is patently absurd.

Lori, give me strength! What was so terrible that was so "deeply upsetting" to your delicate constitution? He didn’t say Poland was not under Soviet domination. There was nothing terribly remarkable or memorable about the debate other than it was a substantive debate (unlike debates from previous elections: especially 1992 & 1996).
Bush did well and so did Kerry. They each scored points.

Your gnashing of your teeth sounds like total form over substance. From George Bush’s words AND actions, you know where he stands. From John Kerry’s words (last nights and the past two years) I am unsure where he stands. I think Kerry is against the War in Iraq but I am not sure because I have heard him say so many different things over the course of the past couple of years.

From last night’s debate, I’ve heard what George Bush has been saying since 9/11 and the Iraq War. I also heard Kerry try and clarify his position on the War in Iraq (of which I can’t seem to square with his prior statements from the past couple of years). He also managed to say that Bush did everything wrong and "he could do better". This is not soaring rhetoric and won’t win an election.

Finally, what made you vote for Bush in 2000? Did he suddenly become less of a debater in the past four years? Did you have some sort of an epiphany last night?

Finally, he isn’t our global representative (whatever that is?). He is the President of the United States, he is also the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. The closest thing I know of to our global representative is our ambassador to the UN, that convocation of democratically elected countries, dictators and despots.

Hey Lori, what was your best Kerry line last night? Was it the "Global Summit" rhetoric? Was it "pass the global test" phrase?

I don’t think Democrats "own" most domestic issues -- far from it. In most places the economy is doing well enough that the (universally preposterous, when used by either party) demagogic appeals on economic matters won’t have much of an edge this round. Kerry’s stump script on health care and jobs so far is, if possible, sillier than his vacuous summitry and secret plans on foreign policy -- and just as unlikely to interest many voters. Education’s a loser for him as well. Then there’s that little tax thing -- it’s even easier and more convincing to portray Kerry as a tax-raiser than it is to paint him as irresolute and unwise on national security (and that was pretty easy, by historical standards). Claims that only Bill Gates will pay more to usher in the millennium of new spiffy programs and reduced deficits are unlikely to sell coming from a conventional lib. I can’t imagine Kerry’s crew is expecting him to make inroads in these next debates.

Sorry, but Lori is absolutely correct. Oratory skills should be the #1 and only factor in determining who should be president. A man that cannot debate, and cannot speak comfortably and clearly should never serve in our highest office. George’s entire presidency, for this reason alone, was a disgrace and a shameful indictment on the United States.

I don’t know who that idiot Washington was to think he could be a successful and decent president!

The petty rhetoric on this website is troubling.

In response to the series of attacks on my allegedly "delicate constitution", I will only say that I voted for Bush as a young Republican hoping for the best after the failed McCain campaign, in which I had great hope. I turned against Bush after his march to war on a people that neither harmed us nor threatened us. I vote for Kerry not as an endorsement of his oratory skills or convictions, but rather as a protest against the man who has ruined us in the eyes of the world, and killed a total of 1,000+ soldiers to date. I am a Christian Conservative, and as such, I resent what has become of the Republican Party of late.

Two points in response to Lori.

First, your statement that the president has "launched a war against a people" is either a terribly poor word choice or a woefully inadequate understanding of the war. It was a war against the regime, not the people - unlike the terrorists we are fighting today.

I find it hard to believe that the totality of the different candidates positions would lead one to support John "No, really, I’m Catholic" Kerry over George Bush. Kerry is going to keep fighting the war - and thus putting our soldiers in harm’s way - and has come out for preemption. In other words, he will have essentially the same foreign policy as Bush although he thinks he can drag the recalcitrant France into supporting his preemptive wars.

The President hasn’t killed anybody. That is ridiculous - not to mention simply false - vitriol. While we’re on that subject, does anyone have an actual clue how many soldiers have been killed in action, or do we just hear this handy number "1000" and knee-jerk our ignorant responses? Somebody please do some research. You’ll find, rather quickly, that we have not yet lost 1,000 killed in action. (Not that it really matters in the least.)

Lori, if you’re a troubled Christian Conservative, why on earth will you vote out of protest rather than out of a desire to do anything but advance the Kingdom of Christ? How will your vote for Kerry do that? Is it in his potential Supreme Court appointments? I’m curious how your self-described title of Christian Conservative leads you to vote for Kerry - not that it isn’t possible. Or do you simply link your faith with your party affiliation without also submitting your political actions to the same faith?

Lori -- Mr. Kerry’s latest position on preemptive strikes, is that he would only engage in one once all other options are exausted. This would include negotiations, sanctions and coalition building. All of these transpired in Iraq (and have festered for 10+ years). Essentially, the position that Mr. Kerry has outlined leads to the exact same conclusion of the President’s.

To quote your earlier post, "I vote for Kerry ... as a protest against the man who has ruined us in the eyes of the world, and killed a total of 1,000+ soldiers to date."

Because the positions of Bush and Kerry would have ultimately led us to the same point, I’d advise a vote for Nadar...

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