Friday, October 01, 2004

The debate 

I had the first presidential debate streaming in the background through my computer, courtesy of Australia's Newsradio. I won't say much about it, since it will be blogged and editorialised to death over the next few days - so, only a quick conclusion (and I'm not looking at the contents, but an impression a dispassionate observer might carry away from the evening): Kerry came across quite well, fluent and well briefed; Bush far less so, in his usual manner, but I think he connected more on the gut and emotional level. So hardly any surprises here. Overall, a good debate for Kerry; he can take heart that he performed reasonably well on what traditionally is the Republican ground of defense and national security. Will it shift many votes? I doubt it; for all his nice and confident delivery Kerry still failed to show how his approach would actually work to make the United States and the rest of the world safer in the war on terror. Bush still wins in the conviction stakes.

Update: John Derbyshire has very similar thoughts, except - predictably - puts it much better than I can:
"John Kerry plus: He does not come across as arrogant and obnoxious as we believe him to be.

John Kerry minus: His positions don't hold together in any coherent way.

George W. Bush plus: He has an air of authority, experience, and purpose I don't recall from 2000.

George W. Bush minus: The President is a dismally poor public speaker."
Fortunately, as it happens, most people tend to be pretty poor public listeners.


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