Friday: 01.October.2004

First Presidential Debate

RADIFIED broke the 2-million-hits-per-month mark last month. See here. You know what they say: The first million is always the hardest. =) I'm not sure how these statistics compare with other sites, but I can see the numbers continue to grow.

Watched the presidential debate last night. Actually, got home a little late from my massage (still zoned) and missed the first 15 minutes. It was very enlightening to see the two men debating side-by-side, on the same stage.

Kerry did significantly better than I expected. He actually looked presidential and in command of the issues. On the other hand, the president did markedly worse than I expected.

continued

The President looked uncomfortable to me. Most of the night, he had a strange, distressed look on his face. With his lead in the polls, I expected him to come in cocky, shooting from the hip as the race's top gunslinger. Rather, he seemed on the defensive, repeating many of the same trite lines (such as: "it's hard work") to the point where I actually said out loud, "Okay, you've said that several times already. I got it. Tell me something new."

From several books written by people who have come out of the Bush administration (like the one by former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill: The Price of Loyalty), the White House doesn't tolerate criticism very well, even if it's accurate. And tonight, he had to swallow some 90 minutes worth of it, so maybe than explains the look of indigestion. A quote here says:

>>> The cameras demonstrated that Mr Bush cannot hear criticism without frowning,
>>> blinking and squirming (he even sighed once).

I thot it was a good debate. I thot it was civil and classy. I don't think either candidate was rude or demeaning. When given the opportunity to bash each other, neither stooped to character assignation. For the most part, they stuck to the issues. But I clearly came away impressed with John Kerry, thinking, "He could do this." By comparison, George's folksy appeal, which I appreciated in the past, began to grate on me and sound unintelligent.

I especially liked the questions the moderator asked. I had expected them to ask wussy questions, but they asked tough ones, to both candidates. I like Jim Lehrer, especially the way he clarified some of the candidate's positions for the viewers. I was most surprised that - for the most part - the candidates actually answered the questions asked of them. I was expecting the usual, scripted sound-bites, totally unrelated to the questioned posed. This was a pleasant surprise.

Here's a question *I* would pose to Pres Bush: "When the United States invaded Iraq, the only ministry guarded by US troops was the Oil ministry. The Iraqis feel that oil is the reason the US invaded Iraq. How much did oil have to do with the decision to invade Iraq?" Are we really there to gain control of Iraq's oil fields? Is this why our soldiers are dying?

Here's another: "How much damage do you you think your years of alcoholism has done to your ability to make sound decisions?"

A point I never heard anyone make: the administration claims we're in Iraq to "bring freedom & democracy". They also claim we're there to "fight terrorists on their own ground" (not here). Am I the only one who feels our military presence in Iraq, under the guise of "bringing freedom & democracy," is just a big ruse? and that we're doing the Iraqis no big favor by turning their country into an International battlefield.

Another point I noted, regarding our soldiers: how can the president claim "every life is precious" when our government didn't even equip our soldiers with body armor? Parents had to buy kevlar body armor online for their sons and have it sent to them in Iraq (often as birthday presents).

Seems our government places the value of a soldier's life somewhere below the cost of body armor. Being ex-military myself, I am naturally sympathetic to their treatment. The president is ex-oil industry, so we know where his sympathies (naturally) lie.

I have never voted for a President that lost. This is not to say I voted in every election, but I can say that every President I voted for won.

I think people serving in the military ought to be able to vote twice, because, unlike most of us civilians, their life can depend on who gets elected. Just because our soldiers are volunteers, that doesn't give the government the right to put them in harm's way without first exhausting all other options. I can't help but feel that if GWB had a few bullets wizzing by his head, he'd be a little less eager to put so many troops in harm's way.

The next debate is with the VICE-Presidential candidates. I'm expecting Cheney to chew Edwards up. He'll never know what hit him.

The *real* debate I would like to see would be Cheney vs Kerry. I mean, Cheney is really the guy in charge ay the White House. Everybody knows that. He has all the experience. He's the reason (sadly) I voted for Bush.





Posted by Rad at October 1, 2004 06:19 AM

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