Tested, Strong Leadership vs. More of the Same
The debates are over and most "insta-polling" shows Kerry 2 for 3, with the middle, town-hall debate a draw. While Sen. Kerry didn't hit any homeruns last night, he more than held his own against a President who still seemed out of touch, pissy, and not able to untangle himself from a four year web of lies and deceit.
A few quick, random thoughts...
-First (and again!)...George Bush and Dick Cheney should just shut-up when it comes to the subject of lawsuits. They are in the White House today because they filed and won a lawsuit in 2000 for Florida's electoral votes.
-On Osama bin Missin', here is what the President said last night:
"Gosh, I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. That's kind of one of those exaggerations."And here is what he said on March 13, 2002:
"And [Osama Bin Laden is] just – he's a person who has now been marginalized. His network is -- his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match…So I don't know where he is. Nor...you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I...I truly am not that concerned about him."I submit the video evidence.
-Every single time Bob Scheiffer threw Bush a jobs question, Bush didn't answer it. Instead he'd go off on some tangent about his miserable education policy. But I guess when you're the first President since Herbert Hoover to have a net job loss on your watch you would just rather change the subject.
-On his Catholicism and abortion, John Kerry's answer was superb. It is between a woman, her god, and her doctor. Period.
-On the issue of homosexuality, I was floored when Bush referred to himself as tolerant and respectful. All evidence is to the contrary, Mr. President. You declared war on millions of your own citizens this past February. Tolerant and respectful are two words I would never associate with you or your presidency.
-And once again neither candidate gave a decent answer to the question of how to best heal a politically polarized nation. Bush can't answer the question because he really has no credibility on the issue, having divided the nation more than ever. John Kerry could have articulated his vision better, although he did say he is committed to reversing the polarization. Tom Friedman highlights Bush's failure on this issue quite forcefully this morning:
By exploiting the emotions around 9/11, Mr. Bush took a far-right agenda on taxes, the environment and social issues - for which he had no electoral mandate - and drove it into a 9/12 world. In doing so, Mr. Bush made himself the most divisive and polarizing president in modern history.-And finally, what was with Bush and his hand slamming!? He kept slapping the palm of his right hand on his lecturn, coming across to Americans like the spoiled brat he is. "You (slam) better (slam) vote (slam) for (slam) me (slam) or (slam) I (slam) will (slam) hold (slam) my (slam) breath (slam) and (slam) have (slam) a (slam) temper (slam) tantrum!"
We'll see how the polling changes over the next few days. Right now, I would say Kerry has the "big mo" heading into the final stretch of this campaign. But it is going to be a hard fight. We're dealing with the Karl Rove destruction machine here and Kerry and his team have to fight every second of every day until the last vote is cast on November 2nd. Victory is within our grasp and I sincerely believe the American people are ready for some capable, steady leadership. As Sen. Kerry said in his closing last night, he offers "tested, strong leadership that can calm the waters of a troubled world." Here, here!
I highly recommend additional debate analysis from Andrew Sullivan, Mathew Gross, Daily Kos, Kevin Drum, Braganza, and Hoffmania!
After the weekend: An update on where I see things in the Electoral College.
Tabloid Headline of the Week:
"PRESIDENT BUSH CAUGHT PLAYING WITH TOY SWIFT BOATS IN BATHTUB."