Thursday, October 14, 2004

Debates = Over

Here's the last debate commentary, you lucky (and solitary) CNB readers. For a good deconstruction of the inaccuracies last night, here's Factcheck.

Kerry won the first debate, and anyone telling you different is lying, didn't see it, or is a Bushie who cannot admit defeat. The second debate was a draw, as Bush showed up (albeit a bit pissy) and Kerry let too much go by. With regard to the third debate, Kerry was pretty strong again, Bush made his strongest showing of all three debates, but Kerry kept up his composure and momentum that he began in the first debate. He actually looked comfortable up there at the end.

CNB notes that Joe Scarborough of MSNBC said last night that anyone who says either Bush or Kerry won the third debate is "either an ideologue or a liar or they were watching the Red Sox-Yankees game." CNB's crack investigative staff also noted that Mr. Scarborough was also of the opinion folowing the first debate that for "the first 30 minutes of this debate, it was George W. Bush's best performance ever." While the wheels certainly fell off ["I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that."] after that, the first 30 were not exactly awe-inspiring. Thus, CNB sticks by its conclusion that Kerry won the third debate, finishing with a record of 2-0-1.

Now for cumalative debate observations (with best efforts made not to repeat the initial commentaries made).

  • Those Swift Boat veterans had you down a couple months ago, along with the RNC and a host of ads, but you now run about even in the polls, pretty much all due to your debate performances. Don't get cocky.
  • You successfully gave explanations for your most famous flipfloppy remark (voted for it before voting against it), and actually appear to have severely curtailed the flipflops. Don't get cocky.
  • You showed you had a personality, especially last night with the self-effacing comment about marrying up. The smile looked genuine, and it showed confidence to poke fun at yourself, you shameless gold-digger.
  • You never hit the knockout punch, even being given some good material with which to do so.
  • Leave Mary Cheney alone. Edwards could make reference to her, as he was debating her dad (and even that was odd), but you should leave her out of this.
  • Stop attacking every damned thing Bush has ever done. If someone asked you if Bush tied his shoes correctly, you would claim that not only did he not do so, but that you had a plan for future Presidential shoe-tying (but likely never specify what that plan was). You did this a bit last night in giving Bush credit for his immediate post-9/11 actions, but you need to focus your criticisms if you want people to buy into them.
  • You are not Dukakis, so stop worrying about that. However, you are also not Clinton, so don't get cocky.


  • You really screwed the pooch on that first debate. Asking for more time to answer and then staring ahead blankly -- you are lucky the transcript does not include "long uncomfortable pause" before the response you finally gave.
  • That being said, after the pit bull of the second debate, you calmed down pretty well last night. Content was a bit shaky (that repeated video of you saying you were not concerned about Osama bin Laden has to be painful), but you did not scowl, and even made a joke out of it.
  • Admit a mistake. Just one. I swear to you, if you admit a mistake, miscalculation, minor error in judgment -- SOMETHING -- you will get reelected. What was "resolute" has now officially turned into "stubborn". You're like the guy in the interview who answers the "what is your biggest weakness" question by saying "sometimes I push myself too hard".
  • Despite your obscene wealth, some people find you folksy. However, they are still losing their jobs, and will find you less folksy if your solution to their problem of feeding their children is for them to attend community college. That jackass in the stupid suit from late-night TV commercials can find them money for college - your job is to do what you can to help get folks reemployed faster.
  • Kerry really has made some contradictory statements, but so have you (again, you are finding that out today). Thus, keep it focused to main stuff, or you will open yourself up to the same criticism.
  • You are not in total polling free-fall, but you are an incumbent president with a less-than-50% approval rating. That ain't good, and it ain't gonna get better if you keep on with the same stuff.
  • What's Rove's big surprise?? Come on, you can tell the CNB. Nobody reads it anyhow, so what's the harm?? Come on. . . . .

Any comments from the CNB faithful?