Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate Reaction: Bush was a childish jerk
Immediately after the 2000 debates the consensus was that Gore had won on substance, and then after 24 hours or so, that had totally flipped. Gore had sighed and eye-rolled his way into total unlikability.

Naturally I thought Kerry won tonight's debate on substance, hands down. He made a political slip with that phrase about a "global test" for pre-emptive war. Bush was on the defensive most of the night, as well he should be as the incumbent President. I wish he had shot back more directly at the President's insistence that he was shifting positions.

But maybe more important--hopefully. Bush looked like a jerk. He was angry, unhappy, impatient, looked genuinely (as opposed to putting it on for political effect) annoyed. By God, Kerry won the debate on style too. He looked calm, focused, confident. And if the American people have a shred of consistency in them, they should punish Bush for his behavior the way they punished Gore.

In years past, the message I would want to send after a debate would be one of policy substance. This year, the message is informed by 2000, and it also happens to be true...I say we tell it to anyone and everyone who will listen: Bush was a childish jerk. He didn't show the kind of temperament it takes to be a good President. We need a President for goodness sakes. How about acting like one.

But if Republicans want to actually compare candidates on substance, I think we come out very well there too...

What did you think?

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