It would appear that the bar is now subterranean. Checkin' out the left half of blogtopia, which for the most part has Kerry with a solid win tonight, I have to ask have we all become myopic partisans as well? Josh Marshall calls it a tie, giving the tie to the runner (Kerry -who evidently, according to Bush is running for the president as opposed to the presidency). I'm calling it a slight Bush win (remember substance doesn't matter much and Bush's down home country charm? does play well).
It's true, Bush didn't do himself any favors by interrupting Charlie (5? times) and yelling but Kerry was back to being inconcise and let Bush get away with way too much. And by the way, Gibson did better than I expected although what was with letting through the question "would you face the camera and say no middle class taxes .." - he had nothing better than that for Kerry?
If debate watchin' was my sole source of info, I'd be wonderin' just how Kerry was going to get 40,000 more 'volunteer' troops and be curious as to why the hell we didn't already have health care and new jobs and homeland security and all of the other great things that Kerry's going to pay for by returning the upper tax bracket to it's previous level (okay, to be honest, he once briefly mentioned closing corporate outsourcing loopholes but it seemed to me he indicated those recouped funds would be directed to corporate homeland incentives).
For me and I think anyone out there who for whatever reason (just waking up from a coma perhaps) remains undecided, Kerry doesn't 'follow through' (coincidentally the same reason Shaq is such a lousy free-throw shooter). For example, he states he has a plan and he'll bring other countries in (as Bush hammers how are you going to get them to join you in the wrong war at the wrong time, how can you lead when you don't believe) but doesn't say how he'll accomplish this. I, unlike many foreign policy analysts (reasonable ones too) who think he's blowing smoke, do think it's possible. Basically by admitting our mistakes and asking for their help to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq. I think admission and apology are underrated in what they might help to achieve -but Kerry never offers us anything on that front.
Also, did Kerry not have the perfect opening for the 100,000+ hours of untranslated tapes when the woman asked about why he thought we hadn't had another attack yet? On the other hand, he did respond well to both the stem cell research and judicial questions but, just as he forgot Poland, he apparently didn't think to use the Dred Scott decision (WTF?) for illustration either.
Anyway, I try and look objectively at these debates in terms of those 'undecideds' and I don't think Kerry had it tonight and Bush, well Bush will get the pass he always gets.
One other thing (because his responses drive me nuts), although its most likely moot at this point since the next debate is covering domestic issues - the $87 billion dollar question. Okay -would it have been so hard to say I never changed my mind, what changed was the bill? The bill changed because Bush threatened to veto the bill that I voted for and that had won bipartisan support. So, if I flip-flopped so did he. While I was for it before I was against it - he was against it before he was for it ... 'nough said. Well, on to the finale and I hope another Kerry surge in the polls proves my assessment wrong.