I had watched every debate, including the VP debate, in totality live up until this one. Given the momentum in the debates, I figured Bush would consistently do better, and since part of the strategy during the last campaign and this presidency was to co-opt democrat ideas so he could claim he got things done, I thought that the conventional wisdom regarding Kerry’s advantage would be proven wrong.
That all being said, I also figured more people would tune into the ball game! We’ve been all fighting a cold or something that we’ve been passing around along with little sleep, so I opted to go to bed at 9:00 pm. However, curiosity and the fact that I had skipped dinner got the best of me, and I caught the last 30 minutes of the debate– so I’ll give my impression of that.
I can’t remember the first question I heard– it might have been the automatic rifles. My response to that question would be that, although it would be scary to enter a house with someone with an automatic weapon as a law enforcement officer, the bad guys are always going to have access to these weapons. Gun control seems to only prohibit those that will follow the rules from getting their hands on tools of defense. I believe that there’s a European country– Switzerland?– that teaches all homeowners to use semi-automatic weapons and they have a tremendously low crime rate.
On the faith question, I believe Bush did a better job because I believe he actually believes what he says. It was somewhat of a loaded question– no matter how many of the pundits say this was a softball– because had he answered directly that his faith directs his policies he would have played right into the argument that the democrats want to make about legislating morality and the whole “God told me to go into Iraq.”
My reaction to some of the closing comments by the FOX guys and the ones they interviewed, it’s hard to say my reaction to hearing Kerry mention Mary Cheney. I don’t think it was as much of a secret as the pundits are making it out to be. It’s also a common tactic to name a person representative of a group to illustrate your point. Usually, however, it’s a person that you’ve met on the trail in relative obscurity instead of someone that is semi well known.
I guess my feeling is that it is one thing to be spoke about as someone who needs a solution to a problem or to attack someone in public that has a public voice, but no one outside of the campaign rallies or Mary Cheney’s friends have ever talked to or heard from her. I agree with Rush Limbaugh that the tactic would have been much better if he had used someone he knew in the public spotlight, like Barney Frank, to make his point– a point which I disagree with, by the way.
I wish Bush would have been clearer than what I heard was his response to whether homosexuality was a choice or born with it. He didn’t need to alienate people– he could have said something like “Bob, in either
case we are given things in our lives– desires, physical ailments, etc– and we have to make choices about what we will do with these impulses and dilemmas…” Here he could have even played up Christopher Reeve’s amazing will to survive and honored his memory instead of what Edwards did for another contrast, should he have desired. “… and homosexuals have choices about what to do about their desires and impulses, but should we as a country encourage choices that harm these people and families?”
Other than that, I thought Bush did so much better with humor and with his answers about the women
in his life. It makes you connect when someone talks you through the first time he saw his wife. Bush totally avoided politics in this question, whereas Kerry tried to play up his deceased mother for points. Time will tell how that worked.