OK then, the debate.
Well, as a disclaimer, let me just say I prepared for this bullshit fest, between two incredibly wealthy individuals, in the appropriate manner. . . some ice, some Woodford Reserve, a wonderful Flor De Murias, and a pepperoni pizza.
OK then, the debate itself.
Well, my general reaction, as many seem to be agreeing is that it was a draw. Is a draw enough for Bush? For Kerry? I don't know, we will see in 32 days.
Kerry certainly came across as the better public speaker (which isn't a surprise), but I don't think he overwhelmed Bush as I had been expecting.
So, if he won on style you ask, how did Bush balance him out?
Simply, on substance. I was a bit disappointed that Bush didn't hit a couple of softballs out of the park (and I was also disappointed that the questions all seemed to suggest that the Iraq situation has been a failure - I disagree and believe it is doing just what we wanted . . . acting as a magnate for terrorists and enabling our military to kill them there instead of here) but the policy differences between the two were very clear.
Bush wants to kill lots of terrorists. Kerry, though he said he would kill them too, would really like the approval of France before we do so. Also, Kerry made a tremendous blunder (eeer, can we call it a Waffle) on the North Korea question. After a year of criticizing Bush for going it alone in Iraq (and Bush did a great job pointing out how insulting that is to our allies) he thinks we should go it alone in North Korea. Bush's response, that we are constantly engaged in discussions with Kim Jung Il and others was great. Bush is right, North Korea doesn't really fear us, but they do fear China's wrath. Were we to drop China from the discussions (and Kerry's still smoking pot if he thinks China will let us influence its neighbor independently), nothing would be accomplished . . . just look at how badly Bill Clinton fucked the situation up.
That of course is another area Bush could have hit one out of the park . . . by pointing out that North Korea didn't just develop Nukes now, but had them all along because of the spineless bi-lateral negotiations the Clinton Administration engaged in.
As I said, all in all, its probably a draw . . . though I think as people continue to mull over what was said (and not concentrate on appearance, like the MSM seemed to be doing last night) they are going to continue to drift over to Bush.