October 2004
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Day October 8, 2004

Post-debate thoughts

So…debate wrap-up. The debate likely helped Kerry more than Bush, who had everything to lose. And likely lost a few people with tired repetition of talking points instead of real plans. I was happy with how Kerry did, but I thought he lost a couple of opportunities to really “rise” above the rhetoric and establish himself as beyond the pettiness. More on this later.

Kerry did, however, show real evidence of absorbing George Lakoff’s lessons about “framing” — as the Orwellian comment concerning the “Clean Skies” initiative shows. That could help, at least avoid the pitfalls of playing into the conservative vision, but framing is also something that requires repetition and support.

I’m a bit confused about the $87 timber company thing. Does anybody know what that was all about? I thought it was one of Kerry’s weaker moments, and it gave Bush the ability to play the “folksy humor” card.

On the last question, about regrets and changing one’s mind, I appreciate the fact that Kerry had to be on the offensive, but wouldn’t it have been much stronger for Kerry to come out and say something like: “Unlike the President, who seems unable to see or admit mistakes, I’ve made mistakes and learned from them. Here are some mistakes from my career that I’ve learned from….” There has to be some material which isn’t damaging which somebody with a long career can use to establish their ability to rethink, learn, and grow…I don’t know. It seemed like an opportunity to show that he’s strong enough to admit when he’s wrong and learn from it. And that’s something that’s crucially missing from this administration, and a fatal flaw.

Presidential Debate #2: mid-debate thoughts

Wow. Bush and Kerry are proving that it doesn’t matter whether questions come from a single moderator or “town hall” citizens — they can repeat the same answers and attacks nearly verbatim. So far, this is playing out as a repeat of last week’s debate, with a little more walking around. President Bush has managed to get his facial muscles under better control, but I thought he was going to go ballistic on the moderator there when skewered on the “coalition.”

More later if I can stay awake.