Although the two candidates had the same amount of time, Kerry got many, many more words in. And they weren't rushed words. Kerry spoke at a good, measured pace all through.Kerry leveled charge after charge that went unrebutted. People keep telling me that Bush "won on substance." I have to wonder more and more "How so?" "It's hard work" isn't substance.
Bush said, "We're makin' progress" a hundred times — that seemed a little desperate. He also said "mixed messages" a hundred times — I was wishing that he would mix his message. He said, "It's hard work," or, "It's tough," a hundred times. In fact, Bush reminded me of Dan Quayle in the 1988 debate, when the Hoosier repeated a couple of talking points over and over, to some chuckles from the audience (if I recall correctly).
Staying on message is one thing; robotic repetition — when there are oceans of material available — is another.
When Kerry said that our people in the military didn't have enough equipment, Bush was pretty much blasé. He showed no indignation. He might have said, "How dare you? How dare you contend that I am leaving our fighting men and women defenseless!"
And yes, we understand that Kerry is a flip-flopper. It deserves to be mentioned. But while we're at it, could we also maybe touch on the fact that the beliefs he doesn't waver on are abhorrent? As Nordlinger perceptively points out:
The worst thing about Kerry is not that he is inconsistent; not that he is a flip-flopper. The worst thing about him is that he is a reflexive leftist, who has been wrong about nearly everything important his entire career. Nuclear freeze, anybody? Solidarity with the Sandinistas?Could it hurt to show that the things Kerry does believe are dead wrong? Bush allowed him to portray himself as a virtual Reagan Republican!