Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Presidential Debate

The debates just finished. I know which candidate I am voting for. I knew already, though. Do you know yet? I think many people are looking for their candidate to say what they want them to say. If it is done, then I think most people think their candidate won. Just a thought.

Style. What effect does style or delivery have? If a candidate is really good at speaking and rhetoric, then what significance does the content have? How important are the debates, especially considering that the candidates cannot use notes (for statistics and to back up their arguments)?

I do not think either candidate did poorly. That does not mean, though, that both said what is best for our country. Different visions. Different priorities. Do they match with what you value? Is there any truth to the claim that Kerry's statements prevent most folks from deciphering what he really believes? Is he coherent?

Our safety is of top concern. Which candidate is going to do what is best for our country's safety and security? That does not mean just responding to attacks once they happen. That does not mean merely defending against further attacks. That should mean finding those who are a threat to us and taking care of business. I would rather have the fight over there than here.

However, as I was listening to the debate, I had some thoughts on the significance of debates to how we will actually vote.

Would you change your mind about which candidate to vote for if he did not do as well in a debate? I would not. I already know what policies he would push and what vision would be driving his administration. A poor showing in a debate would bother me a bit, but the policies and vision are more important. What I am going to get in January and not how it is said in October is what I am most concered about.

President Bush had his "not-strong" moments in the first debate (at least with regard to efficiency at responding to the opponent). Sen. Kerry has made his mistakes, even contradicted himself in the debates. But to the supporter, these "mishaps" are explained away. Do they matter? Should they matter?

For the record, I think both candidates had their moments, though I think overall there was a clear winner: If you are a Kerry supporter, I would think your clear winner is Kerry; and if you are a Bush supporter, Bush was your clear winner. As a debate, it seems a tie, both did what they wanted to do (I think). As far as substance goes, it all depends on what policies and vision you want from a U.S. President for the next four years. For me, I heard what I wanted to hear. As Gov. Arnold said, "Four more years!" Let me know what you think. Comment below.

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