Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Reactions to the Third Debate (Domestic Issues)

Hi Everyone,

I didn't get to see the entire debate but I did see most of it. And I downloaded the transcript for the part I didn't see at C-SPAN. Here are some of the highlights from my point of view.

First, I think Kerry won this debate but didn't deliver a knock out blow. No memorable line that makes Bush look like a dope. No "there you go again" line. Polls show that this seems to be the plurality opinion out there. Only Republicans think Bush won any of the debates.

Second, I thought Bush was defensive and whiney again. I've heard people are calling Bush "Furious George" now. Its a great nickname, but I'm not sure it fits 100%. "Spoiled George" or "Whiney George" would be better fits but they don't sound as funny.

Third, I thought Bush's answers on domestic issues were excessively "on message." That is he mentioned "no child left behind" in answers to questions about jobs, taxes etc.

Fourth Kerry's performance was a little sloppier than the first debate. His answers weren't quite as tight and he showed some of his tendency to give long, complicated answers.

The moment I thought was most telling was when Bush said the solution for the impending flu shot shortage was for young people to not get flu shots. Think about this. Bush says the health care situation is better now than it was when he got into office but we are going into a flu season with half the flu vaccines we need! Bush said that our health care was the envy of the world. But I wonder what the flu shot situation is in Canada or Sweden or Denmark?

This leads me to one other comment: Bush said that government controlled health care would lead to "rationing." He said that what we need a "market" in health care. But the problem with that is people always want more health care! Demand for health is inelastic. That is as price goes up, demand remains high. So what Bush is proposing is de fact rationing but the mechanism for rationing will be how much you are willing/able to pay for more health. More money = more health. Less money = less health.

Comments? Discussion?

5 comments:

Prof. Werner von Brawn said...

Random thoughts:

Winner: Bob Schieffer. Questions were much better than in the other two debates and he seemed relaxed, polished, and ready for prime time...Bob for president?

Generally, though, bored out of my mind more so than in the second debate, and unable to believe that Kerry, the "master debater," winner of the "brilliant" Weld-Kerry debates, has been completely unable to put away this retarded monkey. What was the SNL line the other night? It's like Wilt Chamberlain playing against the kid in a wheel chair and winning by 2 points. Crude, but effective.

Seems odd to me that nobody is mentioning Kerry's Tony Soprano zinger. While I don't watch the Soprano's, nor have any interest in it, I nearly split my pants I laughed so hard at that line. Only Wonkette and other bloggers seem to think this was worth mentioning. The only bright spot in a debate in which both sides pandered to Mary Cheney before they said she was a threat to man-woman kind. Pathetic.

Raised By Republicans said...

Yeah, I liked that Tony Soprano crack too. It's the closest thing to a "well, there you go again" moment we've seen from either candidate in these debates.

The problem with "putting Bush away" is that for some bizarre reason most people like the guy and don't like it when people are "mean" to him. Personally, I think Bush is a really annoying, opinionated, not particularly smart, T-totalling ex coke head who thinks he is God's prophet on Earth - not someone I'd like to have a beer with. But most people disagree with me so Kerry would be wise to avoid coming off as mean spirited. I think he's struck a reasonable balance.

You keep saying that only an idiot couldn't beat a "retarded monkey" in an election. But what if some alarmingly high portion of the voters are also retarded monkeys or big fans of monkey retardation in some form? In other words, your assertion that Kerry is somehow screwing up what should be an easy win assumes that everyone in the USA has the same opinion about G.W. that you have. I doubt that is the case.

US West said...

I have to agree that I was bored. But I was surprised Kerry didn't jump on Bush early in the debate over Flu shots. Bush kept saying in the last debate that we can't import Canadian drugs because they might be unsafe, and then last night said Canada would help fill the flu shot needs. Go figure.

Another moment most people seem to have missed was Bush's concession that basically the 30 and 40 somethings won't have social security. While most of us have been saying it for a while, Bush all but said it last night and Kerry didn't disagree or point it out. No one mentioned the consistant raiding of Social Security funds to pay for other stuff (which is like making us pay income tax twice). No one jumped on the idea that privatizing social security will be a boon for the bankers who get to manage the accounts and will screw up the stock market in an even bigger way since more dumb money will be in it.

And what was with the consistant return to education? What will you do, Mr. President, for those who have lost their jobs? get 'em educaiton at Cumminuty college. OK, you go tell the guy with a degree in computer engineering who just saw his job shipped to India, to back to community college. He is missing the fact that the unemployment today is not just blue collars. In fact, neither of them had good answers for that.

I also was interested to see how angry Bush got the moment Iraq was mentioned. I came away thinking that Bush actually believes in his domestiac agenda (regardless of how misguided it is for the rest of us) and is very uncomfortable with his foreign policy situation. All in all, Kerry won, but Bush came out stronger thi time around than in the other debates. I agree, though, RBR, that Kerry is picking his fights carefully.

Prof. Werner von Brawn said...

USWest tells us how Kerry didn't put the dagger in and this is supposedly "picking his fights." Is mentioning Canada again too harsh for people? Or is it that Kerry didn't have a good argument? What is "picking his fights?" Does it mean he doesn't really have a good answer and so needs to wait until he can remember one of the bazillion things his advisors told him to use on Bush whenever he says something silly? To me, when one picks his fights, it means you are either outmatched, or outnumbered, and you retreat, looking to wait until a more opportune time appears. When would that be, exactly? This is the third and final debate. It's 19 days until the election. Empty your clips into him now, there is no medal for second place.

RbR seems to imply that people like Bush so much, and his personality is so powerful, that any slight challenge of his position is death for Kerry. And RbR also says that I exaggerate and take theories to their extreme. So, here is a nonexaggerated, nonextreme real situation. Kerry last night said that "[b]eing lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country." I thought that was by far the harshest thing said by either opponent in these debates and it certainly didn't stop Kerry from making it. When you are being told you are lecturing someone, does it generally mean they think that's a good thing? By subtly linking Tony Soprano and Bush, is he not in effect calling Bush a criminal? No matter how you choose to spin it, that was a big time zinger with many different angles. Kerry has also consistently told the president that he is wrong or mistaken or that things the president says are simply untrue. Last night he made comments about Bush's empty promises. Is this not attacking the president, or do you mean Kerry can't actually engage Bush in hand-to-hand combat? At what point is Kerry actually going too far? It sure looks like he would have crossed that line a long time ago...

I think the dark little secret here that nobody wants to admit is that Kerry can't sink the dagger in because he isn't that good. Or at least, he isn't being well prepared. Most likely both. Both USWest and RbR have, in effect, admitted as much. Why back away from it with excuses that Kerry has been told to "coddle Bush?"

Really, though, who can argue with a guy who takes my "retarded monkey" line and recycles it into Bush supporters as "big fans of monkey retardation in some form?" That was classic. "Monkey retardation." Dang, just repeating it in my head is making me laugh. Oh, if Freud could see us now...

US West said...

You ask if I think Kerry is picking his fights because he is waiting for his aides to coach him. Well, actually, no. If I am not mistaken, it is Bush who is now being investigated for being wired during the first debate. If anyone needs aides to coach him, Bush would be your man.

Then you ask if it is because Kerry is outnumbered. No. Once again, I don't think so. I do think, however, that Kerry is attacking in a selective manner- aiming for where he thinks the attacks are most effective. Also, I think Kerry had points that he wanted to make and deemed it unwise to use of his time to waste it being snide- which is what got Gore in trouble. Being snide, as much as this arm-chair Pol would like to see, is not presidential. And if you are trying to set up a contrast between the scowling, peevish Bush, being snide is probably not effective.

But you raise a more interesting point. Can Kerry sink the dagger? Or does he simply refuse to drop to that level? Well, I wonder about that.

Democrats are, in general, no good at mud slinging. It makes them squeamish. They play the equivalent of the West Coast Offense- the finesse game. (In fact, one of the reasons I liked Gray Davis is because he was one of the few Dems had no trouble playing dirty! It was sort of fun to watch.) The Republicans excel at slinging mud. They, for all their God-loving, Christian moralizing, patriotic pandering, family values talk have no trouble playing dirty and, what's more disgusting, feeling absolutely no remorse. Solid conservatives are some of most hypocritical people out there. They go to church on Sunday so that they can ask forgiveness for all the sinful backbiting they did all week. I point to how they treated one of their "own" John McCain. Or why not consider the Swift Boats fiasco? And there is very little said about it. Democrats strike back, and somehow end up eating their own mud. So, why do something that you are just so lousy at?

I remember this great thing that political humorist, Mort Sahl, once said. "Liberals always talk about conscious because they are ashamed of what they accumulated and they don't think they have a right to it. Conservatives love everything they have stolen; they are proud of it. (Fresh Air, Terry Gross, Dec 23, 2003 http://freshair.npr.org/guest_fa.jhtml)

That is the fundamental difference and it translates in actions on the campaign trail.