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Saturday, October 2, 2004
Watching the Presidential Debate: First Impressions

I watched the first presidential debate last night. Jim Lehrer did a nice job asking questions, for the most part - some of which had a nice edge to them - and he gracefully managed the three major egos on the stage (Kerry's, Bush's, and his own). I liked the option to extend discussion of a question for an extra 30 seconds each, too. I don't know if anyone else was watching long enough to hear the questions and answers about North Korea, Russia, etc., but at least the whole night didn't belong to Iraq.

I didn't see John Kerry, God's (alleged) Gift to Debating. I didn't see George W. Bush, the alleged witless wonder. I saw more or less a standoff. There were some things I wish President Bush had said, and I noticed a number of obvious falsehoods in Senator Kerry's diatribes. So what's new? There were no knockout punches, no new revelations. I frankly found myself wondering if 60 minutes isn't a better length for a debate on a specific policy area; 90 minutes seemed too long. Yawn.

Most of the polls say Kerry won, which is what most of the polls are supposed to say. And the propaganda campaign about the alleged Kerry comeback, which we could see coming before the debate, is now well under way. And for the thousandth time I find myself wishing the media would rise above the he-said-she-said style of reporting and actually examine facts more or less evenhandedly.

In my next entry, I'll tell you the thing I most wish the President had said.

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