Like 50 million other Americans, I watched the first presidential debate between George W. Bush and John F. Kerry on TV last night. I did not expect to hear any new platforms or any real debate between the candidates, considering the 30 pages of debate guidelines established by the two parties. Despite the inhibiting debate structure, I was really struck by the way Bush and Kerry contrasted when placed next to each other.
While both candidates stuck closely to previous statements, it was John Kerry who succeeded in articulating his stance on North Korea (initiate bilateral talks), the war in Iraq (focus efforts on training new Iraqi forces), and what he plans to do on the international stage (reestablish the ties that Bush destroyed). Dubbya only managed to stutter and fumble around for responses to several of Kerry’s pointed remarks while repeating his trademark talking points nearly every time he spoke. Although, Bush does get the points for making the more amusing facial expressions while his opponent was speaking; some were just beyond description.
Before the debate, I was one of the many voters that belonged to the “Anybody but Bush” party, but last night convinced me that John Kerry will be a better president than George Bush. At the very least, he doesn’t sound like a moron.