Thoughts on the debate:
Hot News Flash: George Bush is not Ronald Reagan. He will never be known as the "Great Communicator."
On the other hand, he what he is. If you like what he is, then that's enough. He does talk like real people talk and not like the smartest guy in the class. Of course, the smartest guy in my class was smart enough to talk like a regular guy...
Kerry was more on the attack, but that's not too surprising since an incumbent president will have a record to attack. Mr. Bush wisely avoided any attacks on Mr. Kerry's governmental service, except for one brief comment made in face of a "loaded" question about his opponent's character flaws.
Kerry is hard to debate because he spews out a lot of words (my wife says he provided four answers for every question) and is not, apparently, under any constraints of logic, consistency or common sense. His need to put himself on the scene of major events is really strange. Who cares if he was in the KGB file room unless he was pulling his own file.
He straddles (supporting two forms of negotiating with North Korea).
He attacks what he alleges has happened regardless of what really happened (as in the alleged failure to use US troops in Tora Bora which was disputed by Gen. Franks and by the SpecOp people who assert that that's the way we were supposed to be doing it).
He avoids setting him self up (he continuosly says he has a plan and rather than bore us with any details, suggests you visit his website - I guess the President should have brought his laptop so he could debate Kerry's plans. Might be fun to have the President whip out his laptop on the campaign trail and debate it. How long can Kerry get away with the "plan is in the mail" routine?
Since Kerry seems to believe every thing he says as he says it (so that it becomes his own "ground truth") , it's hard to use the positions he has taken in the past against him because he will simply claim that he has not ever shifted his position because, in his mind he hasn't.
The President looked tired and burdened. That's the way he should look. He was out doing the country's business during the day. Like rust, the demands on the president never sleep.His vacations just take him away from the throngs in Washington (how did Lincoln put up with people wandering into the White Hose?). He's carrying a huge load on his shoulders and he was aware that as president he cannot take the pot shots at the French, Germans and the UN the way that a challenger can take on our allies. It shows a degree of maturity misunderstood by the Kerry support group.
Kerry continues his need to get approval..."global test" ---looking for a summit-- perhaps "the summit of pointlessness?" Seems like some sort of junior high peer group thing "Please like me" thing.
Bush's approach reminds me of the old Rick Nelson song "Garden Party" in which experience with peer rejection teaches some widom:
"But it's all right now. I learned my lesson well.
You see, you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself."
Update: Just watched the Democrats' tape on facial expressions. If that's the best they've got, then they ain't got much.