October 01, 2004

Rate the Debate - Kerry Outclasses Dubya

OK, so yesterday's post turned out to be a little less insightful than I'd have thought. It turns out that the questions and responses actually did help to enlighten the citizenry a bit on the positions of the two candidates. While it wasn't an actual debate per se, it did accomplish the goals of a debate.

It appears to me, and others according to the initial polls, that Kerry handily won the debate. He used his time wisely, didn't blow on endlessly and held himself in a Presidential manner. Only the most partisan of idealogues could state otherwise. President Bush, it appeared to me, had a very difficult time connecting the thoughts in his head to the tongue in his mouth. The side-shots of the President were devastating...he really must learn to control that smirk.

However, as to the substance and factually correct statements that were made, here are some observations:

  • Kerry stated that the President had cut the funding for the program that is responsible for gathering and securing nuclear material in the former Soviet Union / Russia. This is not factually correct. During the first year of President Bush's term in office, Donald Rumsfeld attempted to cut the funding for this program. However, he was met with such resistance from such a wide array of people that he was soundly defeated. Despite this correction of the facts regarding Senator Kerry's statement, his assertion that it will take 13 years to attain the goals of the program is correct.
  • President Bush's statement that Poland was involved in the 3 weeks of war in Iraq is factually incorrect. While Poland is a member of the "Coalition of the Willing", they did not take part in the assault that actually invaded Iraq. They do have troops on the ground now, albeit a very small number compared to the United States (2400 troops vs 125,000 troops).

There is one item where I felt Kerry made a terrible mistake and I'm not certain whether or not the media will pick up on it, but Kerry twice made statements to the affect that President Bush ordered troops to secure only the Oil Ministry Building rather than secure additional resources such as nuclear materials, etc. While some investigation does show that there were indeed some low level radioactive materials located about the country, these materials were not involved in a nuclear weapons program. Despite this fact, simply mentioning the word nuclear in this context implies that WMD's did exist in Iraq and therefore support the President's original assertion for going to war. The vast majority of citizens will not understand the subtle difference and the media will not be party to educating them should this story find legs.

All in all, I'm excited to see that Kerry didn't fall flat on his face. Despite the fact that I didn't support him in the Democratic primaries, I certainly feel that he would be a better President than George W. Bush.


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