Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Third and Final Presidential Debate

Debate coverage is pretty exhausting...but this is a great note on which to end. This is by far a Victory for President Bush. Bill Kristol was even excited about it and he always has something he would like to see Bush say. In fact, after last time I said to Bill (through the TV of course) "Bill, you'll just never be happy, will you?" But tonight, he was. Hugh Hewitt agrees with using Kristol as a semi-metric in this regard and he has his scorecard up. And, here is the full debate transcript.

But here's my rundown:

1. Homeland Security Searches
Kerry/Edwards keeps talking about the amount of searches that are not conducted - either in travel or in the mail, ports, etc. Does any one really think that Bush is deliberately not searching these places and trying to make the country less safe? Things are improving in security, the lines at the airport tell you that. There will always be possible improvements, but to say that we will search every package is to grind the economy to a halt.

2. Bin Laden
Yup, it came up in the domestic debate in the first question. Kerry alluded to Tora Bora and said that Bush "outsourced the job." We've covered this over and over again. First, the Afghans worked with the American forces, which is admirable. Second, the war is not just about Osama bin Laden. It is about terrorists all over the world and the states that support them. President Bush said tonight that he has a comprehensive strategy for the safety of America and he is putting into practice right now.

3. Question the Ranger wanted to see...
"Senator Kerry, what is your plan to allow paralyzed people to walk again?"
No questions about Stem cells tonight. Was Schieffer protecting Kerry from falling into the trap of promising widespread healing?

[Real time sidenote: Quote from Don Evans Secretary of Commerce:
"President Bush wants to sign the front of your check, John Kerry wants to sign the back of your check" ]

4. Kerry's health care plan
Did you catch that it's not a government-run plan? Well, it's government something. EIther Government run or government sponsored or government directed. However he wants to phrase it, the government is involved. It's still 3rd party payment which, as the president stated tonight, is a major cause of the high health care prices. Moreover, Kerry talks about people buying in. So if people will have to pay for this, what is stopping from paying for it now? As a person who is just a couple years out of college I have met many people who have chosen not to have health insurance because they feel they don't need it. I am unemployed and I pay approx. 77 dollars a month for insurance. I have 1000 deductible but a main purpose of insurance is to bargin the health care providers to charge less money. People don't know that there is affordable health insurance availble. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of that ignorance is due to the fact that democrats keep talking about the health insurance problem and how it's so expensive. It's time for them to be straight with the american people, not start a new government run/sponsored/directed program. Whichever term he's certainly subsidized by tax payers.

5. Jobs v. Education
This is (at least) the 3rd debate (including VP debate) where the Kerry/Edwards team seems surprised that the President talked about education when on the topic of jobs. Education leads to better jobs. I don't think that everyone is meant to go to college, some people just follow other career paths. But public education is also important either way and a reformed education system will help decrease unemployment.

6. Corporations
This came up in a question concerning the fact that the President does not have much control over jobs and the economy. I agree. However, after previously blasting President Bush for the recently passed corporation tax reductions he said that he would lower the corporate tax rates. This is new. What's up with that?
There was a good line by the President in this question
He said he wanted to "stand side by side with the citizens of America to help them realize their dreams."
Ownership society. Freedom through prosperity and democracy.

7. In Defense of Marriage...
The President was very strong in answer on this topic. He emphasize the need to treat people with tolerance, respect and dignity, but in that we shouldn't have to change our views on the sanctity of marriage. He mentioned the problem of activist judges and that we need to "allow citizens to participate in the process."
This is very important, especially after what happened in Lousiana when a single judged overruled something that was voted on by 80% of the people. The Consitution is a product of the citizens and their state legislatures, and it should continue to be so.
What's Kerry's response? "We are all God's children" and an outright mention of Dick Cheney's daughter. That move was reprehensible when John Edwards did it and it continues to be so tonight. Unbelievable.

In Ohio, Issue 1 is an amendment supporting the sancity of traditional marriage. If Kerry had his way, that vote would not matter because a few judges could decide instead.

8. Culture of Life and the Surpreme Court
Kerry invokes his Catholicism here and calls his position on abortion an "article of faith" which is odd because certainly people with no religious faith are also against abortion.
He flat out said that he disagreed with the Catholic church as being against politicians who are not against abortion.
He said he would defend Roe v. Wade and not allow judges to change it. What I find interesting about that is that judges decided Roe v. Wade in the first place, what makes the decision from that group of judges more valid than a decision from a future group of judges?
The President wants to reduce the number of abortions in America and support a culture of life.
Seven questions later, this came up again when Bush said that he would not have a litmus test and Kerry said about that he would not appoint a judge that is against Roe v. Wade. So, as I noted and the President said "[Kerry] does have a litmus test" for judicial appointments.
Also, Kerry thinks abortion is a Constitutional right?? What's up with that???

9. The Draft, Active Duty Forces, the National Guard
Kerry proposes to add 2 active duty divisions and double the number of special forces. How? Does he think that he will magically encourage people to join the military? Or...will he give them more incentives, which means more money...which means more taxes.
Kerry mentioned Osama again and pledged to form "real alliances" blah blah blah as if the alliances we have now are somehow artificial - does Spain think so? It was very real to Spain before they pulled out due to a terrorist attack!

The President does well here by reminding us about Kerry's "Global test" idea. Kerry weakly defends it, coining a new phrase "Truth Standard" and lays out his best hypothetical scenario for going to war.
Bush Response: We had this scenario in 1990 before the Persian Gulf War and Senator Kerry voted against it.
I completely agree.

10. Assault Weapons
Kerry said it was a "failure of Presidential Leadership to not re-authorize the assault weapons ban." Huh? He would have signed it. He said so then, and he said so tonight. But the Congress didn't want to pass it because it's a hot button issue that a lot of constituents in those congressional districts do not support.

11. Kerry Campaigns for Daschle
In a question about unification of the country he talks about a hug between President Bush and Tom Daschle, a hug that is playing on pro-Daschle in South Dakota in his Senate bid against John Thune. He follows that up by invoking John McCain.
To his credit, the President jumped on that and let everyone know that McCain may be Kerry's friend, but he's voting for President Bush because he knows that Kerry is about "retreat and defeat in Iraq."

12. Closing Statements
Kerry fought for our country as a young man.
President Bush believes in the "ability of liberty to transform societies, to convert a hostile world to a peaceful world."

This was meant to be a debate on domestic issues, and for large part, that's what it was. Kerry was presumed to be the favorite and everyone was concerned that ending on domestic issues would be a problem for the President. Those concerns were unnecessary. The President shined on domestic answers and gave great arguments for his positions. As Hugh says tonight,
Sleep easy, America. W for four more years.