September 30, 2004

Quick impressions:

Kerry should have made much more hay of the fact that the insurgency is causing serious havoc right now, and that Bush seems to be in denial and powerless to do anything about it. That's the one fact that Bush can't get around, and it's pretty clear proof that "more of the same" is failing. When Bush said, "The terrorists are streaming in Iraq because they hate freedom," Kerry should have said, "I know why they're fighting. That's not the point. The point is that you're not stopping them." Also, Bush's figures on how many troops were trained were wildly off.

Overall, Bush seemed whiny and jittery to me, but I'll readily concede bias on this point. Kerry seemed very calm and forceful. But again… Admittedly, some of Kerry's answers seemed sub-optimal, and I would have focused less on the allies aspect and more on the fact that Bush has failed on the ground, but presumably the allies bit is the one area where most people know Bush is vulnerable. I dunno.

Nuclear proliferation, I think, was a winner for the Dems. Kerry put a much-neglected issue on the table, and pretty clearly showed how Bush had screwed up. Bush's answer seemed to be, "Uh, me too. I think nukes are bad. Oh! And, uh, I'm trying, I really am…"

By and large, I think Kerry has handled Iraq questions badly during the campaign, but tonight I started to have faith that he knows what he's doing.
-- Brad Plumer 11:24 PM || ||