October 13, 2004

Domestic debate

Worst moment of the debate: "Senator Kerry keeps mentioning John McCain, but McCain's supporting me!! He's mine!! Mine!!" Holy hell.

So who won? Well gosh, I certainly don't know how to score these things. To be fair, Kerry was a lot more dishonest in this debate than he has been in previous debates. Mostly on little things, but still. On Affirmative action: How exactly do you set government policy for affirmative action without quotas? On gun control: The AK-47 was never covered under the assault rifle ban. On outsourcing and Chinese currency manipulation: Kerry either doesn't know what he's talking about or pandering, and hopefully the former. On education: NCLB doesn't necessarily need more money, though it certainly needs to be properly implemented. And so on.

That said, Kerry has always been right on the four biggies: health care, the deficit, the minimum wage, and inequality. Bush, meanwhile, outright lied about health care. Yes, Kerry's program puts more children into Medicaid, and yes Medicaid badly needs revamping, but Kerry's absolutely right: Under Bush's "do-nothing" plan many of these children will eventually end up receiving some sort of government-funded care at a higher cost to taxpayers. And Kerry's health care proposals certainly don't alter doctor-patient relationships in any way shape or form. So that's that. Meanwhile, Bush is not at all credible on the deficit—Hey why hasn't he vetoed a single spending bill?; or on wage inequality—his minimum wage proposal would allow states to opt out, which is entirely worthless.

So on the merits, a clear win for Kerry; but he made too many gaffes and distorted too many facts to get a free pass from the media this time around, I think. Although Bush's bin Laden line will no doubt get some play, I guess. So... should we call it a draw?

Update: Mais non say the polls, Kerry wins by a nose! Well, whatever. What good are pundits anyway?
-- Brad Plumer 11:24 PM || ||