Friday, October 01, 2004

CNN polls show Kerry won debate
Both the scientific and unscientific polls done by CNN show that Kerry won the first presidential debate decisively. The internet poll has it at 71-22 Kerry, with well over a million votes. Just like Al Gore, the collected Kerry hosed Bush on substance, but unlike Gore, Kerry managed not to do anything annoying during the course of the debate. He sounded calm and presidential, whereas the president was petulant, whiny, and as always, utterly inarticulate, with the exception of his scripted closing remarks.

Watching the debate unfold, I thought that Bush was doing so poorly that even a partisan Republican could see what a disaster it was for the president. And I was right. The pitiful spin coming from the right -- that it was a draw because Kerry simply won the debate and didn't score an election-ending knockout -- stretches credibility beyond the breaking point. No one is going to put an election in the bag with a single debate. What Kerry did was prove to the few undecided voters left that he isn't some inscrutable intellectual bereft of gravitas, but rather a serious man with a serious critique of the administration. Bush's performance reminded me of Bart Simpson falling over and getting into "tantrum position" at the Springfield Mall. It was one of the most unpresidential performances I've ever seen by a major-party candidate for president.

If this performance doesn't put Kerry back into a dead-heat with Bush, then nothing will.


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