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Recounting the Debate with Baseball on my Mind

It's October 1st, people. Even though it's just 32 days before the election, baseball is heavy on my mind. For some of us lucky fans, October is Baseball Month. Was my president as triumphant as my baseball team? No, not at all. But neither was his opponent. Neither one clinched the division with this one, although some Bush haters (who can be as rabid as Yankee haters) would have you think otherwise. Atrios, who I see as the Johnny Damon of the blogosphere (that would mean hated by everyone but his sycophant fans), had an open thread titled Goodbye George Edition. Goodbye? So very cocky. That's like a Red Sox fan saying "Yankees suck, we're gonna kick your ass!" while they're still five games out of first. I don't see how the Kerry fans (or anti-Bush crowd, depending on your view) can call this a decisive, sweeping, grand, overwhelming, election grabbing win for their candidate. And let me make this statement here before I go any further: Bush did not win the debate. But he did not lose, either. Stay with me. Most people have called it a draw by now and I tend to agree. I can't see eye to eye with the Bush voters who declared a victory any more than I can agree with the Kerry supporters that he rounded the bases and tagged home. If you want to insist Kerry hit a home run, then it was an inside-the-park job, one that let Kerry reach the plate only because the fielders were too slow to react. There's a big difference between that and slamming a bat-cracker into the upper deck. Here's the thing about this debate - the important thing. It's not going to change a single mind. Neither candidate will see a bounce in the polls. In fact, it's a good bet that at the water cooler today people will be talking about the Yankees or The Apprentice, and if they are talking about the debate, the conversation will revolve around John Kerry's tan or George Bush's smirk. It's not that people don't care about issues; they do. I just don't think that anyone besides self-described pundits (self included) and the die hards of either candidate's camp would bother to watch the whole thing. And if they are relying on the media to tell them who won, they're going to come up with a tie. That's the great thing about baseball. No ties. There's always a clear winner. Maybe they should have the media sit in the front row of the debate with scorecards (much like this one). Then we could know immediately how the debate was scored and, if there is a tie, we could force the opponents into a shoot out. Maybe throw them U.S. History questions in rapid succession. Or see who could balance a pencil on their nose the longest. It would certainly be more interesting than listening to things we've heard a thousand times before. I'm going to concede something that will drive some of my readers crazy: I do not think John Kerry sucked. While I still don't want him as my president, I'm not going to light myself on fire if he wins. Look at it this way: He's still the Red Sox to me, and not the Mets. I could deal with the Sox winning the World Series some day. But if the Mets won, I would set myself on fire. Al Gore is the Mets in this analogy, by the way. So maybe it wasn't a draw, after all. Kerry needed to be Bernie Williams last night, to walk up to the podium and knock one the hell out of there. It wasn't just a home run. It was the Yankees' 100th win of the season. It clinched their seventh AL East title in a row and it was the teams' 241st home run of the season, setting a franchise record. It was also their 61st comeback win of the season. And that's what Kerry needed. An extraordinary win. The onus is always on the team who's playing catch up and sometimes a win is not just enough. You need a decisive win to give you the momentum you so desire to carry you through the playoffs. I don't think the champagne flowed in the Kerry clubhouse last night. That's not to say the Bush clubhouse was celebratory. They have to know they were lucky to get out of Miami with Kerry having scored a whimper rather than a bang. Sometimes you just have to wait until the morning after to tally up your runs, hits and errors. You review the boxscore and think, well that wasn't as bad as it seemed last night. Maybe that wasn't an error after all. Maybe that ball I thought was foul was really fair. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Unlike baseball, the umps can change the calls in debates. The media can spin a play this way or that and a fan or player can go crazy from reading all the different takes. Sometimes, you just turn to your teammates and say, be honest, how did I do? Well, it's gotta suck when your manager is caught on tape saying that you kissed your sister. Some people will call a tie a loss for Kerry, a victory for Bush. I'm not sure about that. I think at tie is just that, a tie. The standings stay the same. Perhaps it was a moral victory for Kerry, in that he proved he could look presidential at times. I don't see how the Bush haters (not so much the Kerry fans, I'm talking about people that will go see a team that's playing the Yankees just so they can yell Yankees Suck!) can be doing a victory dance. The champagne bottles have uncorked themselves over at Atrios's place. Kerry may have "won," but it wasn't decisive enough to be called anything more than a tie. Bush needs to shore up his defense and maybe work on his swing a bit before the next debate. And Kerry needs to practice going for the long ball. If he swings for the seats instead of the outfield the next time, the maybe his fans can start doing the Tomahawk chop. No matter how you slice it, this series is going to be close. I'm hoping that Bush can smack a few long balls to put a little distance between himself and Kerry. It all comes down to which guy will be Mr. October. My money is still on my favorite team and I'll be wearing the jersey and waving my team flag around until the fat lady sings. It's still my impression -and my hope - that when that lady does sing, it will be a farewell song to Senator Kerry, but I'm a stalwart when it comes to these things. This Monday Morning Quarterback is going to read the boxscore again. Sometimes, as I'm doing now, you can see the performance of your team in a different light by studying the card. I may not feel triumphant today, but I don't feel like my team lost, either. --- Allah has a massive round up of blogpsheric reaction.

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» "All right...We'll call it a draw" from CaptainNormal.org
Know-nothings, pre-Enlightement thinkers, blinkered true believers and other good lil' Party Members in the blogosphere and the right-wing controlled corporate media are spinning like crazy, trying to portray Dubya's performance last night as anything ... [Read More]

» http://www.allahpundit.com/archives/001037.html from Allah Is In The House
The Commissar e-mails to say "Kerry on points, but he needed a knockout." RLS agrees: "Kerry has drawn no blood tonight and he is the one who had to." More to come as people weigh in. If you want your... [Read More]

» Holy "NEWS"feed, Batman! from Who Tends the Fires
The Word for the Day is: "Eloquent Nonsense" Atta boy, Luther! Umm... why is the DailyKos showing up under the Google News tab as a "News" source? Oh - that librul media. Gotcha. Did Kerry cheat during the debate? Ummm...... [Read More]

Comments

"that would mean hated by everyone but his sycophant fans"

That's Johnny Damon? You really do live in a Yankees echo chamber. You're describing Jeter. Or A-Rod. Or the entire Evil Empire. Not the beloved Johnny D.

Agreed, Bush missed some hanging curve balls that could have been bashed into the bleachers and a la Bernie and put the game away. Like the bit about the International Criminal Court.

"If I had signed onto the ICC, my opponent would be sitting in the dock at the Hague right now as a war criminal. All they'd have to do is play that tape of him admitting his guilt and he'd be locked up lickety split."

Agreed. It was a tie. I had Kerry with a small edge, but only on the on-camera reaction to the other speaker. That wasn't enough to make it a win for either side (kinda like having one more hit than the other team with a tie score).

Kerry gave Bush at least two campaign ads:

"Global Test" and, about U.S. bunker-busters "I will shut that program down!"

Did Bush provide Kerry with ad fodder? I don't recall anything substantive, but I could be wrong.

I think Kerry won the "first impression" tally, but I think Bush will end up the winner on substance.

Finally, I can't believe after a full column of baseball analogies Michele calls herself a "Monday Morning Quarterback" in the last graph! Ow! Fouled that one right off the ol' foot... ; )

I believe that the term Monday Morning Quarterback transcends football. It has taken on greater meaning in the American venacular.

So there.

I mostly agree with Michele, but think to the small extent any people who haven't been paying attention to the election or the war watched, Bush probably came out ahead by a little. (Yeah, Kerry might have "won on points," but no one really gives a crap about any points other than votes?)

I think Kerry's problem (and that of the whole DU/MoveOn/Moore agenda he's more or less echoing) is that most people not already in that camp have moved beyond thinking in "pro-war"/"anti-war" terms. Now, it's a choice between pro-victory and defeatism. And Kerry still looked way too much like he was on the defeatist side.

There's a great line from "Babylon 5," on the eve of a huge galactic war between two godlike races that has everybody else forced to choose sides and/or get caught in the crossfire: "The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."

Sometimes Kerry sounds like he's serious about victory, but too often, Kerry's calling for multilateral conferences and pebble summits.

I think most Americans understand this sort of thing, almost instinctively, and Bush made the best points in this area, albeit not as deftly as I might wish (Why is Kerry claiming he's a great coalition builder while insulting our actual allies? "Global Test? WTF???" Hammering at the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" business.)

But ultimately I doubt there'll be any perceptible shift in the polls, or movement away from current trends.

BTW, the more I think about it, the more I really like Bush's reaction to the "global test" thing. It really was pretty much "Global Test? WTF???" - and a very natural honest reaction, not a polished one.

Similarly (though I suspect this part might play differently if you're not on his side), I really sympathized with Bush's exasperated reactions. Seemed like an honest "Do I really have to respond to this asshole?" type reaction, compared to Gore's sighing, which seemed a lot more calculated and theatrical.

First, Kerry's need was not to hit out of the park, but, rather, to put men on base again. The Republican Swift Boat Noise Machine got turned off for the evening, and everybody finally got a look at the real men in a real crisis, and can now draw their own conclusions about personal capacity.

Second, "foreign policy" is always an incumbent's strength--the President can make some, on his own, and with no help from anybody else. So what he does abroad will ALWAYS be his area of best on-base percentage.

The challenger can only criticize. A "draw" to a "narrow win" in this debate is cause for a Kerry celebration.

Third, the mere fact that nobody is riding the church steeple crowing to high heaven about Kerry's "disasterous loss" is by far the most significant sign.

Confronted with the real men, the cartoon characters receed, the scare tactics about the Challenger fade, and we can finally turn to the question of how well the incumbent has ACTUALLY been doing over the past four years.

Would you honestly say he's been doing all that well? Honestly?

Till the fat lady sings. God no, not Rosanne Barr again.

I think it came out a tie. Kerry did't really solidify himself and George was whiney at times. Each agve each other openings that could have been devestating but both missed out on following through. I've seen high school debates that were much better. Maybe in 08' we can have Condi vs Hillary. THAT would be an interesting race, and make for a very good set of debates.

Well, the MSM is already trumpeting it as a Kerry win. Carrying water. But I agree with michele, it won't make any real difference.

Look, aliance is not a dirty word. Bush is seen as a the type of guy that makes the same mistake over and over. The kind of guy that requires his ass to be kissed. The opposite of a 'uniter'.

Kerry looks like the uniter...

Look, aliance is not a dirty word.

No it is not (even when spelled correctly :-)) which is why we have alliances with England and Poland and Italy and Australia and ...

But if you don't have an alliance with France or Germany, I guess all the other ones don't count.

wow. This post and most of the comments read as very pathetic attempts to claim Bush didn't absolutely suck last night. For such a "non-event" you sure wrote a long response. If in the opinion polls asking "who won the debate?" a consistent response by at least 70% of the people was saying "George" - you'd be saying "Good-ye Kerry". You sure wouldn't be saying this debate had no effect on people. Kerry didn't need to hit it out of the park. Kerry needed to show he could behave like a president - put complete sentences together, have class, and offer something different than the crap out of the WH from the last four years. He did those things.
On the other hand, George had that deer in the headlights look frequently. He stammered, didn't have anything to offer but finger pointing and saying, "I'll keep doing whatever it is I' ve been doing, because that's the kinda guy I am..."
I am not alone in saying, I do not want more of the same. The last four years have been the hardest of my life. Do you want a repeat? I doubt many could honestly anwser yes to that, a repeat of net job losses, a repeat of escalating fuel prices, a repeat of losing the respect of the nations of the world, a repeat of senseless wars, a repeat of being lied to about why we're going to war, a repeat of an increase of terrorist attacks around the world.

Keep on message Bush - it seems to be working for you - you'll stay the course right out of the WH.

A draw? You're trying to rationalize last night into a draw? Did any of you see Bush stumble and stutter? Did you see him finish early time and again? Did you see him shrinking down into his podium and look like a little boy?

A draw?

Um, nope, nice try but Bush got soundly thrashed by Kerry last night.

I only wish Kerry had jumped on Bush's bleating about the missile defense system. Oh yeah, terrorists are going to attack us with missiles, yep.

The guy's way out of touch with reality if he thinks an incredibly expensive missile defense system means a damned thing against terrorist attacks (think dirty bomb in a backpack or van detonated in downtown New York).

The best part is that I've got it on Tivo and will be able to go back through it again and again. There are so many gems in here.

Bush had some reasonable responses in the early going but it was readily apparent that he ran out of talking points by his continual retreat to his buzzwords.

Kerry was articulate, Bush was like a broken record. Kerry reached out with a message of hope and freedom, Bush began with more of his culture of fear terrorists at the doorsteps crap.

A tie? Nice try but the only ties in that room were being worn. Bush lost badly.

If the Angels make it to the post-season again, they will own joo, just like always.

Bush didn't "win". Kerry didn't "win" either. We are not electing a Debate Team President. Kerry came off as snarky, condescending and NEVER looked at me. Bush needs to stop saying "we're working hard" a gajillion times.

Bush has been out of touch with reality from day one, and sputtering from day one. I only hope the American public that doesn't pay attention to these things until an election is starting to wake up. For the sake of the world.

Kerry reached out with a message of hope and freedom

Hope? Freedom?

Were you watching a different debate than the rest of us?

SDM,

Are you aware that the DNC sent out a message for supporters to hit all the online "flash" polls to skew the results to Kerry, no matter what had happened? Those polls are meaningless.

Ray, are you aware that Matt Drudge was making excuses for Bush's poor performance on his main page this morning, to wit:
"Bush inner circle suggests Bush visit with Hurricane victims earlier in day was emotionally draining, contributed to 'tired' appearance in debate"

I can't believe anyone would think W won that debate. The smirking and petulant eye-rolling alone speaks volumes.

"I make tough decisions." That's your job; that's what you're supposed to do. Inane.

Big Brother, nope, saw the same thing, got to watch it twice last night. Kerry talked about uniting the world against terrorism, Bush talked about how Kerry can't do it.

Kerry is looking forward, Bush is looking sideways.

Bush sells fear to win votes, Kerry is selling hope.

Nope, we saw the same debate. I just saw an uplifting message where I'm sure you saw lies.

Kerry was confident, Bush tried to hide behind his podium. Kerry spoke clearyl and succinctly, Bush had to battle with himself to find words.

Yuh, a tie!

Just the slant of the comments on this page is evidence enough of who won. Bush supporters are being a lot more quiet than Kerry supporters--quite a rarity on ASV.

If you watched Bush's weak, faltering, repetitive performance last night and saw exactly what you want in a president, then by all means VOTE BUSH. If you looked into his eyes in those many long seconds when he was lost for something to say and you liked the way it made you feel in your gut, then by all means VOTE BUSH.

John Kerry showed knowledge, wisdom, clarity, and resolve last night. You may not agree with his policies but, of the two, he is better equipped to be president.

It may shock Michele, but after last night, a lot more people will be voting FOR Kerry, not just AGAINST Bush.

Big Brother, nope, saw the same thing, got to watch it twice last night. Kerry talked about uniting the world against terrorism, Bush talked about how Kerry can't do it.

That's because he CAN'T do it. It's a pretty fantasy that the world can be "united," nothing more. A good chunk of the world supports terrorism, Johnny. And much more of the world couldn't care less unless the bombs are exploding in their streets.

Does Kerry somehow think France and Germany are going to jump on board if he becomes President? They have already said they won't. Remind me again... why exactly do we need all of these other countries Kerry is claiming he'll bring on board? Do they have massive numbers of troops? Are they as committed to fighting terrorism as we (and our REAL allies) are? Will they pour massive amounts of money into rebuilding Iraq?

Kerry is looking forward, Bush is looking sideways.

What does that even mean? "Sideways." "Forward." Nice campaign slogans, but they have little to do with what is going on in the real world.

Bush sells fear to win votes, Kerry is selling hope.

I'm sorry, that's bull. Kerry, Edwards, and the Democratic party have been recently invoking fear of the draft, despite the fact there is no support for such a move in the Bush administration. I call that "selling fear."

As to the "hope" part, I'd like to hear you spell out EXACTLY what hope Kerry is selling. Please be specific, Johnny.

Nope, we saw the same debate. I just saw an uplifting message where I'm sure you saw lies.

Hmm... you think you might have seen an "uplifting message" because you support Kerry? Is there just, maybe a possibility that's true? Nothing wrong with it if it is, just admit it. I'm a Bush supporter, and I don't think he did all that well last night, but I'm not stupid, either. Kerry didn't do well himself, partly because he doesn't know what he stands for (except "John Kerry should be president.").

Kerry was confident, Bush tried to hide behind his podium. Kerry spoke clearyl and succinctly, Bush had to battle with himself to find words.

I agree that Bush didn't come across well, but I'm not voting for someone based on their public speaking skills. Kerry spun and dodged, spouted talking points, and in general refused to specify how EXACTLY he would fight the war on terror.

I don't want to hear that Kerry will do it "better." I want to hear specifically HOW he will do it better. I don't want to hear about alliances and coalitions with countries that barely have a military and are often hostile to our interests. My attitude regarding allies is much like that of Stalin during WW2 when asked about the Pope: "The Pope? How many divisions has he got?"

Yuh, a tie!

Personally, I think Kerry did a little better than Bush.

Key word, Johnny: LITTLE. He needs to do better if he wants to win, and if you think Kerry won the debate handily I can't help you. I guess we'll see in November, won't we...

Big Brother, thanks for the dialoque. I appreciate the chance to discuss these issues rationally.

First off, the world opinion of the election is that Bush has been ineffective at fighting terror and there is pretty overwhelming global support for Kerry. Bush lost that support because he snubbed the UN openly and said we'd go it alone. And then he went crawling back and asked for help a few weeks ago.

And yes, the EU has a HUGE stake in fighting terrorism, are you kidding? Do you not remember the train station bombing in Madrid? Terrorists aren't targeting the US alone.

And, as Kerry said, just because Bush says it can't be done does not mean that it can't be done. It means that Bush thinks it can't be done and what message does that send to the rest of the world.

Why would it make sense to have a true global coalition? Well, for one, we'd have less US soldiers dying. We'd be sharing the expense of the war. We're in for $200 billion now, how much more will it cost to complete our mission there?

If Bush wins, the costs will never end because of those 12 large military bases being constructed.

Kerry looking forward and Bush looking sideways refers to how each candidate is approaching the world's troubles. Where Kerry is looking to what steps can be taken to secure our country, defeat terror and re-embrace our global allies (come on, the UK and then Poland? as Jon Stewart said, Poland's number 2? What, was Costa Rica busy?). Bush isn't looking forward, he's trying to smear Kerry, trying to make him look like he's waffled. Instead of presenting a clear plan for how to successfully defeat terrorism, he kept on about what Hard Work it is.

He's never been in combat, he has no idea what its like.

Hope, as in the hope of a safer nation, hope as in, working to secure the 600 tons of poorly protected nuclear fuel in the former Soviet Union, hope as in, let's make the world a better place for all Americans, not just the rich. Hope that we can eventually bring our troops home from Iraq.

Bush sells fear, recall Cheney's comments about the likelihood of a new terror attack if Kerry is elected. Recall the constant state of high terror alerts. Bush wants people to be too scared to vote for Kerry, he's trying to scare the masses into sheepish obedience.

Kerry did explain how he was going to defeat the insurgents in Iraq.

Funny you mention the Pope and armies, when the Vatican first gained international power they did, in fact, have the largest military force in Europe.

I don't recall hearing Bush outline how he was going to win the war on terror, I just remember him saying how hard it was many, many times. How is that a plan?

Even Bush's own father counseled against invading Iraq because he knew what a freakin' nightmare it was going to be to get us out of there.

Its not just me who thinks Kerry won the debate by a good margin. Check the Republican sites, read the Allah Pundit Michele linked to. Check out the very muted response from your side. That alone speaks volumes about who won.

>because he snubbed the UN openly and said we'd go it alone. And then he went crawling back and asked for help a few weeks ago

And if he didn't go 'crawling' back, you would still be complaining that he went it alone. You seem to wilfully ignore the fact that the UN was snubbed because they had proved themselves ineffective. A group which has taken to protecting dictators in the world should be listened to regardless of whether they are right or wrong? How many years of holding Saddam at bay is too many? How many resolutions is too many? If anything, you should be criticizing the UN for not doing its job. Not criticizing Bush for doing their job for them. Is it the Democratic position that they should shy away from things that are too hard, too expensive, or too unpopular?

Terrorists bombed Madrid because spains involvement was a problem for them, Spain went ahead with the terrorists request and stopped their part of the hurting. Again is it official policy of the left that when the terrorists are hurting and hitting back, we should stop the pain?

As a European, I can tell you, from my days as a youngster to today, the US has always been viewed as it is today, big mouthed, loud, arrogant and selfish. This isn't a Bush thing.

News for you, this country will never be secure. Homeland security is a myth.

The only place Kerry is looking at with the worlds troubles is to France and Germany and whatever he can do to make himself popular. France doesn't like anyone who isn't French, believe me, I've been one of their neighbors for years. Kerry would prefer to make sure any US actions passes their test before taking it.

How did kerry explain how he would defeat insurgents? A summit? Hah! Great, so the answer to 9/11 should have been another summit? Perhaps they can discuss how to incorporate the tenets of Islam into the constitution? Kerry hasn't explained anything, he has no answers and has plans that he won't release until he gets in the WH.

As for Kerry being 'in combat' perhaps if he signed his form 180, we might get more info on that and see where the truth falls between Kerry and the Swifties.

As has recently been mentioned, the Dems sell fear of the Draft, fear that seniors will end up on the streets without the money to pay their prescriptions. You are definitely on thin ice with that argument.

>That alone speaks volumes about who won.

So does Terry McAuliffe saying it was a tie.

Yes, Kerry winning on style is like beating a paraplegic in a boxing match. We all know Bush is a lousy speaker at times, despite the Left's attempts to raise the bar by claiming he won every debate he ever held while simultaneously being a retarded chimp.

Really, the squirming on the left to somehow eek out a glimmer of hope for this election is amusing.

Kerry still has to answer how he lied about Cambodia, his military records not being released, complaining about lack of troop funding while voting against it, not attending any security council meetings since 9/11, being awol from votes 70% of the time, not releasing his educational transcripts, being the richest guy ever to run for president while claiming to represent the little guy, having a trial lawyer as VP while looking to bring out universal healthcare (why not just send tax money to the lawyers directly and we can skip the trials), covering up for POW's still held in Vietnam, claiming the Vietnam war was a big nothing, and then claiming he was defending his country (so defence of the US is a big nothing now eh John?), claiming Saddam is a terrorist and has committed terrorist acts against his own people and should be removed, and then opposing the actions when we do?
(Yeah, believe it or not, calling Kerry a Waffler is not a smear)

A debate where kerry looks polished does not make these issues go away, and they will still be present when the euphoria over the debates erodes in a few days.

I called bullshit on Kerry's Secret Plan to Win the War months ago. Looks like the French and Germans have decided to pull the rug out from under him too:

"La politique francaise a l'egard de l'Irak n'a pas change et ne changera pas." - Chirac

"We won't send any German soldiers to Iraq, and that's where it's going to remain." - Schroeder

Kerry did a good job of packing coded half-truths into 2-minute bursts, but he's still selling a line of pure nonsense.

Big Brother said:

"...but I'm not voting for someone based on their public speaking skills."

Amen

I think that's about right Michele. The instant polls seem to bear that out. Kerry did not come across as arrogant and aloof, but his positions are incoherent. Bush's positions are quite coherent, but his presentation style is not.

Loved the "of course we can use pre-emptive action if it passes the global test" line. Bush turned that into a stand up double.

But overall, a draw. I'd love it if Kerry would just come out and say what "all the allies" means. But I know why he won't.

Big Brother, thanks for the dialoque. I appreciate the chance to discuss these issues rationally.

No problem. I prefer rational conversation to I WILL DESTROY YOU PUNY HUMAN...

Sorry. Where was I?

First off, the world opinion of the election is that Bush has been ineffective at fighting terror and there is pretty overwhelming global support for Kerry.
World opinion is irrelevant when it comes to choosing our president. I mean, France and Russia were actively trading with Saddam Hussein under the table, the UN had turned the Oil-for-Food program into a multi-billion-dollar scam, and Arab countries were providing aid and comfort to active terrorist groups.

Bush lost that support because he snubbed the UN openly and said we'd go it alone.

Alone? Look, this is one thing I am absolutely sick of hearing. We did NOT go it alone. Australia, England, and other countries provided troops. Other nations provided monetary assistance, still others provided staging areas for troops.

And then he went crawling back and asked for help a few weeks ago.

I don't understand... I thought you WANTED Bush to go to the UN. When he does, you describe it as "crawling back?"

And yes, the EU has a HUGE stake in fighting terrorism, are you kidding? Do you not remember the train station bombing in Madrid? Terrorists aren't targeting the US alone.

I remember the results. Spain withdrew troops from Iraq, as demanded by the terrorists. The rest of Europe (a few countries aside) has not shown the slightest interest in increasing assistance or in making serious efforts to root out their own terrorists.

France in particular is not serious about terrorism. "PARIS, September 27 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) France Monday, September 27, swiftly responded to a US proposal to hold an international conference on Iraq, insisting any such conference ought to discuss the question of whether the US-led forces should withdraw from the country, and should also include representatives of the Iraqi armed resistance."

Also this week, the Iraqi "resistance" massacred several dozen schoolchildren who US troops were giving candy to.

And, as Kerry said, just because Bush says it can't be done does not mean that it can't be done. It means that Bush thinks it can't be done and what message does that send to the rest of the world.

This is one thing that troubles me deeply about Kerry and his supporters. Why is there such an obsession about what the "rest of the world" thinks about us? This constant drumbeat begins to wear on my nerves after a while. The president's job, above anything else, is to defend this country.

Why would it make sense to have a true global coalition? Well, for one, we'd have less US soldiers dying.

EXACTLY what is a "true global coalition?" Which countries should be involved? Would the US be in charge of it, or would it be run through the UN? How many troops would they provide? Johnny, please be specific.

We'd be sharing the expense of the war. We're in for $200 billion now, how much more will it cost to complete our mission there?

As much as it takes, Johnny. That's war.

If Bush wins, the costs will never end because of those 12 large military bases being constructed.

Bases are being constructed? GOOD! That sounds like forward thinking to me.

Kerry looking forward and Bush looking sideways refers to how each candidate is approaching the world's troubles. Where Kerry is looking to what steps can be taken to secure our country, defeat terror and re-embrace our global allies

Arrrggggggghhhhhhh!!! (eyes rolling into back of head)

WHICH ALLIES?!?!?!?!?!? Please tell me which countries we're going to be re-embracing?

(come on, the UK and then Poland? as Jon Stewart said, Poland's number 2? What, was Costa Rica busy?).

Try AUSTRALIA. You do remember them, right? And what about the IRAQIS fighting by our side, right? South Korea has thousands of troops there as well.

This is what pisses me off... Kerry and his supporters sneer at the allies we DO have, then expect Kerry to miraculously produce MORE allies.

Who are we talking about, johnny? France? They're a third-rate power at best. Germany? They barely have a military. Spain again? Not going to happen after the recent election, no matter who is in the White House. Russia? I'd be cool with that, but trust me, I don't think the left is going to be; Russia is a little pissed off right now, and we don't want Iraq handled the way they're handling the Chechens, do we? China? Thanks, guys, but no thanks.

So, c'mon, who are we talking about? The fact is, Johnny, we've GOT the countries we need already. What you are talking about might end with a few thousand more troops, but no more, because most of our "allies" don't have much in the way of military power.

This is a feel-good idea, nothing more.

Bush isn't looking forward, he's trying to smear Kerry, trying to make him look like he's waffled.

Johnny? Alow me to quote Kerry himself:

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."

"If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement, even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act."

"Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president."

Want more? I've got a million of 'em. Face facts, Johnny, Kerry IS a waffler. He's for something when it is popular, against it when it's not.

Instead of presenting a clear plan for how to successfully defeat terrorism, he kept on about what Hard Work it is.

What clear plan? I keep hearing about our "allies," but that's NOT a plan.

He's never been in combat, he has no idea what its like.

Neither had Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Taft, or Wilson. Didn't stop them from being Commander in Chief, including two CiCs of world wars.

Also note that Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon HAD served in combat, yet sent men to die by the tens of thousands in the meatgrinder of Vietnam.

Being in combat is not a requirement of being president. Nor does combat service make a president wise in the use of US military power.

Hope, as in the hope of a safer nation, hope as in, working to secure the 600 tons of poorly protected nuclear fuel in the former Soviet Union, hope as in, let's make the world a better place for all Americans, not just the rich.

Thanks for the class warfare, Johnny. Look, if you want to impress this particular evil conservative, complaining about the rich isn't the way to do it.

Hope that we can eventually bring our troops home from Iraq.

Hope is wonderful. This is war, and the job isn't even close to being done.

Bush sells fear, recall Cheney's comments about the likelihood of a new terror attack if Kerry is elected. Recall the constant state of high terror alerts.

Recall Kerry and Edwards implying a new draft was coming if Bush was reelected. Recall Kennedy invoking a "nuclear 9/11."

Bush wants people to be too scared to vote for Kerry, he's trying to scare the masses into sheepish obedience.

OK, look, I want to be reasonable, but this is paranoia, Johnny. I know it's common to try to paint your opponents as "evil," but can you at least consider that maybe, just maybe, Bush isn't some cartoon supervillian, that maybe he wants what's best for the country, his views and methods are just different than what you agree with?

I don't like Kerry. I don't trust him. I don't think he has a clear reason for running for president, and I don't think he has a strong moral base, BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE HIM EVIL. I don't think he's sitting there plotting and scheming as you seem to think Bush is.

Is it possible, Johnny, that just because you don't like someone doesn't mean they're trying to take over the world?

Kerry did explain how he was going to defeat the insurgents in Iraq.

How?

Funny you mention the Pope and armies, when the Vatican first gained international power they did, in fact, have the largest military force in Europe.

And how long ago was that? I mean, at one time France had the largest military force. And at one time Germany had the greatest military (I'm not a huge fan of Germany military activites, for obvious reasons).

How can they help us today?

I don't recall hearing Bush outline how he was going to win the war on terror, I just remember him saying how hard it was many, many times. How is that a plan?

I agree that he did a bad job spelling it out. Putting words together has never been his strong point. However, Bush's plan is pretty obvious if you've been paying attention to the last couple of years. Kerry's plan seems to be to get a bunch of unnamed countries together in a "real" coalition and then... then...

Well, that seems to be the fuzzy part.

Even Bush's own father counseled against invading Iraq because he knew what a freakin' nightmare it was going to be to get us out of there.

"Getting out of there" is not the goal in war. Victory is. Exit strategies are great, but you're supposed to win first, and despite the CNN style reports we get now, wars are not clean, quick, or easy.

Bush's father was wrong. Of course, after the first Gulf War, WE WERE STILL THERE. We kept troops in Saudi Arabia for twelve frikkin' years, ready to do it all over again, because Saddam Hussein was left in power.

I don't call that an exit strategy.

Its not just me who thinks Kerry won the debate by a good margin. Check the Republican sites, read the Allah Pundit Michele linked to. Check out the very muted response from your side. That alone speaks volumes about who won.

Doesn't matter to me. To me, personally, the debates are irrelevant, because I know who I'm voting for and why. I knew many months ago, and nothing Kerry said changed my mind any more than anything Bush said changed your mind. This "We won/No we won" business is pointless. I'll give Kerry a victory if that's what you want, but he didn't do what he needed to do: knock it out of the park. He hit a single. Both candidates turned in stale, workmanlike performances.

Anyway, I enjoy your posts, even if we disagree, Johnny. Keep up the good work. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got Star Wars DVDs to watch. 'Nite.

Let's see, where to begin. I've never seen a comment that contains so many straw man fallacies, assumed conclusions and wonky logic.

A group which has taken to protecting dictators in the world should be listened to regardless of whether they are right or wrong?
Are you talking about the UN or Bush? Why hasn't Bush allowed even an investigation into the connection between the Saudi royal family and 9/11? Or have you conveniently forgotten that the majority of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi's?

No, I understand your point. You think its wrong for the US to listen to anyone but themselves. Right? Bush didn't even listen to his advisors, the ones he's supposed to listen to. He didn't even heed the words of his own father, who is a far, far more capable man than his son. Bush decided that it was time to charge in and get Saddam, irregardless of the fact that Saddam had nothing at all to do with 9/11.

He perpetrated a fraud on the US and the world and committed our nation to a long term occupancy in a very dangerous land indeed. A land his own father said that there is no exit strategy.

How many years of holding Saddam at bay is too many? How many resolutions is too many? If anything, you should be criticizing the UN for not doing its job.
You want a number? Its not possible. And it doesn't matter, the question is stupid. Impatience on Bush's part launched us into a war that our military wasn't ready for. I do criticize the UN but they aren't the ones running for president in my country.

Is it the Democratic position that they should shy away from things that are too hard, too expensive, or too unpopular?
Um, no. And you demonstrate how little you did pay attention to the debate. Kerry doesn't want to just all of our troops out and pack up and go home and the Middle East turn into a nuclear free for all. Go back and read the transcripts, watch him and listen to what he said.

His stance is that going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do (it was, why go after Saddam before capturing bin Laden? Its utterly ridiculous), our soldiers weren't properly equipped (relax, I'm coming to the $87 billion obfuscation by the Bush camp) and Bush did not form any kind of exit strategy.

It can be inferred that Bush never planned to exit. With 12 big bases being built, he's in it for the long haul. Why? A free Iraq shouldn't need 12 US military bases.

Too expensive? Hell yeah its been too damned expensive. $200 billion in and no end in sight. Are you paying it? Nope. I am. My neighbors are. And it won't end. Ever. We lose out because that money is gone. And as much as $8 billlion cannot be accounted for. Read that again. Eight BILLION dollars cannot be accounted for.

Again is it official policy of the left that when the terrorists are hurting and hitting back, we should stop the pain.
Apparently, for Spain, it was. We don't have the luxury of saying, that's it, we're done, we're going home. We can't or the consequences would be truly horrific. There's no one saying we need to pack up and go, there's plenty saying we shouldn't be there in the first place. There's a very important difference.

The Democrats understand the need to contain terrorist activities. John Kerry said last night that he would hunt the terrorists down and kill them where ever they are.

Saddam Hussein, while a scumbag dictator and filthy pile of shit of a man, didn't have anything to do with 9/11. Going after him was a mistake. But we're in it now and we'll finish it.

As a European, I can tell you, from my days as a youngster to today, the US has always been viewed as it is today, big mouthed, loud, arrogant and selfish. This isn't a Bush thing.
Yes, yes, I know those upstate colonies and their loud manners and all. You may not be willing to face the easily verifiable fact that Bush has damaged the US's global reputation but it is readily apparent from worldwide polls that Kerry is, far and away, the preferred candidate.

News for you, this country will never be secure. Homeland security is a myth.
And you know this how? Back it up. Show me why this country will fail. Yeah, I know that there's no such thing as 100% safe but you'll forgive us for doing damned near everything we can to protect ourselves, won't you? Bush wasn't and isn't doing enough. Kerry has a better plan.

Kerry would prefer to make sure any US actions passes their test before taking it.
Um, yeah, Watch the debate. See how many times Kerry declares that the US will not have its hand stayed by anyone. The idea that Kerry will allow France to make our decisions about national security is utterly ludicrous. The only reason you mention it is because the GOP spin machine has been force feeding it to the world for months. Its crap, its always been crap and always will be crap. The next thing you'll tell me is that Zell Miller really was right and Kerry wants to arm our soldiers with spitwads.

How did kerry explain how he would defeat insurgents?
Bringing other nations back into the war on terror in real numbers and not the token numbers involved now is an incredibly important step in the war. A united front is one helluva lot more menacing than just a few foes facing you.

Great, so the answer to 9/11 should have been another summit?
No. My personal solution to 9/11 was to hunt Osama bin Laden like a fucking dog, capture him, try him and execute him on global television and then start down the list of his associates. Once they're dead or locked up, we go after who ever else is threatening our country,

We DON'T attack a country that had nothing to do with it, based on lies, and entrench our nation in a long, long drawn out war.

As for Kerry being 'in combat' perhaps if he signed his form 180, we might get more info on that and see where the truth falls between Kerry and the Swifties.
You mean like Bush's full disclosure? You mean the full disclosure months ago and they just found another new document that miraculously answers all the questions? Yeah, Okay.

Bush never saw combat. John Kerry served in Vietnam with the Swift Boats. Are you actually disputing these two pretty incontrovertible facts? You're actually trying to insinuate that Kerry never got injured in combat? That, sir, is incredibly stupid.

As has recently been mentioned, the Dems sell fear of the Draft, fear that seniors will end up on the streets without the money to pay their prescriptions.
Fear of a draft for a war where the soldiers' tours of duty are being extended, where the military is suing honorably discharged soldiers to get them back into the military because of stupid technicalities (I'm talking about a particular case here, you may not have heard about it, a man who was in the ROTC in college, served his four years active duty, served his four years in the reserve and was out, out and working in the private sector. Because he failed to sign a mailed update form from the military intentionally resigning his commission, he is being sent back into combat).

So does Terry McAuliffe saying it was a tie.
Show me where McAuliffe says it was a tie.

We all know Bush is a lousy speaker at times, despite the Left's attempts to raise the bar by claiming he won every debate he ever held while simultaneously being a retarded chimp.
One of the primary requirements of a president is the ability to clearly relay his thoughts. I don't know about any conspiracy on the Democrat side to prop him up as something he's not. I see it on the GOP site, making him out to be a war hero, a warrior, a straight talking honest Texan. That incredibly stupid "Mission Accomplished" stunt and the subsequent Bush Aviator Action Hero Doll, yeah, it all comes from the Democrats (not I do not call the Democrats the Left and I absolutely refuse to call the Republicans the Right, its a semantic trick and I refuse to play it).

Really, the squirming on the left to somehow eek out a glimmer of hope for this election is amusing.
You seem to be ignorant of the fact that he's our candidate, he trounced Bush, we're happy about it. Is that good for our campaign? Hell yes. Is that good for America? Hell yes. Is that good for the world? Hell yes.

Kerry still has to answer how he lied about Cambodia.....
Now the straw men get extra thick. You start spitting them out like watermelon seeds. But I'm game, I'll whack them apart for you, not that I expect your position to change one bit. I just want to show you that your "arguments" are nothing more than opinions based on overly repeated soundbites.

Kerry has to answer for his lies about Cambodia, okay, then Bush needs to come completely clean on Iraq, his military service, his drug use, his handing of no-bid contracts for Iraqi reconstruction to a company he has a financial stake in and his VP is still on the board of. They've all got skeletons. Besides, it was 30+ years ago, why is that more important than what Bush is doing to the country now?

His military records not being released. You mean these? Kerry's Records or were you thinking of some other military records?

complaining about lack of troop funding while voting against it
Again, WATCH the debate, listen to what he says. Listen to him. He admits that he mispoke about that particular point. He voted against the funding because Bush didn't have a way to pay for it. Kerry's main point, he mispoke, Bush sent a nation to war, which is more damning?

not attending any security council meetings since 9/11
News to me, Let me see some information (from a reasonably respected media outlet, not Bob's GOP blog) that details this and I'll respond to the allegation.

In fact, much of the rest of your claims are unsubstantiated. You want me to address them, back them up. Show me something that supports your claims. Otherwise you're just blowing hot air.

claiming the Vietnam war was a big nothing, and then claiming he was defending his country (so defence of the US is a big nothing now eh John?)
Again, WATCH THE DEBATE! Your comments either demonstrate that you didn't watch it or didn't pay attention. John Kerry served in Vietnam, he came home and realized that it was a war being fought for the wrong reasons. He exercised his right as an American to voice his opinion about the war. He wasn't the only one.

And last night, Kerry made the distinction between wars and warriors, he acknowledged that the US screwed up on that front in Vietnam. He wouldn't do the same in Iraq.

And trying to prop up that ridiculous straw man that Kerry won't defend this country is just stupid. Find some new material or back up your claims with some facts that demonstrate that Kerry won't defend his home.

claiming Saddam is a terrorist and has committed terrorist acts against his own people and should be removed, and then opposing the actions when we do?
Again, it is readily apparent that you didn't watch or didn't pay attention. Kerry recognized that Saddam was a brutal and awful man who should be removed from power BUT not in the manner that Bush did it. Snubbing the UN, charging in, taking Saddam into custody and expecting that the terrorists would just give up.

Kerry has a better plan for Iraq, one that spreads the costs in both resources and lives.

(Yeah, believe it or not, calling Kerry a Waffler is not a smear)
No? Then let's apply it to Bush. We can't win the war on terror and then we can? Oh wait, here,Sure, Kerry's the one flip-flopping his way through the election!
Bush opposed the McCain-Feingold bill in the 2000 GOP primary, tried to kill it in Congress, and then signed it when it passed. (http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry022102.shtml)
Bush is against a Homeland Security Department; then he's for it.
Bush is against a 9/11 commission; then he's for it.
Bush is against an Iraq WMD investigation; then he's for it.
Bush is against nation building; then he's for it.
Bush is against deficits; then he's for them.
Bush is for free trade; then he's for tariffs on steel; then he's against them again.
Bush is against the U.S. taking a role in the Israeli Palestinian conflict; then he pushes for a "road map" and a Palestinian State.
Bush is for states right to decide on gay marriage, then he is for changing the constitution. (http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/25/elec04.prez.bush.marriage/)
Bush first says he'll provide money for first responders (fire, police, emergency), then he doesn't. (http://www.hillnews.com/news/032603/funds.aspx)
Bush first says that 'help is on the way' to the military ... then he cuts benefits.} (http://www.democrats. org/specialreports/veterans/health.html)
Bush-"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden." Bush-"I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care."
Bush claims to be in favor of the environment and then secretly starts drilling on Padre Island.
Bush talks about helping education and increases mandates while cutting funding.
Bush claims to be for women's rights and then nominates judges who have tried to overturn Roe v. Wade. (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20000703&s=corn)
Bush first says the U.S. won't negotiate with North Korea. Now he will.
Bush goes to Bob Jones University. Then say's he shouldn't have.
Bush said he would demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq. Later Bush announced he would not call for a vote.
Bush said the "mission accomplished" banner was put up by the sailors. Bush later admits it was his advance team.
Bush was for fingerprinting and photographing Mexicans who enter the US. Bush after meeting with Pres. Fox, he's against it.
Bush says he's in favor of adding carbon dioxide as a regulated greenhouse gas. Then Bush said it would not be included after he was elected.
Bush was against Nation Building. ooops Iraq.
Bush-"I'm a uniter, not a divider." Then divides.
Bush was against amnesty for illegal aliens. Now he's for it.
Bush was against Presidents doing an end run around Congress to pack the courts. Then he did it.
Bush said the war would cost $3 billion. Then he asked for 87 billion.
Bush- "We need to go to war with Iraq because their WMDs pose a direct threat to the United States." Bush- "We needed to go to war with Iraq to free the Iraqi people."
Bush implemented No Child Left Behind, then underfunded it by $9 Billion.

Hail to the Waffler in Chief!

A debate where kerry looks polished does not make these issues go away, and they will still be present when the euphoria over the debates erodes in a few days.
Yeah, that's what the GOP is hoping. But there's another debate next week. What happens if and when Bush tanks on that one as well? And the one after?

I apologize for the length of the comment. But there were an awful lot of straw men to knock down.

You all just can't STAND it can you?

YOur guy looked like a supreme ass.

Even if Kerry does not win, it was worth it to just see all this backpedaling, "No, really, there is a pony in this shit, and we are going to MAKE you believe it, it does not matter if all YOU see is shit" mentality.

Alright, I can't, in good conscience, drop another six page comment here.

Big Brother,
It's either got to be distilled down to a couple of issues or taken elsewhere altogether.

Unless Michele gives the okay to keep lofting multipage comments.

Wow. Those are some really long comments. Sorry I'm not going to read them, but I kinda wanted to comment on Michele's post....

Because the most fascinating thing about watching people try to spin the debate in Bush's favor is the incredibly ornate analogies. Knowing pronouncements about tennis and leading in sets as opposed to leading matches. A helpful memoir on poker betting (which I appreciate and will hopefully put to good use). Annotated comparisons to parliamentary debating procedure (which was probably the weirdest comparison). And Michele's extended discussion of in-field homers, season averages, the Mets, the Sox, the Yankees....

Such fascinating and innovative metaphors.
and all so painfully irrelevant.

Watch the debate again and find any segment -- ANY segment -- that suggests to you that the man who is currently our President is up to the job. Find it. Tell me about it. If I somehow missed it, I really want to know about it.

Because at one time I thought Bush would muddle through and we'd be more or less okay. But now, after watching him grapple with complex issues under pressure, I'm genuinely frightened. From what I could see last night, he's incompetent, and I wouldn't trust him as assistant manager...

And Michele, I for one I'm glad you aren't going to light yourself on fire if Kerry wins. "Not currently setting one's self on fire" is where I'd prefer our political debate in this country to be.

Enough of the fire already. It's giving me aggida...

With blessing in hand, here comes the next big old salvo. Apologies in advance for its length. I've tried to edit as best I can going through but there's alot of material here. Sorry if some sentences make no sense because I forgot a key word.

World opinion is irrelevant, this is exactly why the US is taking on 90% of the cost and 90% of the casualties in Iraq.

Yes, they don't choose our president and I am most certainly not even suggesting that the world body has any say in who we Americans vote for. BUT, it does matter who becomes our president because that president needs to be able to work with the world in concert to fight terror.

The War on Terror isn't limited to the US, its all free nations who are targets. Working together to defeat terrorists will end the war faster because its more efficient and smarter to gang up on the terrorists. Strength in numbers, ya know. And its nice when those numbers aren't all US.

No, you're right, we didn't attack Iraq alone, we had England, Poland and Australia there to help out. A coalition of 4 total countries.

George Sr. had 34 countries in his coalition when he went to defend Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Crawling back to the UN, hell yeah he crawled back, he had to eat crow and try to get some international support for his poorly thought out war on terror.

I didn't want Bush to go to the UN, I wanted Bush to stay with the UN. He basically told them to shove it and now its coming back to bite Bush in the ass.

France in particular is not serious about terrorism. "PARIS, September 27 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) France Monday, September 27, swiftly responded to a US proposal to hold an international conference on Iraq, insisting any such conference ought to discuss the question of whether the US-led forces should withdraw from the country, and should also include representatives of the Iraqi armed resistance."

No, you're right, France is alot more concerned with an unprovoked all out attack on a sovereign nation. It may not be a standpoint that you or I agree with (and believe me, I do not like the French, not for a very long time) but they have a point. Iraq posed no imminent threat, Saddam wasn't amassing weapons AND Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

We would be in a very, very different place if Bush had stayed the course in Afghanistan and captured or killed bin Laden. He didn't. He redirected troops from Afghanistan to Iraq.

The Iraqi resistance that attacked those children are reprehensible, there's no doubt about that. But I seriously question the wisdom of distributing candy to children around a terrorist target. I am NOT condoning the actions of the terrorists but I don't think the US forces made an especially good decision in handing candy out to children in the hopes that the terrorists wouldn't blow them up as well. We were wrong, there was yet another horrific atrocity.

Do I have any interest in negotiating with the Iraqi insurgents? Fuck no. Kill every last one of them. I don't want to negotiate with terrorists, I want them killed. That's my negotiation.

This is one thing that troubles me deeply about Kerry and his supporters. and I am equally troubled by this strange desire to go it alone. To shoulder the burden ourselves is stupid, expensive and inefficient. Yes, the president's job is to defend the country, that's not in question. How that defense is enacted is important? Teaming up with the world to fight terrorism does several things. One, the US doesn't incur the vast majority of deaths and expense. Two, without a single main enemy to focus on, the terrorist's energies are diluted, they cannot focus all their fury on the US, they have to focus on the other nations standing alongside us. I don't know about you but I really like the idea of sharing the bull's eye with other countries rather than being all alone (yes, I know, UK, Australia and Poland).

Like it or not, world opinion matters. We do not exist in a vacuum, our actions reflect upon us as a nation.

EXACTLY what is a "true global coalition?" Which countries should be involved? Would the US be in charge of it, or would it be run through the UN? How many troops would they provide? Johnny, please be specific.
I can't tell you what a true global coalition is but I can tell you what it isn't. It isn't the US, the UK, Australia and Poland. It isn't "token" deployments by nations. It isn't the US taking 90% of the casualities, it isn't ignoring UN rules and doing what we want regardless of the consequences and then go back to the UN asking for help.

As much as it takes, Johnny. That's war.

You want to wager our country's future economic well being on a badly planned war? The Gulf War cost in the neighborhood of $70 billion, some $56 billion of that was pledged support from around the world.

How much of this $200 billion is being offset by pledges? Not much at all.

Bases are being constructed? GOOD! That sounds like forward thinking to me.
Bases are permanent occupation signs. You want the US to effectively occupy Iraq forever? What happened to freeing Iraq so they could govern themselves? That's not the goal anymore? Flip flop?

Global Allies

How about significant (i.e. in the thousands) of soldiers deployed from oh, Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Honduras, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, The Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. Is that specific enough? That's the list of coalition forces from the Gulf War. How many of those nations are there in any real numbers now?

How many of those nations saw Bush's lone wolf approach, were rebuffed in the UN after offering support following 9/11 and are now just going to watch the US suffer for its arrogance. Yep, arrogance in thinking that we can win the war on terror by ourselves (sorry, with the UK, Australia and Poland).

Face facts, Johnny, Kerry IS a waffler.
I see, when Bush changes his mind, he's showing dynamic and strategic leadership, when Kerry changes his mind, he's a waffler. See my comment above for a damned big list of easily found flip flops by Bush. Pot calling the kettle black come to mind? Yeah, just a bit.

Neither had Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Taft, or Wilson
No, it didn't stop them. But they relied on the counsel of their advisors, men with long military records who knew what they were talking about. Bush had advisors and refused to listen to them. They told him not to invade Iraq, he did and here we are today.

Thanks for the class warfare, Johnny.
Thanks for totally avoiding the point I was making about nuclear proliferation. Six hundred tons of unsecured nuclear waste is one hell of a lot more important to me than impressing an evil conservative (though I don't think you're evil, nor do I truly think Bush is evil, just incredibly misguided and unsubstantiated).

You want to conversate? You want to discuss these issues? Then discuss the issues, don't pussy foot around about class warfare.

Recall Kennedy invoking a "nuclear 9/11."
Um yeah, there are terrorist groups actively seeking out weapons grade atomic materials. The threat of a nuclear 9/11 rises every day that Bush ignores the problem of nukes getting into the hands of terrorists.

OK, look, I want to be reasonable, but this is paranoia, Johnny.
Paranoia? Its paranoia when Dick Cheney says that electing Kerry will result in another tragedy on American soil? Its paranoia when Bush begins every public speaking event with how determined the terrorists are to kill every single last one of us.

Just because you're paranoid does not mean they're not after you.

The Pope and Vatican Armies
Long, long before any of us were born did the Vatican wield real power. But I'm confused, I thought you said we had all the help we needed, why do we need church soldiers all of a sudden?

I know Bush isn't some cartoon supervillain. Please do not insult my intelligence. I'm fully capable of recognizing that Bush thinks he's doing the right thing. But he thinks these things in spite of his advisors, he comes to these conclusions in a vacuum. He doesn't consider the exit strategy, he doesn't consider that, hey, maybe it makes sense to wrap up the one task, catching bin Laden, before starting on the next one.

Bush made the colossal error of diverting our attention from bin Laden. They let him get away when he had been cornered. They let him get away to take a despicable man who posed no imminent threat to this nation.

And when Bush was asked if he'd do it again, he said he would. Knowing all that we know now, no WMD's, no imminent danger to the US, he would still forget about bin Laden and go after Saddam. That's not consistency, that idiocy. Only the dimmest of fools would repeat the same course of action that's led us to where we are today.

He can't admit he made mistakes. Can't or won't, there's no real difference. He's made many, many errors.

Bush's father was wrong.
Oh really? I'm pretty sure that Brent Scowcroft, his National Security Advisor and co-author of A World Transformed, would beg to differ. And, hate to say it but I'm thinking that they've each got just a little more insight into the world of global politics than you. But hey, if you're really Casper Weinberger or Colin Powell then now is the time to tell me.

Here's the Snopes take on it. Here is Amazon's reviews page. What, not highbrow enough, okay then, here's the New York Book Review of it.

Had enough of that? Your Bush was wrong. Its no great fault to admit he made a mistake but he increasingly looks like a fool for not admitting. I keep hearing his posture during the debates being referred to as childish, petulant, slumped.

To me, personally, the debates are irrelevant, because I know who I'm voting for and why.
Well that makes quite alot of the debate here irrelevant although I'm not an undecided voter either. I also know who I'm voting for and why. Its been fun going over the debate though. See you next Saturday!

No ties? What about Selig's All-Star botch?