On the one hand, I'm glad the debates are over. Last night I wasn't as enthusiastic about listening to the debate as I was in the others. But on the other hand, I am glad that the GOP negotiators accepted the Kerry team's request for three debates, as this was Bush's best performance so far.
And this brings us to the irony of these debates. The Bush team wanted to have the foreign policy debate first, as they thought that it would bring out the best in their candidate. The Kerry team wanted three debates, as they thought that their candidate would shine in all three. Both camps miscalculated.
The question for Republicans is this; was last night's performance by the president too little too late? If he looses this election, which is very possible, blame will center on that first debate.
So yes, Bush won last night. It was his best performance to date. If I sound unenthusiastic it is because I am getting really worried about this election.
Republicans got rolled in the selection of moderators this year. Bob Schieffer was the worst of all of them. He threw softballs to Kerry all night long.
The only good moderator this year was Gwen Ifill in the VP debate. Republicans simply must stop accepting people like Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer. If we can't get someone like Brit Hume, how about a panel? That way at least one or two of them will be fair.
Is what I and a million other gun owners across the country yelled to their TVs after hearing this
from Senator Kerry
I believe it was a failure of presidential leadership not to reauthorize the assault weapons ban.
I am a hunter. I'm a gun owner. I've been a hunter since I was a kid, 12, 13 years old. And I respect the Second Amendment and I will not tamper with the Second Amendment.
But I'll tell you this. I'm also a former law enforcement officer. I ran one of the largest district attorney's offices in America, one of the ten largest. I put people behind bars for the rest of their life. I've broken up organized crime. I know something about prosecuting.
And most of the law enforcement agencies in America wanted that assault weapons ban. They don't want to go into a drug bust and be facing an AK-47.
I was hunting in Iowa last year with a sheriff from one of the counties there, and he pointed to a house in back of us, and said, "See the house over? We just did a drug bust a week earlier, and the guy we arrested had an AK-47 lying on the bed right beside him."
There are so many things wrong here it's hard to know where to start.
For one, he sees the Second Amendment as being designed to protect the rights of hunters. This is completely mistaken. The Seconed Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. Nothing.
Senator Kerry also misunderstands, perhaps deliberately, the definition of "assault weapon"
Dave Kopel explains
The AK-47 (an automatic rifle) is not and never has been illegal; but it is very severely regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which covers automatic firearms. The (now-expired) 1994 Clinton ban on so-called "assault weapons" had nothing to do with automatic weapons, including the AK-47. The ban applied to about 200 firearms with a military appearance, yet had nothing to do with real automatic military weapons. Kerry makes a big deal about being a hunter (he wants to "hunt and kill terrorists," supposedly), but the "assault weapon" ban was about the cosmetics of ordinary guns, not about automatics, as I detailed for NRO.
And as I explained in a previous post, the term "assault weapon" is used as a "scary word" to frighten people. It has little legal or technical meaning.
Once again Kerry trotted out the line about how the president allegedly "rushed" to war. He didn't waste any time about it, either. In his very first answer he said
I believe that this president, regrettably, rushed us into a war, made decisions about foreign policy, pushed alliances away.
The fact is that he did not choose to go to war as a last result.
The "Last Resort" justification comes from Just War Theory
. And it is entirely legitimate. We should not "rush to war". But what exactly does this mean? The time required between diplomacy and other actions and outright warfare is a judgement call.
As a theoretical, one can always say that we should "give diplomacy more time." We could have done this in 1991. Most of the Democrats in Congress, Kerry included
, wanted to give sanctions more time. They claimed that we were "rushing to war" then. But we could not have kept our 500,000 man army in Saudi Arabia for long waiting. There is a military "window of opportunity" before logistical concerns require the troops to be removed. It was a a case of use them or loose them. And does anyone doubt that Saddam would still be in Kuwait today had we delayed?
Likewise with the recent invasion of Iraq. This is not the place for a full discussion, however, as I have done that in an earlier post
. As Jay Nordlinger
says this morning, " It was the slowest rush to war in history." I count the time as starting from the end of the Gulf War, when Saddam was put on notice that he had to obey the terms of the cease-fire or else. Kerry and the other liberals use as their start date sometime in 2002, when Bush decided to hold Saddam accountable for his years of flouting 16(?) UN resolutions.
Gaffe of the Night
says that this was the worst moment for either candidate last night, and I tend to agree (but see below)
Kerry made the gaffe of a lifetime in his answer to Bob Schieffer’s last question. “Well I guess all three of us are lucky men who married up.” The second those words passed his lips, his face flushed and his face twisted into a self-horrified grimace.
He tried to laugh his way out of it, but the man simply cannot tell a joke.
The Other Gaffe
That is, the one that everyone was talking about last night and this morning
SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, let's get back to economic issues. But let's shift to some other questions here. Lynn Cheney
Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice? (the president responds by saying that he doesn't know)
SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?
KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.
was decidedly less than pleased. See story here
Best Put Down
Dan Rather must have choked on his pretzel when he heard this from the president
In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about — oh, never mind.
And to think that Bob Schieffer was from CBS.
No doubt Bush will be savaged by the mainstream media for his comment. But who cares? And did you notice how much Schieffer quoted news organizations in his questions?
Kerry's Record in the Senate
Oh wait, he doesn't have one. At least not a record of doing anything.
The president finally pointed out that Kerry was "Senator Do-Nothing" for twenty years.
He introduced some 300 bills and he's passed five
Kerry tried to counter
Once again, the president is misleading America. I've actually passed 56 individual bills that I've personally written and, in addition to that, and not always under my name, there is amendments on certain bills.
The truth (as explained on Fox News last night) is that of the 56 bills that Kerry is referring to, 51 never became law. They were either vetoed by the president or died (the president can simply kill legislation by not signing it. Most of the time, anyway. It is a bit complicated)
Amnesty for Illegal Aliens
Here's what George Bush said on the subject
Now, it's very important for our citizens to also know that I don't believe we ought to have amnesty. I don't think we ought to reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. And we ought not to crowd these people ahead of them in line
Ok, makes sense. Then it was Kerry's turn
...we need an earned-legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of the shadows.
This is "nuance" for "I'm in favor of letting illegal aliens become citizens"
Ok, enough from me
Let the comments begin!