Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Woman's View of Last Debate

Bush won the last one decisively, Cheney won his very decisively, the second debate was a draw, but with a strong comeback surge by Bush, and Bush was absent at the first debate, which nevertheless cost Kerry the "Global Test" soundbite. Those are the facts, ma'am.

Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America has written a review of the final debate.


The debate was solidly Bush’s victory because of three very decisive and pivotal turning points.

(1) First and foremost, the last question about the women in the candidates’ lives was a knock out blow –– Bush clobbered Kerry. Kerry fumbled with lame humor about “marrying up” and spoke dispassionately about his mother’s final, impersonal, words about “integrity.” (Was she worried about that in regard to her son? It certainly was a bit late to give him ethical instruction at that point.) And, like Dukakus’ answer about theoretical rape, Kerry treated the question with appalling emotional distance. Most women would be furious and deeply disappointed in that answer if they were in Teresa’s shoes! Bush, on the other hand, answered very personally with obvious deep affection and love for his wife and daughters. There is not a woman in America who wouldn’t respond to that kind of remark from her husband or a daughter who wouldn’t be pleased to hear her father talk about her the way Bush talked about his. I believe the election could very well hinge on that one response because most of the undecided voters are women. Further, people in the battleground states know sincerity when they see it. They can’t relate to a cold, impersonal answer like Kerry gave to the “women in your life” question and that question is immensely important to women, couples and families.

(2) Bush also scored big on the question about his religious faith. He answered in very personal terms about what his faith means to him and how it sustains him. American people resonate with that kind of sincerity, especially the fact that the president acknowledged the power of prayer and his appreciation of the fact that he “feels” the prayers of the thousands of people who pray specifically for him. Americans also appreciate the service of true believers who are the “armies of compassion.” They also recognize that freedom truly is a “gift of the Almighty.” Those acknowledgements not only provide “calmness in the middle of the storm” for the president; the fact that the president believes those essential things also provides “calmness” for the nation’s citizens who are living uncertain and stressful lives after 9/11. Kerry’s rather “political” answer about “differences in how we live out” faith fell flat and his forced “diversity” (talking about receiving a Native American blessing recently) was just too politically correct for a question that was essentially personal.

(3) Finally, President Bush had the only memorable line of the debate –– his remark that “there’s a mainstream in American politics and you [Kerry] sit right on the far Left bank.” The president went on to say that Kerry’s “record is such that Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts.” Throughout the debate, the President hammered home the fact that Kerry is all “rhetoric” without a “record” to back it up. The weaknesses in Kerry’s rhetoric were reinforced by CNN’s coverage of the debate. They promised in Wolf Blitzer’s pre-debate remarks that they would have a “fact-check” that would be the most progressive and far-reaching of any previous program. Turns out, Bill Schneider had only one item for President Bush. The cable network contrasted the president’s debate remark about Osama bin Laden with his March 13, 2002 remark that Osama wasn’t that important. The problem is that they showed the whole context of the president’s remarks which made it clear that the president thought Osama wasn’t a threat because his henchmen were getting caught and the whole network was being disabled. Then, Schneider, in a sort of “oh, by the way” treatment, highlighted three major factual distortions made by John Kerry.

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I would only add that another memorable line of Bush's was "A plan is not a litany of complaints!" The whole article is worth reading.

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