I could kick George Bush's ass. I know it.
In a debate, that is. I'm quite certain I could kick Bush's ass in a good old fashion brawl, as well, but I'm not worried about that right now.
Yep, as I watched the first debate tonight, all I could think about was how easily I could squash Bush in a debate if given a chance. I'd leave him speechless, stammering, searching for words as he awkwardly and predictably made his way back to his two or three money quotes that resurface again and again, over and over, only in varying forms. Man, Bush is so ripe for the plucking! It's so...so...so right there! And that's the most frustrating part about watching Kerry, not only in the debate, but in this election campaign as a whole. It seems he eternally leaves you waiting for the paralyzing one-liner that would reduce Bush to the intellectual neophyte that he is.
But that one-liner never comes.
However, in the initial debate at least, Kerry did a nice job, borderline excellent. I realize I'm far from unbiased on the topic of Kerry vs. Bush, but I think it's fair to say that Kerry definitely emerged the winner. He was calm, articulate, and, for what seems the first time, fairly straightforward with the American people. This is not to say that he has been deceitful in the past, but that he has a tendency to be long-winded and to speak in circles, often leaving listeners to think, "Well, I guess he answered the question, but I'm not exactly sure what he said." Basically, he was understandable. He made points. And these points were clear. He had his answers, and he offered them. For Kerry, this doesn't seem to come easy. He's not exactly a straight-shooter, more an aloof intellectual.
Tonight, however, he left the outcome never in doubt.
Maybe this is the Kerry we've heard about. Maybe this is the Kerry renowned for a big finishing kick in past campaign races. Most importantly, maybe this is the Kerry that his supporters have been anxiously awaiting.
I mean, he won. He struck some proverbail blows. His camapign is on the upswing. Strike a blow for the good guys. Finishing kick, indeed!
Meanwhile, Bush was his usual self. At the first hint of trouble he predictably resorted to the stubborningly overplayed themes he relies upon such as:
1) "How can my opponent say 'wrong war, wrong place, wrong time' and expect to support our troops? How does that make our troops feel?"
(To this I would say: Our troops are probably too concerned with dodging bullets and getting the hell out of Iraq to give a shit about what some suit in Washington says.)
2) "How does someone who changes positions so much expect to be Commader in Chief?'
(To this I would say: Uh, George, you've been going back to this 'flip flop' thing for months now. Yeah, we get it. BTW, Kerry has already explained himself over and over again on this issue. I mean, is this all you got or what?)
3)"Terror this! Terror that! A world without a strong America will drift towards tragedy."
(To this I would say: North Korea. Iran. Not only do these countries posess nuclear capability, but they flaunt it! They have come out and said, "Look at us! Look at us! We have have nuclear capabilities! Aren't we cool?" How many countries does Bush plan on being "tough" with when he has already made a mess of Iraq? Oh, but Bush specifically said last night that he believes talks with North Korea are a bad idea. Huh? Yeah, because giving the cold shoulder always solves problems. So, basically, Bush admits to being an overtly macho guy who chooses not to communicate. Do these sound like the characteristics of a leader?)
Bush's sheer reliance on the same rehashed quotes is, quite frankly, simply sad. I mean, this is our president? Look, I don't want to delve into Bush-bashing just for the sake of Bush-bashing, but the guy just cannot come up with an original answer that invloves any creativity, intellect, or wit. It's the same barren words repeatedly, no matter the question. If I didn't find his presidency so utterly appalling, I would almost be embarrassed for the guy.
This is where the frustration sets in. Once - just once! - I want Kerry to respond to an attack by Bush by saying something like, "You know, Mr. President, it might be nice if you came up with something new, like, mmm, EVER!"
For now, I guess, I'll live with the knowledge that Kerry won the first debate, and it wasn't even close. (No, all you Republicans in denial, it wasn't.) My confidence, which had reached a low point about month ago, is slowly starting to rise again.