Friday, October 01, 2004

The First Debate

If you had been confined to a cave prior to last night, Kerry looked pretty good right up to the point he returned to the nuclear freeze positions of 1968 and proposed some sort of "world test" for executing U.S. foreign policy.

I graded the debate Kerry A/C (F for the two points above) and Bush C-/A, performance/substance. It was about what I expected it would be.

If you have been following the campaign, there wasn't much here to change anybody's mind. One of the recurring tropes I've heard since I began voting (1980) was "I wish we had clear choices to vote for."

Well, Virginia, this is YOUR year for stark choices.

Bush's high points came during the exchange over North Korea. Kerry proposed to abandon the six party talks in favor of direct bilateral diplomacy. Bush properly corrected Kerry on which materials were actually at issue (enriched plutonium vice uranium) and the timeline of the Nork malfeasance which began long before Bush arrived in the Whitehouse. More importantly, Bush spelled out exactly why it is essential for the Nork's neighbors to have a place at the table. Since the collapse of the agreed framework we don't provide food, fuel, or other aid to the Pyongyang regime. China, Japan, and Korea are all neighbors to the whackjobs and all maintain economic and relief links - especially China. If we were to exclude them from the talks the Norks have no reason not to walk away from the table - we don't have any leverage to bring to bear short of blockade or other quasi-military actions.

And why is unilateralism the answer in Korea, but cardinal sin in Iraq? Especially when our Iraq coalition already numbers more than thirty nations?

Ah, the 'bribed, coerced' alliance. Right.

The Creator of Worlds has an excellent roundup of debate opinions. Check out Roger L. Simon as well; Typekey is being squirrely so comments might be lean there.

And then came Mister Lileks.

More work on the basement today. We are concentrating on refinishing one room out of the whole...but my fingers itch and drift toward my hammer every time I walk through the narrow, dark panelled hallway to get there. "Attractive, bright painted rywall HERE, NOW" say the voices in my head...

Trivia question: What kind of hardware is on the lower left hand armored seatback of a Hurricane Mk2? A bolt? Maybe some sort of arcane fastner to anchor the pilot's seatbelt? This has to do with a potential story; any input would be appreciated.

UPDATE: I mistakenly attributed the words "world test" to Senator Kerry. Poster FactCheck on Michael's post-debate thread informed me of my error. After inspecting the transcript at the Washington Post I find that the correct quote should have been "global test". I apologize for the mistake.

I'm listening to my local CBS-affiliate AM radio station as I type this. The last caller into the morning show made a point of noting that "global test" scored no points with local voters.

UPDATE: How about the 1984 Nuclear Freeze issue, instead of 1968? I think I'd better stick to drywall...

1 comment:

Dave Schuler said...

The left hand of the blogosphere has been making hay about Bush's facial expressions. I doubt they'll get much traction with it. Mr. Kerry had the worst of the substantive argument, IMO. "Global test", bilateral talks with N. Korea (does anyone seriously think that any talks w/o China are worth having?), nuclear fuel to Iran, freeze on development of new weapons. How much these hurt Kerry, of course, depends on how deep Big Media can bury them.

That neither candidate has anything of substance to say about either Iran or the ongoing genocide in Darfur is itself troubling.