I logged into AOL Instant Messenger just before 9 p.m. EST and hooked up with my main man Kyle Williams, America's youngest political pundit and columnist with World Net Daily. He's also a really good friend and someone I can trust to lay out the truth, no matter how much I may not want to hear the truth sometimes. The kid's got wisdom beyond his ears. He's the coolest cat you can have in a virtual living room while playing armchair political analyst. We spent the better part of two hours doing a lot of play-by-play commentary on this thing.
Bottom line: Bush bombed. Bigtime.
There's no way this can be spun into anything good: a pile of doggy-doo is STILL going to be a pile of doggy-doo regardless of how many times someone claims that it's a gold nugget. Tonight's debacle makes Michael Dukakis look positively Churchillian. No one can ever again say that the '88 debates were the worst for any candidate ever. I mean... sheesh, if I didn't know any better I would have sworn that Jimmy Carter had all the eloquence of Saint Anthony of Padua.
Whenever a politician is talking on television, like giving a speech or doing a debate like tonight, I don't watch it. For the last hour and a half my back has been turned to the screen, so that I could only hear it. That's a conscientious choice that I make, because I want to hear the person out without the visual distractions. Try it sometime: whenever a political ad starts on the t.v., close your eyes or turn your back or whatever and don't look but only LISTEN to what's being said. When you do that, you realize that 99.99% of these guys... aren't saying a bloody substantive thing at all!! They have NO ideas, no grasp of reality, only soundbites and cheap shots.
So it was with tonight's debate: I wanted to listen to the arguments, and not be wooed by Bush's necktie or Kerry's hand gestures. Kyle watched it on his end, he told me some things about what was happening on-screen (like when Kerry laughed at Bush's joke, I couldn't see that). He also sent me some choice comments that the folks at Free Republic had to say: they ain't happy campers tonight, to put it mildly.
I thought that Bush sounded absolutely apoplectic. He was EXTREMELY flustered, even sounded perilously close to losing his temper a few times. I can't really remember anything that he said that weren't a variation of his usual soundbites and mottos.
Kerry was wildly different. Kerry SOUNDED presidential. He definitely came across as the more confident and assured of the two, despite Bush stating more than once that he was sure he would win re-election. Kerry seemed more of a gentleman in his countering Bush's policies. Bush was too defensive when he shouldn't have been, and too aggressive when a calmer tone was called for.
Truth be known... Bush sounded like a kid throwing a temper tantrum to an adult.
After it ended I asked Kyle what he thought about it. His reaction:
"Let me elaborate. Bush regularly talks about vision with optimism in his eye. This is how has captured the hopes of Americans. But tonight, he tried to force it. He talked about vision, but fumbled about. He didn't come across as confident and he didn't come across as peaceful. Kerry on the other hand, did better than usual. He had specifics and facts on his side, talking about vision, but more about reality."
Kyle's spot-on in his thinking, and at the risk of seeming biased I can't help but agree with him. I have never seen anything so lopsided in an election year in all my life. Somewhere in America tonight, Karl Rove is sweating bullets over this thing. There was nothing salvagable in this evening at all for the Bush camp, and they know it.
Bush has a little over one week to get his act together. He'd better hit the books and lay off the caffeine in the meantime.