I Can't Seem to Get These Debates Right
I guess I am not a reliable judge of debates. I thought Bush lost the first one decisively. That seems to be the consensus. (That is, except for Hugh Hewitt, who thinks Bush stomps Kerry every time. Hugh is a bit of a GOP "homer," I'm afraid, but I am still a devoted fan.) I thought Bush did very poorly in the second debate, but the consensus seems to be he did much better and lost only narrowly. (Hugh, of course, scored it as a big win for Bush.)
Now, last night I think the President simply cleaned Kerry's clock. Examples of home runs:
"A litany of complaints is not a plan."
"Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts."
Kerry out of the mainstream.
Kerry's vote against the 1991 Gulf War.
And so on.
Many of the talking heads seem to agree with me. Bill Kristol, no fan of Bush's, seems almost ecstatic. On the other side, the ever-reliable liberal commentator Bill Schneider of CNN thought Kerry clearly won, but I am hard-pressed to think of a pundit who has been wrong more times than Schneider. Why does CNN keep him around? Dick Morris, who is often right, thinks Bush did as well as he possibly could, but with the subject matter of the debate inherently favoring Democrats, Kerry pretty much had to win.
So ... I don't understand the polls showing Kerry winning by a comfortable margin. I agree with The Big Trunk at Power Line: "I can't reconcile what I saw and heard with the poll results that judge Kerry to have prevailed last night."
UPDATE: Mickey Kaus seems to agree with me. I feel better. Here's his analysis.