A draw in round 2?

Bush’s personability definitely came out tonight, he got a handful of laughs. Kerry didn’t smile once while giving responses, did he? ­čÖü and his Red Sox joke fell flat.
The CNN commentators seem rather evenly divided in support of Kerry and Bush; I note it as a difference from before, when Stephen argued that the media wouldn’t let Kerry win. Perhaps its “just” rhetoric (!), but the conviction is not mediated by doubt (as it was last time).
I was really disturbed by the frequent use of the word, “kill.” It’s presence at all is a concern, but to be deployed so deliberately….an ideology of violence? It’s hard to see a better future under these premises.

6 thoughts on “A draw in round 2?”

  1. I don’t usually agree with the mainstream media pundits, but I think Jeff Greenfield of CNN had it right– Bush’s job was to energise his base, so he gave them the “red meat” answers about ‘a culture of life’ (whatever that means), no abortion, judges who support having the Deity’s name in the Pledge of Allegience (Separation of church and state? We don’t need no stinking separation of church and state!!!), no stem cell research, and only science that agrees with Bush’s conservative view of religion. He made the usual unsupported assertion like “freedom is on the march” and used the usual rhetorical tricks and buzzwords we’ve come to know from him. That’s why his supporters after the debate were so excited.
    But for Kerry, who frustrated me with the many missed opportunities to slam Bush for his unfounded assertions, factual errors and untruths (and no, Kerry’s voting record did NOT show he was the “most liberal senator”– as if that were a bad thing, but in this case, it’s an untrue thing), Jeff Greenfield says that Kerry’s mission was to show the American public, most of whom still only know him from how the Bush attack ads have framed him, that he is a steady, intelligent, and well-prepared man who COULD lead in a time of crisis. In that regard, Kerry did his job, even if it wasn’t an exciting performance for us to watch.
    Also, Dan Kennedy did an excellent analysis of the debate on his own blog, and it’s worth reading.
    http://www.bostonphoenix.com/medialog/index.asp

  2. I have been surprised that no one mentioned the point in the debate where CHarlie Gibson was trying to do a follow up comment to Kerry’s remark (and then to allow Bush to talk) and Bush totally ignored his requent and overran him. I thought he (Bush) appeared quite nasty in that moment–and on the edge with his anger. Perhaps i was the only one who saw this in his insistence to have his say.
    Leda

  3. Leda, I did notice that, and was hoping the contrast with Kerry’s deference to Gibson – even though there were obviously times he wanted to jump in and respond – would play well on his behalf. Although no one named this in particular, I’m thinking the frequent references to his poise, posture, performance overall reflected this. And, even though Bush got smoother towards the end, the media didn’t “forget” how he began, describing him as shrill, someone even said “almost screaming”.

  4. Okay, this is a sad admission but for kicks I watched this week with George S., meet the press, Chris Matthews, Reliable Sources (CNN) and the late show with Wolf Blitzer. Chris Matthews mentioned the move (described above) on Bush’s end as “presidential” in that he was asserting his authority over Gibson. I know Matthews’ general orientation and so understood that he was being ironic but, this did imply another reading that I had not thought of. . . Presidential means that you have authority over the media (and the media pundits?) to exercise your right to say whatever the hell you feel like saying. Can you imagine what would have happened had Kerry done the same??
    Leda

  5. I can imagine, yes. Not pretty. Did you see any evidence of the media “letting Kerry win” – which Stephen was worried they were actively preventing after the first debate?

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