I watched the first presidential election debate Thursday night and believe that Kerry "won", whatever that means. I don't understand the people who said it was a draw; they have quieted since Friday morning. The first fifteen minutes consisted of a cutting, thrusting, aggressive onslaught that rocked Bush back on his heels. There were two problems. First, Kerry is an obviously accomplished debater. Second, Bush is obviously not. More than once, Bush simply stopped talking for several seconds and stared at the moderator or the camera. Was he tired? Maybe. Was he flustered? Yes. Was he just inarticulate? For this particular 90-minute debate, yes.
But this was only one debate and I will still vote for President Bush. Primarily for the reason I keep coming back to: the relentless pursuit, capture, and killing of the terrorists. But I have to admit that I felt a lot less hostile towards Kerry afterwards - he seemed intelligent, reasonable, and certainly articulate. But that does not change his record, that of a leftist opportunistic politician, with all of the negative connotations one might associate with both "leftist" and "politician". How would things look right now if the Democrats had nominated Lieberman instead of Kerry?
(FYI, there's an mp3 sound file of the debate available for downloading using Bittorrent.)