While not the clear knockout last week’ episode was, this was still a pretty good show for John Kerry. Bush at times seemed hyperactive, jumping up like a cheerleader, gesticulating, being almost embarrassingly too loud, and often not really making any sense. He steamrolled over Charlie Gibson, and still managed to grimace and look annoyed, sometimes even at the questioners.
Some thoughts from the Internets: (Thanks to DailyKos)
Andrew Sullivan: "There were moments early on... when he seemed to me to be close to shouting; and his hyper-aggressiveness, having to respond to everything, went at times over the line of persuasiveness."
(Yes, that Andrew Sullivan.)
John Whitesides, Reuters: "An angry Bush at one point cut off moderator Charles Gibson to upbraid Kerry for criticising the size of the coalition backing the United States in Iraq, saying it denigrated allies like Britain and Poland."
Beth Gorham, CBC News: "It all added up to a major challenge for the president, who appeared angry and defensive during attacks from Kerry in a tense sparring match on Sept. 30 that was watched by some 62 million Americans."
And this, perhaps the most well thought out criticism of the night:
Billmon (back from the dead): "If Kerry and the Dems can't make an issue out of the fact that the president of the United States is utterly incapable of controlling his hairtrigger temper, they don't deserve to win this election... I mean, the man is a walking time bomb."
And this, from Associated Press:
Bush Fights to Keep Emotions in Check
President Bush smirked and winked and chuckled to himself. He jumped from his stool, chopped at the air and interrupted the debate moderator. As he fought to keep his emotions in check during a combative debate with Sen. John Kerry, the president jokingly said, "That answer almost made me want to scowl."
Several answers brought Bush's emotions to the surface, for better or worse, as he sought to curb Kerry's momentum.
The question that hung over the second of their three debates was whether Bush's aggressive, hyper style was an effective tool or a damaging habit - an extension of his disastrous first debate performance. Reviews were mixed.
GWBush said some pretty telling things. Here are some favorites of mine, all taken from the CBS transcript online:
He said he voted for the $87 billion, and voted against it right before he voted for it.
It's -- you've got to be consistent when you're the president. There's a lot of pressures.
In the old days we'd see a threat, and we could deal with it if we felt like it or not. (When?)
And the unique threat was that he could give weapons of mass destruction to an organization like Al Qaida, and the harm they inflicted on us with airplanes would be multiplied greatly by weapons of mass destruction.
(And this is pretty special:)
But as we learned in the same report I quoted, Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions.
(One minute later…)
Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working.
(Huh? Why was he trying to get rid of them if they weren’t working? Oh never mind.)
BREAKING NEWS: Mark Racicot just said to Bob Kerrey on CNN’s Larry King, that the troops put up the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Holy crap! Kerrey lit into him like a pit bull. Lovely.
To continue on with my fave GWBush quotes:
First of all, we didn't find out he didn't have weapons until we got there, and my opponent thought he had weapons and told everybody he thought he had weapons.
And I recognize I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country.
I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft.
When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you.
First, the National Journal named Senator Kennedy the most liberal senator of all.
And you're right, I haven't vetoed any spending bills, because we work together.
(One minute later…)
Well, look at the budget. One is make sure Congress doesn't overspend.
Is my time up yet?
I've got a plan to increase the wetlands by 3 million. (3 million whats?)
The quality of the air's cleaner since I've been the president.
I own a timber company?
And so, I don't think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all.
I had to make the decision to destroy more life, so we continue to destroy life -- I made the decision to balance science and ethics.
I'm not telling. I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus, I want them all voting for me.
Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.
The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.
Now, you asked what mistakes. I made some mistakes in appointing people, but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on national TV.
The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, And the world would be a lot better off.
‘Nuff said, ya think?