Sunday, October 03, 2004

The first Kerry-Bush debate

Thanks to the internet (and the New York Times!) I was able to watch last Thursday's debate a day later. Watching it live from France would have required being up in the middle of the night, something my wife says I do too often as it is.

I think the debate showed a telling contrast between the two candidates. I saw Senator Kerry as an experienced, poised statesman, someone who has thought long and hard about the problems America and the world faces during his 20-year tenure in the Senate.

I saw President Bush as the antithesis of the experienced, poised statesman. He seemed broadsided by his opponents direct statements. He seemed unable to formulate clear responses to them other than to repeat the same statement over and over, i.e. that Senator Kerry has been giving out "mixed messages". In fact I admire Kerry's patience in answering that charge: he believed Saddam Hussein was a threat. He believed that threat needed to be removed. He believes the president went about it in entirely the wrong way (my paraphrase).

Senator Kerry made a reference to his book "The new war" during the debate. A few weeks ago, independently of his comment, I decided to take a look at what the two candidates had penned over the years to get more insight into the values and vision of each of them.

Here's a link to George W. Bush's book, "A charge to keep". Now here's a link to John Kerry's book, "The new war".

I've selected these two books, because you can peek inside them on Amazon and read a few pages. Both were written about the same time, in the 1997-99 timeframe. The subjects are unrelated, and the books were written for different purposes.Yet they make for an interesting comparison. In my opinion, they literally speak volumes about the kinds of men George Bush and John Kerry are and the issues that are important to them.



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