Ok, now that I’ve watched my recording of the first debate, I thought I’d make a few comments.
I didn’t think that the debate was likely to change very many minds about this election, and I still think it won’t. Kerry is a better, more polished, public speaker than Bush; but people already knew that, so they’d forgive Bush minor inarticulateness. The only chance that this debate would have made a difference would have been if one of them (probably Kerry) had made a major gaffe. I don’t think that happened.
The only surprise for me was Kerry’s mention of a “global test“, that seemed to be a pre-condition for the president to order a pre-emptive strike:
“Where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.”
Bush did question this, but I would have liked to see a call for further elaboration.
What does “can prove to the world” mean?
Does “the world” mean every other country, or all UN Security Council countries, or what?
Does “can prove” mean that you must first get their agreement, or that you believe that you have a strong enough case to convince a reasonable foreign leader who takes our security seriously?
If Kerry means that the president must first get the agreement of some set of foriegn leaders, how is that different from the veto power he claims he would not grant them?