Now that I’ve watched them all, I thought I’d add a few more comments about the debates.
First of all, I came to the debates already thinking that the positions of Bush and Cheney were better than those of Kerry and Edwards. The debates didn’t change my mind and I’m not sure if they will change the minds of many people who had initial preferences.
Kerry is a better public speaker than Bush. This showed clearly in the first debate. But, I think that Bush did much better in the second and third debates than he did in the first. Also, I think that Bush proved to any fair observer that he’s not the idiot that many claim him to be. He had a strong command of a lot of facts, and was very capable at responding to criticism, making his points, and delivering fine closing statements without helpful material available.
Cheney and Edwards are very different sorts of speakers, but I really thought that Cheney did a better job at expressing his positions in the Vice Presidential debate than Edwards did.
Again, I’m not sure how many people’s minds will be changed by the debates.
One thing that I can say is that I have come away from the debates liking Bush and Cheney and disliking Kerry and Edwards more than I did at the start. I think I could really enjoy spending a day with Bush, but I don’t think I could stand being around Kerry for more than five minutes.
So, if the debates are really all about making people more comfortable with having the candidate represent them as president, it seems that people like me will be more comfortable with Bush, and less comfortable with Kerry. But, I’m not sure how many of the undecided likely voters are like me.