Although I didn't play the Fat Farm Drinking Game last night, I did watch the first presidential debate. On one hand it was better and more substantive than I expected, but on the other it did feature a lot of mindless yammering by both W and JFK. I decided to watch the coverage on C-SPAN because they had a basic split screen for the entire debate and didn't have any wavy flag icons obscuring half the screen. Some observations I had:
- At the beginning of the night JFK looked really nervous. His hands were shaking, he looked like he was gulping down his water, and he looked really uncomfortable. He warmed up a lot as the night went on and eventually hit his stride about halfway through or so. While the President spoke JFK grinned and took feverish notes like a freshman at the first day of class.
- W also looked worst when he wasn't speaking. He was always squirming, blinking and wrinkling his nose. Plus, the height of his podium was really unflattering since it came up to midchest. He looked like he was peeking out from a hiding spot the whole time.
- Funny that among all the talk of whether going after Saddam was a diversion from Osama both W and JFK mixed up their names. Who can keep those crazy Middle Eastern names straight anyway?
- I hate how W always calls JFK "my opponent". For some reason it just drives me nuts.
- Whenever JFK compared W unfavorably to his father it really irked the hell out of him.
- JFK made that obnoxious point about "opening firehouses in Iraq while closing them here" that I absolutely despise. It's such a terrible apples/oranges comparison. For one thing, Iraq's infrastructure is so abysmal after the war and due to the continuing insurgency that they need all the essential services they can get, and it's our job to provide them. I mean, they can't even keep the electricity on consistently. It isn't as if we're leaving entire sections of the U.S. without any firemen just so we can buy some fancy new trucks for the Baghdad Fire Dept.
- They both overplayed their standard messages. Ugh. I hate hearing them repeat themselves. Did you know that JFK served in Vietnam? Or that W thinks "his opponent" flip-flops on important issues? How enlightening!
- JFK definitely won in terms of zingers delivered. His "I made a mistake talking about the war and the President made a mistake invading Iraq" was definitely classier than when W apoplectically screamed, "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us!"
- Big question: Will the leaders of other countries really give JFK a chance to "rebuild our alliances"? If W is really representative of the disconnect between the USA and other Western countries it is a big reason to vote for JFK. If they just dislike us in general then it's not so much an issue. An inadvertent straw poll of the Aussie and the Brit in my office seems to indicate that they hate W, but that the bigger beef is with the doctrine of unilateral preemption.