October 14, 2004
Bush wonBy Thomas Lifson
Don't believe the 'flash polls' and network news commentators who are spinning that last night's presidential debate was a draw or even a Kerry win. Newsweek editor Evan Thomas promised that the MSM would add 15 points for Kerry, and they are doing their best to make good on the promise.
It wasn't even close. If you don't believe me, believe Mary Beth Cahill, the Kerry campaign manager. Interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel right after the debate, Ms. Cahill looked like she was in mourning. Her eyes betrayed deep pain and worry, though she bravely mouthed the usual platitudes. Bush's people, in contrast, were ebullient.
Bush was in command of his facts, articulate, and animated. Kerry was zinged a number of times, and really had no effective response to the President's repeated use of phrases such as 'Massachusetts liberal' and references to Kerry's lack of any outstanding legislative achievements in his twenty year Senate career.
But the issues matter far less than the glimpses into Kerry's character viewers received. Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News did an outstanding job of asking questions which allowed the candidates to reveal their inner essences. At one point in particular, Schieffer elicited what should be a career—ending response from John F. Kerry.
Here's the question:
Q: Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
President Bush answered in a rather straightforward way:
You know, Bob, I don't know. I just don't know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It's important that we do that.
And I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live.
And that's to be honored.
This answer comports with science, which has no explanation for homosexuality, and with the range and diversity of human experience.
Kerry's answer, on the other hand, was far more certain:
We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.
I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice. I've met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it.
And I've met wives who are supportive of their husbands or vice versa when they finally sort of broke out and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them.
I think we have to respect that.
Respect! How about respect for the privacy of the Vice President's daughter? In the unlikely circumstance that John F. Kerry is a close friend and counselor of Mary Cheney, has spoken with her about her sexuality, and has received her permission to discuss her sexuality with a worldwide television audience, then I suppose he has a right to make this comment. It still would not be a good idea to do so, but he would not be quite such a creep.
However, given Lynne Cheney's angry response, I seriously doubt that Kerry and Mary Cheney have been sharing their deepest and most personal thoughts and feelings:
'Now, you know, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more and now the only thing I could conclude: This is not a good man," she said.
"Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
Does America really want as its leader a man who would cynically discuss the sexuality of the daughter of one of his opponents, in order to score political points?
The second revealing moment came with another gem of a SChieffer question:
Q: ...it occurred to me as I came to this debate tonight that the three of us share something. All three of us are surrounded by very strong women. We're all married to strong women. Each of us have two daughters that make us very proud.
I'd like to ask each of you, what is the most important thing you've learned from these strong women?
Bush's response was rather funny, touching and reassuring. His love and respect for his wife Laura shone through the TV screen with a luminescence beyond that imparted by any cathode ray tube or thin film pixels.
Kerry, on the other hand, in the guise of a joke, alluded to another of his deep character flaws.
Well, I guess the president and you and I are three examples of lucky people who married up.
And some would say maybe me moreso than others.
But I can take it.
Can I say, if I could just say a word about a woman that you didn't ask about, but my mom passed away a couple years ago, just before I was deciding to run. And she was in the hospital, and I went in to talk to her and tell her what I was thinking of doing.
So the two—time heiress—snatcher indirectly acknowledges and makes light of the fact that he made the Big Score. And then has nothing whatsoever to say about wife Teresa. Nothing about the support she provides, the advice she gives, or any qualities other than the implied size of her checkbook. The brief cutaway shot to Teresa I saw did not show a happy look on her Botoxed face.
The debate was a pleasure to watch for this Bush—supporter. But I'll bet the conversation between John and Teresa later that evening would have been a much better show.
Bush won. And Kerry lost —— more than just the debate.