Thursday, October 14, 2004
George Bush is a beaten man. I watched the 3rd and final debate very carefully last night. On the surface, Bush did well. He stayed on message, was aggressive, and seemed confident and in command. But when the debate was over, I watched Bush walk over to Kerry with a look on his face I saw in his father 12 years ago. He is going to lose, and he knows it.
Why am I so confident? Because this was Bush's best performance, and he still lost. Kerry did what everyone thought was necessary- he spoke to the concerns of women, he was specific, and he hammered Bush on domestic policies. Kerry needed to be good, but instead he was sparkling- he was calm, presidential, human, and even visionary at times. I loved how he enunciated the theme of middle class populism (my pet subject). Kerry's statements on the assault weapons ban, choice, and particularly religion were golden. Somewhere Amy Sullivan is doing a happy dance, because Kerry said precisely what she has been wanting a Democrat to say for years. Oddly, I thought Kerry spoke much more personally and meaningfully than Bush did about faith. I liked how Kerry looked in the camera and spoke directly to the American people, and he was tremendously effective in his closing statement in painting a broader picture. It wasn't a perfect debate outing for Kerry, but it was close as I've seen in a long time.
Bush is going to lose this election. Kerry has passed the threshold of acceptability, and over 50% of the population thinks Bush is a failed president. From the beginning, Bush's only hope has been that Kerry would self-destruct or collapse under the weight of a negative attack. That strategy has failed. The last card Rove has to play is to steal the election, which he will try. But I think turnout is going to be too high for that to work.
Be happy. We are going to win this thing.