A one-person poll
: Here are my own post-debate poll results. I asked myself a battery of questions and the results:
I’ve said that I was a “likely Kerry voter” because you deserve to know my perspective as I write what I write here.
How likely? Weeks ago, I’d have put that at, oh, 85 percent: not wildly enthusiastic, perhaps, but OK with the decision.
Recently, that number has fallen to, say, 75 percent. I have become disturbed by Kerry’s efforts to turn himself into the antiwar candidate — while we are at war — and also troubled by his inability to run a compelling campaign (about which I agree with Joe Territo).
As for Bush, I never was a likely Bush voter because I disagreed with him on many fundamental issues. But during the last four years, I did support him as our President; I certainly supported the war on terrorism and I supported the war in Iraq. To my surprise, I saw circumstances under which I would vote for him (eg., if Howard Dean were the other choice). So there were times when I was 50-50 on Bush — surprisingly high for the likes of me. I became a possible Bush voter and that’s a big deal.
But I was OK with Kerry and glad he was not Dean and so I leaned his way. That’s not the strongest endorsement, I know. But it also reflected my post-9/11 political views; I believe it is time to pull together against a common demon and not to demonize each other. I seek the center. I’m militantly middle.
Tonight I rushed out of my kid’s back-to-school event and turned on the radio to hear the debate soon into it. And I got upset with Kerry from the first.
Kerry was pushing his Coke-commercial view of a world marching together hand-in-hand and I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that the U.N. or Old Europe will come into Iraq to save our skins — or to fight for democracy or the rights of the Iraqi people. If you say that Bush mislead us to think we’d find WMDs in Iraq then perhaps you also should say that Kerry misleads us to think we’ll ever find a French butt on the line there. I fear the consequences of giving these countries what amounts to veto power over what we must sometimes do; the result will be paralysis.
In this new era of terrorism and of our role as the sole superpower, I want to see a new vision and strong strategy for foreign policy. The Kumbaya gambit won’t cut it.
I heard Kerry criticize the war over and over without hearing a clear plan for winning it — and a clear will to win it. I also did not hear Bush give a clear plan for winning this war — but at least I still hear his will. It’s not that Kerry flipflops. It’s that I don’t hear iron will. And in a time of war — war against terrorism — we need a leader with iron will.
At the same time, will alone won’t win the war. Great planning and great execution and tireless diligence will win this war. And we don’t have that today, either. That is Bush’s failing.
Many others were able to blog the debate as it occurred. In some ways, I am glad I had to catch the debate in bits and just listen. I listened to what it did to me. And it made me more unsure about Kerry. He sounds more like Howard Dean and I didn’t want to vote for Dean. He had my likely vote; it was his to lose. He hasn’t lost it … yet.
I spun around the dial to hear all the spin and on FoxNews, the conservative commentators were saying that it was a close debate and that it may tighten the race, which is to say that they thought Kerry did OK.
Screw their spin. Raze their spin zone.
There is no single score. Each and every voter who watched this debate was looking for something different and scored it differently. I was looking for a resolute Kerry with a clear vision for a foreign policy that will protect us. I didn’t hear it.
So how likely am I now? Peg me at 65 percent and note the trendline. The next debates and the next weeks matter. The election isn’t over for me or for millions and millions of voters. We’re the real pollsters and our results are not in yet.