Saturday, October 09, 2004

Setting the Tone

I think most people feel that last night's debate was a draw - which is fine. The most important thing that happened last night was that Kerry seemed to take the mantle of 'incumbent'.

Senator Kerry was Senatorial - even Presidential - last night. He exuded confidence and maturity. Confidence in the rightness of positions, which he has begun to define with more clarity (check out the article in tomorrow's NY Times Mag for a great piece on his approach to the War on Terrorism). Maturity in knowing that he is the bigger man and showing the respect he had to show to OUR president (whether we like it or not).

I think that, in part, Bush's temper and anger last night were intended to rattle Kerry. To elicit name-calling. To get Kerry to disrespect the office of the President. Kerry didn't. Now we need to take his lead.

Don't tell me about all the reasons why Bush is venal, stupid, immature, etc. It's irrelevant for 3 more weeks. For 3 more weeks he's our President, and any vituperation we send his way will be turned on us. We need to start showing respect - and stop calling names. If anything, I'd feel pity for the President, which reinforces the fact that he is going to lose. The tone is pity - not scorn. Empathize with a guy who's been out of his league for 4 years. We're doing him a favor by helping to retire him.

Don't be petty - we're entering the home stretch. Let's be as graceful as the 44th President was last night.


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