Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry--The Comeback Kid?

I'm enjoying my last free day before my next work project begins on Monday. I'm lying in bed, drinking coffee, and eating a small slice of my friend Duane's flan and a piece of his spice bread for breakfast (both are incredible--I don't even bother making flan anymore. It seems so pointless.). I'm also ignoring the sharp and irritatingly spaced beep of our smoke detector, which refuses to accept the fact that I've given it a new battery. Anyway, it is a bright, cool fall morning here and the windows are open so it is pretty easy to block out the noise--especially as long as the flan holds out.

I'm also still reeling from the debate last night. John and I couldn't believe what we were watching. I had heard about Bush's debating skills and wondered if he was test-driving some new reverse pschology approach to the art, ala water torture, "the key to success is to repeat airless phrases while looking tired, impatient, and sulky." Kerry seemed to be doing just fine: poised, considerate, on point, strong when necessary. But I'm no debater, so I wasn't sure he was truly doing as well as he seemed to be.

Turns out Kerry might have known what he was doing after all. I assumed liberal folks would raise Kerry's arm as the winner, but I guess that a lot of conservatives did, too. "Conservative Bloggers Say Bush Sucked" from Daily Kos gives a run down on some conservative responses. This one from the National Review really surprised me (biggie up to BlogAmerica for spotting it). And Powerline Blog coined the nickname "President Out of It" for Bush (hmmm...).

So what's up? Bush may have just had an off night. I'm sure he'll get it together for the next debate. But I'm also starting to wonder if I don't see Kerry emerging as a long-distance runner AND a sprinter. When I think back to the primaries, I was really surprised that Dean didn't emerge as the DNC candidate. From the distance I was keeping, Kerry didn't really seem that special. Once he received the unnofficial nomination, however, I began to watch him more closely and see footage of him stating his position back in the 70s on the Vietnam War. For a 20-something (at the time), he was incredibly thoughtful, collected, and gracious. He looked as if he knew how difficult the issue he was raising was for other vets (and he did), but its importance required him to follow his convictions anyway. Empathy+Discernment+Follow through on Convictions= Good Leadership! And I began to recognize a deliberateness (that sometimes look painfully like plodding) as he works through issues.

Aside from the fact that I agree with most of his positions, Kerry's leadership abilities soon made him a no-brainer choice for me in this election. But the rest of the country has been slower to get on board. Obviously, some never will, but the same blend of empathy, discernment and follow through showed up again last night and I think it took some people by surprise.


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