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Sunday, October 03, 2004

My Verdict On The Debate

Due to my current without-work status, I can stay up as late as I want with no fear of needing to get up the next morning. For many people, this would mean partying, drinking, maybe getting the night bus home at 3:30am.

For me, it means staying up to watch the first Presidential debate, live on CNN. No, no, don't say it: I know. I am the epitome of cool.

The vast majority of reports I've read have handed the debate win to Kerry and felt that his performance had served to give his campaign a boost.

I was kinda surprised by this verdict. I mean, yes, Kerry was clearly the more educated, more thoughtful, better candidate. He talked about complicated solutions to complicated problems, and made clear that not everything was black or white.

Bush, on the other hand, made everything seem very simple. Black and white. Good and bad. No complications, no grey areas, no doubt.

Now anyone with any vague modicum of intelligence (in other words, everyone who is hoping against hope that Kerry wins) realises that the world is not a simple place. There are not simple solutions to difficult problems. And what appears to be bad is not always bad, and what appears to be good is not always good.

Trouble is, I'm of the belief that most people like simple solutions. They like to believe that situations are straightforward. They don't like to think of grey areas, to think about mitigating circumstances, or to contemplate that perhaps things aren't as straightforward as they seem. They just want to be told what should be done to solve the problem.

And if I'm right, then Bush is their man. There was no doubt in any of his answers that what he had done was the right thing. There was no suggestion that anything was complicated. No suggestions that there was any problem in finding a simple solution to any problem faced by the United States.

Sadly, I think that is going to be regarded as an attractive quality by many voters. And that's why I fear that the real winner of the debate on Thursday was the less qualified, less intelligent, less thoughtful candidate.

In my opinion, Kerry may well have lost by winning. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I'm not.

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