But dead tired. Been on the road for two days. Got to listen to a lot of right wing talk radio. On the way up, pre-debate, they all sounded optimistic and happy. On the way back home, post-debate, they sounded let down and uncertain. I have to admit, I’m surprised by the public response (though not unpleasantly so) this is how Bush always looks to me. So he’s shifty-eyed, smirks inappropriately, doesn’t seem capable of maintaining a coherent train of thought for a full ninety seconds, seems generally befuddled and irritable? Well, it’s nice the media and the commentariat finally noticed, but it’s not exactly as if any of this is news. Point is, when I went back to the hotel last night I was too tired to watch much post-debate spin, so I had no real idea how this was going to play I would have been unsurprised to find that Kerry had been declared the loser, or that the whole thing had been declared a draw. I just can’t tell anymore. The gulf between what I observe when watching Bush and what the media report has just grown too wide. But he did look pretty terrible to me (and to the audience of derisive young students with whom I watched the debate). He looked like someone who’s spent so much time talking to yes men and sycophantic reporters and audiences who sign loyalty oaths that he’s forgotten what it’s like to have someone actually challenge him to his face when he conflates Saddam and Osama.
Anyway, I haven’t had much of a chance to look through the papers or the blogs, but I’m sure I’m not saying anything new here. One great moment on talk radio today: a caller on Limbaugh’s show postulated that Bush’s poor performance was due to the fact that he, unlike John Kerry, is used to talking to audiences which respond with applause and laughter, and since the debate audience had been instructed to stay quiet, it threw him off balance. Apparently the dittoheads believe Kerry goes and speaks at campaign rallies and is greeted with stony silence, and was therefore in his element last night. Oh, and one talking point to watch out for both Limbaugh and Hannity had callers who were obviously reading from some RNC script I’m too damn tired right now but I’ll bet if you dug through the various RNC websites you’d find it somewhere claiming that they were Guardsmen and they were highly offended that Kerry would say there was a “back door draft,” because they were volunteers and they knew they could be called up at any time so for John Kerry to suggest that indefinitely extended deployments and stop-loss programs constituted a back door draft was a slap in their face. Blah blah blah.