Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Am Johal: Bush and Kerry Highlight Differences

Bush and Kerry Highlight Differences


By Am Johal

It will probably be regarded as the best Presidential debate in a generation. And it had nothing to do with the characters involved, but everything to do with the subject matter and its relative time in history. George W. Bush and John Kerry highlighted clear differences between the Republicans and Democrats, as subtle and nuanced as they were. The campaign had been underwhelming until last night and given the gravity of what had happened in the world the past four years, it was as if the campaign really kicked off for the first time.

George W. Bush painted himself as a decisive leader, willing to take unilateral action and ready to continue the 'fight against terror.' Losing the popular vote in the debacle of the 2000 election, the relatively inexperienced Bush was thrust on to the world stage after September 11th.

The Democrats couldn't have picked a better candidate for President in 2004. A decorated Vietnam war hero who rose to prominence opposing the war, a 20 year veteran of the US Senate, and highly critical of Bush's rush to war in Iraq, Kerry attacked his Republican opponent relentlessly about the issue and on the limits of US unilateralism in general. For Kerry, this was ninety minutes in front of a national audience where he was able to present himself as Presidential.

Kerry was in his element at the lectern, away from the campaign trail where he had been ineffectual, awkward and lanky riding tractors in the Midwest, attending barbeques in swing states and glad handing on the campaign whistlestops.

Bush was awkward early on, but it didn't hurt him because the public has grown used to his verbal gaffes. They've taken on an eery tone of familiarity over the years. He painted Kerry as indecisive and as someone who had originally voted to support the war. He defended his decision making and vowed to press on. His performance played well to his conservative base. It was thoroughly American in that kind of John Wayne way.

At issue for the American people and the rest of the world effected by American foreign policy was weighing Kerry's multi-lateralism against Bush's independent approach. Kerry displayed his mastery of foreign policy like a New England university professor, while Bush stayed on comfortable ground counterattacking with questions of John Kerry's character.

Bush presented himself as the purveyor of decisive leadership, and defended America's unwillingness to join international institutions like the World Court and to work more closely with the United Nations. Neither candidate discussed the issue of prisoners of war at either Abu Ghraib or those at Guantanomo Bay.

Both Bush and Kerry criticized Iran and North Korea and debated differences in how to approach these emerging foreign policy issues. The proliferation of nuclear weapons and stockpiles in the former Soviet Union were also raised.

On the same day as the foreign policy debate, there were more deaths in Iraq, Qassam rocket fire from Gaza and a heavy Israeli military response and the genocide in Sudan still an issue.

On the battleground of American politics, only about 6 million independent voters will actually cast their vote on election day. They will probably decide the American election on November 2nd. In swing states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, the Republicans are currently ahead. Ralph Nader wasn't at the debate last night but he will still be a factor in some states. John Kerry needs to get over 60% of the independents in these swing states if he's going to win the election. With the exposure he received last night, he will probably be within striking distance of Bush by the middle of October.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Rightwing Populism Will Make You Sick—Really

The four countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world are all led by rightwing populists: the US, India, Brazil, and Russia. Throw in the United Kingdom, which has the largest infection rate in Europe, and you have a common pattern. ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Early Voting Is OK, If You Know Who To Vote For

Early voting is now open which is great for the 80% or so of the population whose vote does not change from one election to the next. They can go out and vote at their convenience without having to wait for election day. But for those who are yet even ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog