Of course, the president had good reason to seem put upon. He's in the middle of navigating a war. Iran and North Korea - countries whose leaders sit around thinking of ways to destroy America - are developing nuclear weapons. American soldiers are dying in Iraq. And the president's chief opponent wants to somehow pretend that our presence in the Middle East is something other than a necessary and indispensable part of the war on terror. So forgive the president if he rolled his eyes and seemed annoyed when Kerry suggested that we need to pull out of Iraq and rely more on international coalitions. Sure, it's a nice image. And apparently it played well. Following the debate, a CNN/Gallup poll reported that 53 percent of the viewers ranked Kerry the winner, while only 37 percent thought Bush came out on top. But what Bush clearly understands is the utter futility on relying on the United Nations to disarm our enemies. As Bush put it, the best way to win the war on terror is "to never waver." Sage advice given Kerry's chronic flip flopping and the mixed messages it sends to our troops, and the world.
But alas, these rousing points fall by the wayside in a debate forum that distills complex issues into a 90-minute personality test. Frightening indeed when, even during a war, our presidential debates are little more than performance art.