Though he again looked largely polished and smooth, John Kerry showed unusual temerity in taking multiple positions on each issue during the same debate?making him look more like a panderer than a president.
Providing stark contrast was a finally-presidential George W. Bush, confidently and cogently explaining his positions, taking 30 extra seconds for follow-ups instead of begging for them. Even his slightly stranger moments??got some wood??somehow worked.
Whether on the economy, Iraq, abortion, or stem-cell research, Kerry gave alternately confused and contradictory answers. Perhaps those with ?superior intellects? might be able to reconcile Kerry?s various stances, but ordinary voters likely saw him for the shameless shill he was.
The billionaire?s spouse attempted to pose as a fiscal conservative, yet announced spending plans far larger than any partial repeal of Bush?s tax cuts?and that?s before factoring in the tax cut Kerry supposedly supports for 98% of Americans.
The ?anti-war candidate? who has pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq promised on Friday night ?to add 40,000 active duty forces to the military.?
The former anti-war protestor who voted to authorize the Iraq war but voted against the $87 billion to fund the rebuilding (after voting for it) claimed on Friday night to have had one position on Iraq all along. What would that position be?
Apparently one that, had Kerry been President, would mean that Saddam would ?not necessarily? be in power.
Where the senator from Massachusetts completely ran aground, though, was on two questions near the end, one on stem-cell research and one on taxpayer funding of abortion.
Knowing that the election?s battleground states?Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin (Missouri, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas are pretty firmly Bush country now)?are brimming with culturally conservative Reagan Democrats, Kerry did his best to sound ?moderate.?
Though he probably expected?and hoped?that the stem-cell issue would be raised, Kerry was floored, absolutely flabbergasted, by the question he was asked. A calm and poised woman asked Kerry, ?Senator Kerry, thousands of people have already been cured or treated by the use of adult stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells. However, no one has been cured by using embryonic stem cells. Wouldn?t it be wide to use stem cells obtained without the destruction of an embryo??
A noticeably stunned Kerry stammered, ?I really respect your,? and waited a few seconds to figure out what he respected, then concluded, ?the feeling that?s in your question.? He obviously didn?t respect the question, as he chose not to answer it.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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