First debate proves stereotypes are true

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

Bush is an idiot.

Kerry is a windbag.

Either of those two descriptions fit what you think of the candidates?

The first debate, held Sept. 30, was supposed to clear some of that up. It was the first big chance to see what each candidate was made of when face-to-face with the enemy.

And the stereotypes held true…mostly.

For chunks of the debate, Bush was a small, frightened child. Confronted with a well-turned phrase, he looked like he just realized he left some cocaine in plain view back on his desk. Finally he’d bumble his way back to his “core beliefs”-like more recess time and more “sneak and peak” searches of the girl’s locker room.

And Kerry did even less to dispel his reputation. The old windbag broke his own world record, with over 382,154 points in two minutes.

“Let me tell you exactly how, Jim,” he said. Then for those two minutes he crammed syllables in my ears. The noise was deafening, but wow, look at those pearly whites! How presi-dental! And the tie!

Kerry pitched his Web site like a slick salesman in a used car commercial. Bush didn’t, and I’d say “good for him,” but he was too busy working on the difference between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Who is that guy with the towel on his head, again? Someone go ask Dick Cheney.

Look. The bottom line? Kerry looked more presidential. But Bush looked more cuddly, and a lot of people go for the loose-collar cuddly types, whichever team you play for.

The next debate is town-hall style, with Charles Gibson from ABC’s “Good Morning America” moderating. Bush will have home field advantage. Think about it-remember him on Oprah? No? Well, he kept it real. Picture him with his shirt sleeves rolled up, talking about his feelings.

That was his strong suit at the debate. He may lose track of numbers, and get beat to the rhetorical punch, but that man can connect.

Kerry was declared the winner by most news outlets, including over in Europe, if anyone cares. He stuck it to Bush with a blistering barrage of statistics and numbers and short, punchy phrases. But remember, not everyone votes for the smart, combative guy.

The way I see it, this election is all about voter turnout and the undecided hearts and minds.

If one side can rally the troops, it’ll win. If Bush or Kerry can make a last-ditch appeal to that shadowy group of undecided voters, then he’ll win. But that appeal can grab the heart or the mind. Kerry the Windbag will probably win the minds. Bush the Idiot will win the hearts.

Jeremy Fugleberg is a junior studying journalism and political science.

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