This was a stronger win for President Bush than Debate #2.
The President did everything he needed to do and he did it with straight talk.
On the other hand, the more we watch and listen to Kerry, the more he comes across as a snake oil salesman. He's got a ways to go to match his running mate, John "The Healer" Edwards, but he's still a pretty slick peddler.
The one time in the debate that Kerry didn't come across as a smarmy, snake oil selling machine was when, responding to the question about the women in the candidates' lives, Kerry said that like President Bush and Bob Schieffer, he married up -- maybe a little farther up than them. It got a lot of laughs. It was a good line. Even Kerry laughed.
President Bush answered this question before Kerry and he got even more laughs when he responded, "I listen to 'em - don't scowl, stand up straight."
In talking about the issues, it was crystal clear that President Bush is guided by principle; Kerry by polls.
Catholics must get sick every time Kerry talks about what a good Catholic he is.
And what was Kerry's "Cheney's daughter .. the lesbian" all about? Was that really necessary to bring up when answering a question on whether homosexuality is a choice?
I don't think so -- unless it was a not so veiled attempt to remind Christians that the Cheneys have a lesbian daughter!! .. maybe he hoped to peel a few votes away from the Bush-Cheney ticket. If so, he'll need them to make up for a few homosexual votes he lost, because I guarantee you that Kerry's slight was not lost on them.
In fact, that remark about Cheney's daughter may have been one of Kerry's biggest blunders. It can only be explained in the light of a basic truth about liberal elites. They think the American people are stupid.
And that elitist attitude explains a lot about most of the statements and answers that John Kerry gave last night.
President Bush is one of us. We may not agree with him on everything, but we know where he stands and we know he's honest about his convictions. He doesn't put on airs. What you see is what you get. That means a lot. Doesn't matter whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, people appreciate and respect someone who stands on principle .. someone who reflects their values.
I am convinced that out of respect for the Presidency, President Bush holds back on criticizing the previous administration .. not necessarily out of respect for Bill Clinton, but I mean the Office of the President.
In all 3 debates, time and time again, President Bush passed up the opportunity to win points by condemning Bill Clinton's handling of the military.
Every time John Kerry whines about the military being overstretched, he speaks the truth -- but concern about the military is not credible coming from John Kerry or any other liberal Democrat.
Why isn't it credible?
Because Bill Clinton and the liberal Democrats decimated our military. I was there when it happened. They cut the Army from 18 divisions to 10 .. sent 300,000 soldiers packing. They cut the Navy in half .. from 600 ships to 300. The Air Force was equally decimated.
They tried to have Defense on the cheap, shifting assets, that were best left in the active duty lineup, to the Guard and Reserves. And where in the heck is my part of the Peace Dividend? Remember that? I think we received payment on 9/11 if truth be told.
So while the Dems cut, slashed and hacked our military strength, they increased our operational tempo (deployments) by 300% -- sending us to deal with such "national security threats" as Haiti and Bosnia and Kosovo (we're still there carrying the Europeans' water).
And there's more .. 20 out of 22 of our Army training centers were rated at the very lowest level of readiness. Political Correctness ran rampant. "Consideration of Others Training" came close to trumping combat training .. and on and on.
Remember these headlines?
Click on photo to enlarge
"An Army In Decline -- What Clinton-Gore accomplished that our enemy could not".
President Bush inherited a mess. What took 15 years to rebuild after Vietnam, the Democrats decimated in Clinton's first term.
By the middle of Clinton's second term, the military readiness situation was dire. Plans for further cuts were shelved. Secretary Of Defense William Cohen tacitly admitted that the cuts had been too deep. The Defense Department initiated a program to try to get recently cut junior officers and noncomissioned officers to return to active duty. The service chiefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines were dispatched to Capitol Hill to ask for more resources.
The Clinton administration learned too late that it is easier to tear the military down than it is to build it back. With a stroke of the pen you can cut the force, but it takes years to train replacements. It takes years to build the Staff Sergeants, Sergeants First Class, Captains, and Majors -- those mid-level ranks that run the military -- the ones who took the brunt of Clinton's cuts.
Then before President Bush had even completed 8 months in office, with our military force structure dangerously thin, with our operational tempo still hovering around 300% over norm, with our military stretched to the breaking point .. two terrorist-guided commercial jets brought down the twin towers, another crashed into the Pentagon and another, aimed at either the Capitol or the White House, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when brave passengers said "Let's Roll!" and attacked the terrorists.
We have been at war ever since.
And our overstretched military has performed in a manner that brings tears of admiration and pride to my eyes. Their morale is sky high. Even though they are overworked, they believe in themselves, their country, their mission .. and they trust and love their Commander-in-Chief. They start their day saying, "Good morning, World. I'm gonna kick your ass!"
But yes, they are overstretched. Thanks to liberals.
So when the President says, "It's hard work", you can't even begin to imagine how hard unless you have served in the military.
President Bush could very easily lay the blame for our military being overstretched at the feet of the Clinton administration and congressional Democrats, but it is not his nature to play the blame game or condemn a former President. There's work to do. Hard work.
President Bush is leading this country through tough times. He is doing a tremendous job and he deserves another 4 years .. we deserve another 4 years of his leadership .. our troops deserve to have him as their Commander-in-Chief another 4 years.
Lastly, if you haven't done so already, I highly recommend that you view the latest Swift Boat Veterans/POWs ads. And when you do, think of our troops and who you would rather have leading them as they fight on the front lines of this epic battle against evil.