Sullivan: The kids aren't alright with Bush

By Farhad Manjoo
Published October 1, 2004 10:12AM (UTC)
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Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan writes that he saw the debate "among a group of Dartmouth college students who were mainly pro-Kerry but who included a solid pro-Bush presence," and the kids weren't at all happy with Bush. In a lengthy, articulate critique of Bush's performance, Sullivan writes: "Afterward, only the Bush supporters seemed concerned that their candidate had lost ground. They should be. Watching Bush, I saw a president who sometimes didn't seem in control of his job, a man who couldn't and didn't defend the conduct of the war except to say that it was 'hard work,' who seemed defensive, tired, and occasionally rattled. He had some strong points; and I agree with him on the basic matter of whether we should have gone to war. But the argument that we might be better changing horses in the middle of a troubled river gained traction last night.

"In some ways, this might turn out to be a version of the 1980 Carter-Reagan match, when Reagan was able to convince people, by his persona and presence, that he was up to the job. Yes, Bush is not as bad as Carter and Kerry is, of course, no Reagan. But the dynamic was somewhat similar. In other words, Kerry gets back in the game, reassures some doubters, buoys his supporters, and edges up a little. Oh, and one young man in the audience had just returned from serving his country in Iraq. Yes, he'd seen the war upfront. He knows what were doing over there first-hand. And he's voting for Kerry."

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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