Okay, the world didn't change overnight because of a single debate. Nonetheless, it is important to give credit when it's due. And Senator Kerry deserves a great deal of credit right now, especially for making a conflicted agnostic like myself believe in resurrection.
Let's say you think it's important to at least hear a different perspectives. You scan a variety of political news magazines, some left leaning (the Nation), some right (National Review, the Weekly Standard). In the conservative pubs, amongst the usual Kerry condemnations, you would find a few surprises. Most important, you'd find that even some of the staunchest, most serious, most conservative political analysts in the country are conceding Kerry's strength and Bush's weakness in this initial debate.
Jay Nordlinger, Managing Editor of the National Review, who says he thinks Bush belongs on Mount Rushmore, who says he “loves” the guy, shared these observations:
“I thought Kerry did very, very well; and I thought Bush did poorly — much worse than he is capable of doing. Listen: If I were just a normal guy — not Joe Political Junkie — I would vote for Kerry. On the basis of that debate, I would. If I were just a normal, fairly conservative, war-supporting guy: I would vote for Kerry. On the basis of that debate.”
And, again from Nordlinger:
“Bush said, "We're makin' progress" a hundred times — that seemed a little desperate. He also said "mixed messages" a hundred times — I was wishing that he would mix his message. He said, "It's hard work," or, "It's tough," a hundred times. In fact, Bush reminded me of Dan Quayle in the 1988 debate, when the Hoosier repeated a couple of talking points over and over, to some chuckles from the audience (if I recall correctly).
Staying on message is one thing; robotic repetition — when there are oceans of material available — is another.”
This article is well worth reading in full before they yank it.