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Monday, October 11, 2004

Friday night's debate provided an interesting, and somewhat disturbing, contrast in styles between the two candidates. Kerry appeared calm, relaxed and in control for most of the evening. Bush on the other hand skated dangerously close to madman as he bounded about the stage, raised his voice to a shouting level and looked at times as if he was going to throttle moderator Charles Gibson. It's been fairly noted that if someone completely unfamiliar with the contestants in this race had tuned in to watch the two candidates for the first time the other night, they would most likely have come to the conclusion that Kerry was the incumbent and Bush was the challenger.

Bush backers were no doubt heartened by W's aggressive performance, particularly in light of his lackluster, not-all-there showing in round one. But the president's near-the-edge of instability demeanor should give the rational amongst us cause for concern.

The blogosphere has been alight in recent days with examinations of Bush's behavior, including this from Matthew Gross:
It seemed we had witnessed one of those rare moments in politics when the character and mental stability of a candidate is brought into full question. George Bush, in leaping to his feet and bulldozing past the moderator, ignoring the debate rules and any normal sense of decorum, had just given us his Howard Dean moment.
And this from Michael Tomasky:
It was the manner: the schoolyard swagger, the left arm cocked like an itchy gunslinger's, the arrogant sneer, the roosterish strutting -- and the voice. God, that voice. You don't quite call that screaming. It wasn't exactly caterwauling. Maybe yowling. Whatever it was, he sounded like a tedious and noisome braggart in the parking lot after a football game.
And this from Matthew Yglesias:
"The question out of both debates is really why Bush gets so testy when Kerry -- or the moderator, or a member of the audience -- questions the wisdom of his Iraq policy. It's a bit demented in a psychological sense, and it's no wonder he can't conduct any proper diplomacy if this is his reaction when people question him."
You can watch Bush's volcanic moment, and see the fear on Gibson's face, right here to decide for yourself whether or not this man is stable enough to be leader of the free world. Kind of lends a little credence to that whole "Bush on Drugs" conspiracy theory, no?

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