Continuing with the cardinal rule of the FLUBA, that it is a far, far better thing to shine a thousand points of light on them, than to curse their obtuseness, we provide James Fallows (and his admirers) the rope with which to hang himself (yes, we are committed to normal-guy-mixed-metaphors in honor of W):
What made it a bad performance for Bush was not what he said but how he looked and the way he comported himself.... This was near the top of Kerry's past performances.... What made it a good performance for him was less what he said, though that mattered, than the way he looked and carried himself. With no sound on, if you had to choose "The President" from watching the two men on the screen, it would be the big one with the square shoulders and the relaxed air you'd pick.
Substantially wrong, fellas. The electorate doesn't vote on appearances. They vote the economy. And an incumbent President with the economic statistics we have today has never lost.
However, that's beside the point. Bush didn't lose the debate. You are so consumed with hatred for those with contempt for articulated rationality as a decision making strategy (technically; Krugman Disease) you can't believe that your candidate got creamed last Thursday. What is truly funny about your state of denial is that you don't have the self-awareness to realize that you've got to ignore the substance of the debate (what was actually said, guys) and focus on the looks, to maintain your course on that river in Egypt.
I'm laughing too hard to be able to explain it, so I'm going to let Mark Steyn speak for me:
If John Kerry is so polished and eloquent and forceful and mellifluous, how come nobody has a clue what his policy on Iraq is? As he made clear on Thursday, Saddam was a growing threat so he had to be disarmed so Kerry voted for war in order to authorize Bush to go to the U.N. but Bush failed to pass ''the global test'' so we shouldn't have disarmed Saddam because he wasn't a threat so the war was a mistake so Kerry will bring the troops home by persuading France and Germany to send their troops instead because he's so much better at building alliances so he'll have no trouble talking France and Germany into sending their boys to be the last men to die for Bush's mistake.
Have I got that right?
Oh, and he'll call a summit. ''I have a plan to have a summit. . . . I'm going to hold that summit ... we can be successful in Iraq with a summit . . . the kind of statesman-like summits that pull people together ...'' Summit old, summit new, summit borrowed, summit blue, he's got summit for everyone. Summit-chanted evening, you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room. But, in John Kerry's world, there are no strangers, just EU deputy defense ministers who haven't yet contributed 10,000 troops because they haven't been invited to a summit. And once John Kerry holds that summit all our troubles are over. Summit time and the livin' is easy, fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin' ... No, hang on, your wife is rich and your manicure's good-lookin' ...
Speaking as a third-rate hack, I'd say that as a general rule articulacy is greatly over-rated. It's not what it's about: Noel Coward would run rings round Mike Tyson in the prematch press conference, but then what? But, if articulacy is the measure, how come Kerry can't articulate an Iraq policy any of us can understand? By contrast, for an inarticulate man, Bush seems to communicate pretty clearly. He communicates the reality of the post-9/11 world, a world where you can't afford to err on the side of multilateral consensus and Hague-approved legalisms and transatlantic chit-chatting and tentativeness and faintheartedness about the projection of American power in America's interest.
A majority of the American people -- albeit not as big a majority as it ought to be -- get this. John Kerry still does not. Which means he lost the debate.
And Kerry isn't the only one losing debates, and looking ridiculous into the bargain.