Preliminary Debate Thoughts

A few initial thoughts. Hopefully I'll get time to post more tomorrow.

- I take back what I said about the NDP as the Official Opposition. I was appalled by Layton's performance tonight. Definitely not as good as the debates last election!! He just could not get past corporate tax cuts and raising the spectre of George Bush.
- Speaking of which, I must have counted at least 13 references to George Bush. Including references to US policies, there were probably a lot more, but I don't have an official number. If anyone does, please post.
- All the other parties seemed genuinely afraid of a Conservative majority. It's the only thing I can think of to account for their behaviour. A lot of time was spent firing away at Harper. Still, given that he is the incumbent and likely to win again, I didn't really expect anything else.
- Elizabeth May was terrible. She just had to get the last word in. It became so annoying after a while, and I found it very unprofessional.
- Duceppe did well. He always does. It's too bad the Bloc is irrelevant.
- Good call on health care! It was awesome to hear Harper point out the fact he was the only politician at the table who had never been to a private clinic. I heard May say something about it, but couldn't really catch her comment so if anyone caught it, please post. Calling out Layton on his hypocrisy was fabulous!! Probably the only knock out punch of the evening. I wish more time had been focused on this.
- Only Harper actually understood the question about Afghanistan. Everyone else, Layton in particular, seemed to think the guy asking wanted Canadian troops to pull out. He clearly didn't. He was very obviously afraid of the Taliban undoing all the work achieved to date.
- There was far too much emotional appeal, especially from Layton and Dion. Debates should stick to facts, not feelings. That brings me to May. Single mom and building shed comments do not help her professional image.
- I didn't like how everyone just sat around the table. It was too board-roomish. Stand at a podium. It looks more professional. I realize it is more tiring, but you are earning our votes.
- Dion has no presence. He didn't do as bad as I feared he might, but he definitely was not good.

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