Friday, October 01, 2004

He said Nooocleeehuur. Once. But you forgot Poland!

The Spinmeister Alert Today Is:
Day-Glo Nuculer Prolifriration Yeller

Spinning? Is the room spinning? Laws, yes! And some of it began even before the debates. Like, did y'all check the podiums on the split screen action? We nearly fell off our chairs. Which was probably in part a result of having had a little too much Shiraz, but was also because when you saw the split screen bit you could see that their heads were just about even- but that the podium height was significantly different. Fast Eddie reminded us all of the SNL skit of yesteryear that poked fun at the vertically challenged (and scary-eyebrowed) Mike Dukakis by having someone playing the candidate walk up to the enormous podium behind which he was lost. Sound of whirring and his head slowly rises about the podium as his wee platform is raised. Only this time it wasn't the guy from Massachusetts who needed help. We are sure showing them as if they were of equal height was stipulated by James Baker. Note to GOP: We noticed.

Before we can go on to all of the polls-- including Fox-Frigging-"News," propaganda branch of the GOP- saying that folks feel Kerry won, we should take a look-see at what went on in Coral Gables.

The debate was an hour and a half, so we'll just be doing highlights here. Transcripts are available and most news stations have video available online.

The first fifteen minutes or so didn't look so great for the challenger. He wasn't floundering, but Bush seemed reasonably comfortable while Kerry seemed a little stiff. I imagine Bush figured he was on firm ground, 'security' being his entire platform and all.

Question two he got to give the kinder, gentler side of trying to scare the pants off of the voters when he was asked whether he thought Kerry winning would result in another attack. His answer? "No, I don‘t believe it‘s going to happen. I believe I‘m going to win..." Look at that! He gets to simultaneously distance himself from Cheney's remarks that raised a brouhaha while leaving open the possibility Cheney's statements were "true".

This was followed up by the odd statement that "People out there listening know what I believe. And that‘s how best it is to keep the peace." It appears he is saying that his beliefs are the best way to keep the peace. Or perhaps that listening to his beliefs are the best way to keep the peace. But this was early on and he still appeared to believe the stuff he was saying was a reasonable argument (even if it wasn't keeping the peace) .

In Kerry's response... The first direct shot, and I think the point where it started to slide away from the PoTUS. "But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking if off to Iraq where the 9/11 Commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein. "

It was followed by: "And Iraq is not even the center of the focus of the war on terror. The center is Afghanistan, where, incidentally, there were more Americans killed last year than the year before; where the opium production is 75 percent of the world‘s opium production; where 40 to 60 percent of the economy of Afghanistan is based on opium; where the elections have been postponed three times. "

And: "The president moved the troops, so he‘s got 10 times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is."

And: "The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it."

And: "We can‘t leave a failed Iraq. But that doesn‘t mean it wasn‘t a mistake of judgment to go there and take the focus off of Osama bin Laden. It was."

And: "...even knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction, even knowing there was no imminent threat, even knowing there was no connection with al Qaeda, he would still have done everything the same way."

You feeling a pattern here? A nice plaid coming up here... I think the PoTUS felt it too. Especially after he defended his military crusade, saying "the enemy attacked us," and Kerry responded with this:

"Jim, the president just said something extraordinarily revealing and frankly very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said, “The enemy attacked us.” Saddam Hussein didn‘t attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. al Qaeda attacked us."

Were this a fencing match, that woulda been a foil in the chest pad. In other circumstances the PoTUS might have tattled to uncle Dick. Instead, he did what he excels at: he got petulant. If you haven't seen the video, go watch it, because it is impossible to convey by blog the pissyness of tone in the PoTUS's answer:

"First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that. "

Themes! Kerry had a couple. We think of them thusly:

1) "eye off the ball," aka "Osama bin forgotten"
2) "thanks for containing current and former pinkocommie nuclear (I know how to say it!) proliferation. Not." (see nukes, Russia and nukes, North Korea) with a little "And great of you to join old Europe in trying to prevent Iran from getting nukes too. Not."
3) "we'll get by with a little help from our friends- if you hadn't made them all hate us. Jerk."
4) "PoTUS didn't invade as a last resort" One might also read this 'liar liar pants on fire', were one so inclined.
5) "invoke the names of several admired people, some more serruptitiously than others, including a couple of surprises: John Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower (!), Ronald Reagan (!!). And then throw in George Will. (!)"

Kerry wasn't the only one with a theme- not surprisingly there was a pattern to the PoTUS' remarks as well. It looked a little like the pattern on a set of cowboy jammies. Here is how we summarize:

1) "he's a flip-flopper who sends mexted missages!" (yes, he did at one point say mexted missages. To be fair it was only once out of the six times he said this phrase. We counted).
2) "the world is better off without Saddam Hussein and 10 million Afghanis are registered to vote" We think of this as the 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain' theme., or the 'does it really matter that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11? We caught him!' and 'so what if a lotta of those 10 million voter registration cards are, in fact, double registrations. Like you were expecting a fair election?'
3) "Iraqis wanna be free, and you can't say otherwise, John Kerry!" At least we assume that's what he meant when he said: "I reject this notion—and I‘m suggesting my opponent isn‘t—I reject the notion that some say that if you‘re Muslim you can‘t free, you don‘t desire freedom. I disagree, strongly disagree with that."
4) "we did our best and there are a lotta good people working on it."
5) "Kerry thinks I'm wrong and he's gonna makes the troops cry"
6) "my coalition is too a coalition. We've got Poland!"
7) "Iraq is tough. Iraq is hard. And being president? that's hard. lots of hard decisions, and above all, a lotta hard work" Not the first time this one came up.....

Tell us, PoTUS, how hard is it?

"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it‘s tough. It‘s hard work. It‘s incredibly hard. ... It‘s the hardest decision a president makes. ... There‘s a lot of good people working hard. .. (that one might count twice!) ... There‘s a lot of really good people working hard to do so. It‘s hard work. ...And it‘s hard work. I understand how hard it is....I see on the TV screens how hard it is....The plan says we‘ll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are....It is hard work. It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. It‘s hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off, or executed, to a place where people are free. ...You know, my hardest—the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm‘s way.....You know, it‘s hard work to try to love her as best as I can,... It‘s hard work. Everybody knows it‘s hard work, because there‘s a determined enemy that‘s trying to defeat us....I understand how hard it is to commit troops.... I appreciate the fact that his daughters have been so kind to my daughters in what has been a pretty hard experience for, I guess, young girls, seeing their dads out there campaigning.(even the presidental daughters are working hard!)... Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices. (ooh, hard on the Russian soul!).... We‘ve done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years...."

Yes, George, Iraq is hard. Good thing you decided to go it alone, eh? Because keeping up international friendships is hard work and we think you've so much hard work going on now, we wonder if it wouldn't be too much hard work to add diplomacy to the plate too.

But we'll all be protected by the free Iraqis who want freedom and liberty. "The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hatred. ..And the main reason we‘ll succeed is because the Iraqis want to be free.... (Allawi) believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people...He believes, like I believe, that the Iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom.... And when Iraq is free, America will be more secure (hmmm. perhaps because when they are free the troops will be here and not there?) ... you know, a nation that‘s free; ... A free Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror, and that‘s essential. A free Iraq will set a powerful example in the part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will help secure Israel. (?Pardon?) A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country....And a free Iraq is going to make this world a more peaceful place....And, as well, we‘re pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want.... we must spread liberty because in the long run, the way to defeat hatred and tyranny and oppression is to spread freedom. ...I believe in the transformational power of liberty. I believe that the free Iraq is in this nation‘s interests. ... a free Iraq will serve as a powerful example for millions who plead in silence for liberty in the broader Middle East....constantly stay on the offensive and, at the same time, spread liberty. "

And really, who could be against freedom and liberty? No word yet on whether the PoTUS has any thoughts on changing the meaning of "free" in the dictionary to read: "run by a government of my choosing and enforced by my troops."

"Chinatown" prize of the evening goes to Goerge Dubya in his interpretation of the Faye Dunaway role in the climax of the film. In his own "my sister-my daughter-my-sister-my daughter" moment, the PoTUS had this to say: "Of course we‘re after Saddam Hussein—I mean bin Laden. He‘s isolated. "

Prize for best quote of someone else by either of the candidates: John Kerry quoting Colin Powell warning Dubya on the invasion of Iraq by invoking "the Pottery Barn rule: you broke it you own it." We like this one because a) we think Colin Powell is right; even while we b) think it's kind of silly to use the Pottery Barn as a metaphor; and furthermore c) have never thought of this as a rule specific to Pottery Barn; while d) we feel it necessary to note that we are sure neither John Kerry nor George Bush, and quite possibly Colin Powell, has ever stepped foot in a Pottery Barn. Much too metrosexual-prolitariat-seeking-to-exhibit-bougie-ness-by-owning-a-leather-couch-with-retro-styling.

The spin machine immediately went into effect on both sides. The word in the Bush camp (Karen Hughes and Andrew Card) was "heart". He showed the American people his "heart," he put his "heart" into the debate. One wonders if there wasn't discussion backstage about leaving the heart at home and bringing the brain next time.

Inaccuracies were made on both sides of the debate. The WP has a 'debate referee' alongside their transcript where you can have some of the facts checked.

Polls (those damned polls! I shake my fist at them!) showed that viewers gave Kerry as the winner by a pretty significant margin. Not that this will necessarily translate into a win in practice since nobody knows what to do until the media tells them what to think. And even if the media (other than the Fox Stident and Obnoxious Opinions Based on Falsehoods Channel) do call it for Kerry, who knows what that will actually mean in terms of voting behavior. (Think of unsatisfied Missourian Mr. Rau).

We'd just like to note that the topic of this debate was "foreign policy and homeland security" (read: the "war on terror"). Dubya's strong suit. He definitely found the debate hard work. And he still has health care, social security, medicaid, job losses, outsourcing, the deficit, welfare for the wealthy and the economy to go.

The next scheduled debate won't be a Dubya-Kerry contest. Instead, next Tuesday the young Jedi trial lawyer Knight, John Edwards Skywalker, will go up against Darth Cheney. Good thing Edwards knows who his father is. Or does he? Use the force!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so HARD, but don't forget Poland!

October 5, 2004 at 5:32 PM


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