Friday, October 01, 2004

De bate! De bate!

We all watched the press conference debate tonight…well, we did, didn’t we? And I was a bit surprised. GWBush was twitchy, his mouth movements reminded me of a friend who used to feast on meth, and his eyes blinked like camera shutters. He seemed ill at ease, and perhaps worst of all, wasn’t able to fill out the time available for some of his canned answers. After 30 seconds or so, he started rambling, sometimes falling back on his clearly rehearsed theme: “mixed messages” at times where it made no sense.

Kerry, on the other hand, was smooth, engaged, and, well, not quite what I would really like in a President. And yet, being around the same age, and having followed a similar emotional growth path through the ‘60s and the Viet Nam era (no, I did not serve), I feel I can understand not only how he got here, but why he says and does what he does.

In my heart, I want him to be Dennis Kucinich’s anti-war activism combined with Howard Dean’s fearless populism tempered by his own prodigious intelligence. But sadly, I know that in the world of realpolitik, that won’t play in Peoria. Too many people really believe the Saddam and AlQaeda connection myth, and thus, believe in Bush's war.

The blame for this I lay 3 places.

First, the Democratic party has snoozed for many years, even during the Clinton time, letting itself be defined not by it’s own ideals but by the rantings of the Gingrich “Contract For America” and other far right stunts designed to further separate and polarize the electorate.

Second, the right has been absolutely craven in its quest for power. Lie, cheat, steal…Karl Rove has former Navy officers claim Kerry wasn’t worthy of his medals, has operatives smear John McCain because he might be unbalanced or may have a (gasp) black baby…you know the method. Lee Atwater has spawned a whole hive of like minded attack droids intent on nothing but the annihilation of the 2 party system.

And third, the media/press. Complete, utter whores. If they were doing their job, America’s people would know that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. The people would know that the reason AlQaeda operatives are now crossing the border into Iraq is because we invaded. They would know that the whole Iraq war was not a component of The War On Terrortm but a fantastic voyage toward world domination by the Neo-Conservatives. Don’t believe me? Just go to http://www.newamericancentury.org/ and read. Wolfowitz, and company have hijacked the government of this country. Still don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid that the guys at http://www.weeklystandard.com/ regularly serve at inside the Beltway luncheons.

Regardless, Kerry is who we have. He clearly has more intellect, integrity and depth of character than GWBush, and he's not just the last person standing after the other Democrats have fallen by the side of the road. He truly is the best candidate for the job.

Here's a bit of Ezra from Pandagon's post about the debate, one of the best I read tonight:

Kerry's won tonight. And he won easily. CNN/Gallup gave it to him 53:37%, CBS had him ahead 44:26%, and ABC also handed him the gold, 45:36%. But his win didn't come from any secret formula, it was just Kerry on a good night. He was a bit sharper, a bit clearer than usual (debate preparation), but he was mostly aided by his obvious grasp of policy specifics and telling statistics. Kerry's performance wasn't much more than a solid, competent showing. His win came from his opponent, who phoned in an awful, even embarassing effort. And so it was his opponent -- our president -- whom really deserves some analysis tonight.

If you don't want to read this whole post, I can sum it up in one line for ya: "George, you haven't changed a bit." Before 9/11, it was usually unspoken but generally understood that George W. Bush had not led the most serious of lives. It took him four decades to grow up, he never shed the mannerisms of the cocky frat-king, never developed an intellectual curiosity or driving interest in anything. Instead, he found himself ushered into ever-higher positions on strength of his name and the power of his heritage. This happened first in business, then in government. But 9/11, as it goes, changed everything, most of all the boy-king, who was quickly instructed to do his best Charlemagne impression. And to a nervous and wounded country, his impression looked pretty good. You know, for awhile there, it even looked real. But it wasn't.

There's more. Read it, please.