Off his strings

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I realize that my standards for a person's verbal coherence are probably much higher than average, but OH. MY. GOD. Quite frankly, Bush's performance tonight lent a great deal of credibility to the idea that Bush was wired for the first debate and actually received backstage assistance. It will be interesting to look at the transcript, because my gut impression was that most of W's answers were incoherent, even when they made some effort to answer the questions. It reminded me a lot of Dana Carvey's sendup of his father: you boil it down, and basically connect slogans and catchphrases with ellipses. Doesn't matter if it actually means anything. Wow.

A few more thoughts:

The irony of W describing himself as belonging to a "school of thought" was almost too much for me to bear.

The idea of a strict interpretation of the Constitution refusing the separation of church and state? Uhhh...what?!

Thank goodness W has "protected" us these past 4 years from those mysterious, potentially unsafe Canadian drugs., the site cited by Cheney, reports both that the Republican definition of a "small business" does include W, and that he does indeed own part of a timber company, which apparently is "news" to him. Kerry's original point, that the Republican stats on the number of small businesses affected by Kerry's proposal are artificially inflated by a loophole-ridden definition? Yeah, that point was dead-on. W's response to having misled us? "Anybody want some wood?" Hardy har har.

Bush's big tagline, the one I've already seen circulating, was the dopey "you can run but you can't hide." Delivered twice, and each time rather poorly, the W machine seemed to believe that Kerry was going to try to hide. But he didn't. What makes him credible as someone who can be fiscally responsible (thanks to the current administration, this cannot be considered synonymous with "fiscally conservative") is that he broke party lines to vote for a balanced budget. Kerry was both prepared and willing to defend and/or explain his record, something that Bush refuses to do at almost every turn.

I was really struck tonight by the difference between Bush's strategy ("he said no.") and Kerry's ("here's why I said no."). More than anything else, that was the key difference for me that emerged from the debate. And more than anything else, I was struck by how unprepared W seemed to be able to handle anything more complicated than "he said no." That's not clarity--it's misleading simplicity, imposed upon issues that are by their very natures complicated. I don't doubt Cheney's ability to handle complexity; with him, I simply don't trust his motives in doing so. But W does nothing and says nothing that leads me to believe he is actually capable of exercising judgment. The more I see of him, the scarier that becomes to me. Almost as scary as the apparent spin from the pundits that, because W didn't behave like a squirmy pre-adolescent, he was somehow Presidential. We deserve better.

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We watched the debate with friends last night, quasi-Superbowl-party style.  I wasn't impressed with the town hall model, particularly for the way is positioned the audience members as dupes--mere question-readers, polite listeners (to say nothing... Read More


A thousand points of light!

For me, the debate was quite disapointing... I'll write about it more tomorrow, but, while Bush's performance was abysmal, Kerry failed to capitalize on it and, in my opinion, missed several opportunities to go for the jugular.

Agreed. I can't believe that he allowed W to trot out "you can run but you can't hide" twice, and then just sat back and watched him hide from the mistake question without turning it on him. And that was the tip of the missed opportunity iceberg.

I've seen a couple of people write about how Kerry is basically running on a "Republican, but a little different" style of platform. I suppose the Dems think of it as "making him electable," but it's still pretty disappointing.



I too was amazed at some of Bush's 'answers' and more so with the fact that none of the main stream press have called him out on it -- and afraid and dissappointed too. But I don't think Bush was even trying to debate or respond in any real way to the questions asked of him.

I'm fairly convinced that Bush is pitching his debate performances exclusively to a certain sub set of voters who he can hope to sway (obvious I know). That sub set, in Bush's view (and he is probably correct), won't be moved by thoughtful responses and, in fact, the danger of him saying the wrong thing is very great. So he says nothing, essentially, repeats those catch phrases that have resonance with his intended audience (think of it as an piece of instrumental music). It is that audience he is speaking to during the debates. He couldn't care less how those answers play with you or I, or anyone aside from those undecided voters he can scare the bejesus out of with horror stories or hypnotize with cowboy impersonations. And apparently and appallingly it is paying off. In short, it isn't a mistake or short coming that his responses are not particularly coherent . . it is his strategy.

I think Kerry's weak responses were perhaps an effort to counter Bush's strategy with music of his own, because Kerry's camp realizes too that these folks won't be swayed by his thoughful answers either.

Maybe for the last debate the responses will degenerate into both candidates just saying things like 'values' over and over again in different regional accents and with varying emphases. If they could get away with it ( and they very nearly do) the net effect on undecided voters would likely be the same.

While GWB is pathetic he is not without the best resources and supporters. If he were to wire up, he wouldn't use a clunky system. Besides, someone else talking in his hear would make him worse, not better.
Also, since the goal is to defeat him, understanding and exposing his tactics, so the undecideds can see him for what he is, is the best path to that goal. Demonizing him will persuade no new voters.

Just got done really going to town on the debate in my blog, and I don't think I have the stamina to write anymore about it, but I thought I'd link to it here if anyone is interested...

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on October 8, 2004 11:41 PM.

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