Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Education Gap between the Parties, and Alan Keyes: Oh Brother Where art Thou?

Just a quick link I wanted to share with you. It's from the Washington Post regarding the education gap between Dems and Reps--kinda interesting, and perhaps validates my point that Conservatives don't read? Better not push that one too far.

The second is about the Republican party abandoning Alan Keyes, who is losing the Chicago race by a whopping 51 points. 51 points! I guess Obama must be happy that the GOP only has 2 blacks--what? Was J.C. Watts busy?


The Gap Between Closed Minds
By Dana Milbank

Sunday, October 24, 2004; Page A04

This past week brought confirmation that Bush and Kerry supporters live in alternate universes. The Program on International Policy Attitudes, affiliated with the University of Maryland, released a poll finding that supporters of President Bush and Democrat John F. Kerry were divided not just by their views but also by the facts:
A majority of Bush supporters, 72 percent, believed that Iraq possessed prohibited weapons or had a major weapons of mass destruction program, compared with 26 percent of Kerry supporters who held such beliefs. A majority of Bush supporters also believed experts agree that Iraq possessed banned weapons just before the war, and that U.S. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer concluded that Iraq held prohibited arms or ran major programs. In fact, Duelfer and the others who have probed the matter found neither weapons of mass destruction nor major programs for producing them.

On al Qaeda's ties to Iraq, similarly, 75 percent of Bush supporters believed that Iraq either gave al Qaeda "substantial support" or direct involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; 30 percent of Kerry supporters held these views. A majority of Bush supporters believed the 9/11 commission backed them up on these beliefs, although the panel found no cooperation between the two, only some contacts.

The PIPA poll also found that 31 percent of Bush supporters believed the majority of people in the world opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq, compared with 74 percent of Kerry supporters. Bush supporters also believed most of the world favors Bush's reelection. PIPA, analyzing these results, found a "tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information."

Bush and Kerry supporters agreed on a couple of things. Majorities of both said the Bush administration continues to say that Iraq possessed prohibited weapons just before the war, and that the United States has found clear evidence that Saddam Hussein worked closely with al Qaeda. http://www.pipa.org/

Another polling outfit, SurveyUSA, has found a broad "education gap" between Bush and Kerry supporters. Nationwide, those who attended graduate school are 11 percentage points more Democratic than those who did not attend college. The gap is largest in Maryland, where it's 38 percent. http://www.surveyusa.com/Scorecards/2004EducationGap101804.html

One Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Birds

Why does Mike McCurry keep reading the stage directions aloud?

The Bush campaign has a firm rule: Don't talk about "the process" of politics, because that only results in unflattering stories. But McCurry, the former Clinton press secretary and now Kerry adviser, speaks freely about the motives behind Kerry's words and actions.

"What we're trying to do in all of these speeches is follow the frame that you've been hearing in over the last several days, that there is hope for the middle class if you can look at John Kerry as the guy who's going to fight for you," McCurry volunteered last week. And: "We have got to press as hard as we can in this coming week to define that choice."

McCurry may have pulled the curtains back too far when he said that Kerry was going goose hunting on Thursday, not just for pleasure or sport but to show a "personal dimension" of Kerry, who has "likability" problems. "We want people to have a better sense of John Kerry the guy." This, naturally, produced a round of stories less about Kerry's hunting trip than about how the campaign was trying to make Kerry look like a regular guy -- and a memorable Bush quip: "He can run -- he can even run in camo -- but he cannot hide."

Giving Obama the Keyes to Victory

These have not been the best of times for Alan Keyes, the perennial presidential hopeful who is now the GOP candidate for the Senate in Illinois. The most recent poll by the Chicago Tribune shows him trailing Democrat Barack Obama by an incredible 51 percentage points. National Republicans have kept their distance, particularly since Keyes disparaged Vice President Cheney's daughter.

Now it seems even the Illinois GOP is cutting Keyes loose. The Tribune reports that he was left off a state party mailer -- "Your 2004 Republican Team" -- listing every candidate from Bush to the state legislature. The state party spokesman said no snub was intended because "the Keyes campaign is doing its own thing."

Monday, October 25, 2004

Partisan Hackery

Hey everyone.

The subject of this post is a bit dated, however I think that the topic is still relevant today and grows in importance month after month. What I'm talking about is the partisan bias in today's media.

Nowhere was this best exemplified than when Jon Stewart, the comedian host of "The Daily Show" appeared on CNN's Crossfire about two weeks ago. Stewart, who's on a promotional tour for the book "America" came on the show that he has charged many times as being "bad" in order to confront the hosts and discuss the various complaints he had about, what Stewart called, the show's, "Partisan Hackery." The result of his appearance proved his point.

One of my main criticisms with the candidates during the presidential debates, and especially with the Kerry / Edwards team, and Bush in the first debate, was their inability to change tactics, vary their arguments and even reevaluate their positions. Too many times we saw them drone their "message" no matter what conflicting situations occurred, or what the response of their opponent was. It began to look like one of those Saturday Night Live parodies. The same thing occurred when Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson faced down the cheeky Stewart. (And oh God, I only wish that James Carville, and/ or Robert Novak would have been there--Carville, who's now on Kerry's election team, and Novak...well, there's a special place in hell for him) Stewart came on the show with confrontation on his mind and sought serious discussion about the direction that the media was going. The co-hosts were caught flat footed. Begala looked pained, as if he had a case of terminal gas, while Carlson resorted to name calling. It almost seemed as if they wanted to prove Stewart's point for him.

And what exactly was the point Stewart wanted to make? That under the guise of "real" journalism (See, "fair and balanced" and the rest of that bullshit) the media, and news companies, push a partisan agenda through agents like Begala, Carlson, et al. I knew this, you most likely know this, however millions of Americans daily, turn into these types of shows expecting actual facts. People have forgotten what the news used to be, when people like Walter Cronkite was called the most trusted man in America. He wasn't trusted because he was a Republican or a Democrat, he wasn't trusted because he was a liberal or conservative, he was trusted because people could depend that what he said was fact, and with that fact people could do a strange thing--make up their own minds. Today's media repackages arguments, opinions and platforms that replace peoples' ability to think critically, and it does it in convenient "sound bites" that make absolutely no sense at all except as a psychological tool to refresh the candidate's image on the viewers consciousness. For example:

Commentators Question #1:

"There have been numerous American deaths in Iraq since the President landed on the USS Lincoln and stated "Mission Accomplished." Was the president hastily in making this statement, or are we facing a new type of war that challenges our definition of victory?"

"Fair and Balanced" Pundit response #1:

"I'm glad you asked me that question. We must stay the course and continue fighting the enemy from all fronts no matter what cost. Bush said, we should stay the course and that's exactly what we should do. Remember, STAY THE COURSE."

"Fair and Balanced" Pundit response #2:

"I'm glad you asked me that question as well. Staying the course is not the solution. We can do better. They want to stay the course, but John Kerry has said, we can do better, and that's what he's going to do. Remember, WE CAN DO BETTER."


"Thanks for this open and frank debate."

Can you guess who's the Democrat and who's the Republican?

It sounds comedic doesn't it? But yet, Hardball, Crossfire, and even Meet The Press has picked up on this dualistic fashion of delivering the news. Might over right, style over fact. Is it any wonder that more and more people tune into The Daily Show to get their news? I mean, if we are going to have this absurd theater as our method of getting information, then shouldn't people just cut the shit and go directly to comics? Hell, nowadays I can get more information and deeper insight into our political landscape by reading The Boondocks than the front page of the newspaper it's buried in.

As amusing as it was to see Tucker and Paul get beat around by Stewart, there was a tragic quality in Stewart's voice that sorta sucked the joyfulness out of it. When he said "You're hurting America." His usual stammering--that comic beat, which delivers lines with a humorous mastery--took on another flavor, and that was pleading. Pleading to at least drop the pretentiousness for a moment and be real with the public, even if just for a segment. They couldn't do it. All they could do was introduce their set questions and tell the people "Get ready to put Stewart in the rapid fire!" It was like watching a medic trying to play checkers with a man with a heart attack. It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

I wish I had a suggestion to make it better. To return the media, not to some idealistic "Good ole days," age, but rather to a moment when bias wasn't at the pandemic that it is now. The only advice I can give readers of this post is to keep your fingers on the triggers of your critical thought, and shoot long, hard and fast at all of the so called "news" that you hear, read and see. Take nothing at face value, and in the same manner we criticize our politicians we should scrutinize our anchorpeople.

Until then, we'll always have The Daily Show: a show so honest it tells you that it's fake.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The interesting thing about faith

Hi everyone,

I know you haven't seen me around in a while. I didn't even do any reporting about the third and final debate, of course if you really want to know what I thought then just read my post on the first two debates and then substitute "third" before the word debate. Though I will admit Bush did better, both candidates "stayed the course." It was repetitive, and if you're following this election, then you were bored stiff. And that was just it. I didn't write anything because one--it was dull (except on the topic of Cheney's daughter, yet another media and political distraction) and two--I was having my semi-monthly political OD. There's only so much of this BS I can take, and when I think about how "close" this race is supposed to be, with all these "swing voters" I want to take a chainsaw to my neck.

Which brings me to the topic of this. Faith.

Today, I was on my way to work when three Jehovah Witnesses accosted me with their Watchtowers. Usually this would only mildly irritate me, but today it really churned my butter. I was thinking to myself as I waved them off, that here I am, running to work so I can pay my rent, and bills and bar tab(s), and these women are, at the same time, roaming the streets hawking God and I wondered, "Who the hell is paying these women? Do they have homes? Where are they getting their money from?" Money, that's what it all comes down to. Follow the money and you'll understand the motivations, and in their case money is the price of faith. Only the most devout believers wander for naught, but these women were well dressed, and well fed-- not the standards of your wandering pilgrims. But even that didn't bother me as much as this: I met them on the streets of Harlem. Harlem, though not the Mad Max terror zone that the media makes it out to be, is a neighborhood of many social ills. Education and social programs aren't funded and operated properly. We have the highest incidences of asthma in New York City among children, and gentrification looms over most of the traditional populations head threatening to run them out of their low cost rent stabilized homes and into...who knows, maybe the Hudson River, and through all of this our political foundations are nearly non existent. I can run into these wandering bands of Watchtower bandits, but a voter registration worker or a Kerry (or Bush) campaign worker is as rare as a health food store. Why? Do people believe that God, or man will make life better for them? Is it faith, or fact?

And that right there is the interesting thing about faith in this country. The way we, as Americans, blind ourselves to the reality of a situation through a shroud of faith, rather than work on practical realistic solutions. A majority of people who are for Bush are "Born-again Christians," a group that GWB claims to belong to. These are people who choose to put their hopes and dreams primarily and firstly in the hands of God, rather than elected officials or, heaven help, their own hands. Frightening as this method seems in ordinary hands, it is even more terrifying in the hands of our chief executive who seems to rely on "faith based thinking" to create public policy. Can we even debate that our whole reasoning to go to war was anything other than "faith based thinking" rather than fact?

And this ideology turns even from religion. We have people depending on blind faith when it comes to patriotism ("my country right or wrong") and our medical industry. They are dependent on faith to maintain the status quo even when evidence points to the contrary. Right now there is a tremendous lack of a flu vaccine which endangers the lives of thousands upon thousands of Americans. Last year along roughly 31,000 Americans died of the flu--a whopping 1000 times higher (maybe more) than those that died of terrorism. Yet we spent 200 Billion, not counting the money spent on the war (if you think that's combating terrorism), but we have a flu vaccine shortage. Once again, blind faith in the medical industry, blind faith in our elected officials.

Faith is a good thing--don't get me wrong, I am not an atheist by any means. Yet my mother and grandmother, the two most religious people in my family, always taught me that "God helps those who help themselves." Faith is best utilized when joined with experience and fact. I place faith in reputation, and reputation is an ongoing process. Every day when a person wakes up they stake their reputation on their future decisions. When they mess up we should approach that mistake with as much understanding that we can muster, but yes, their reputation is tarnished. A title or a family should be no guarantee of a person's mettle, only the validity of their actions.

We have spent too long selling blind faith as a manner of decision making--it takes pressure off of us, but in the long run it will be detrimental to the nation as a whole.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Facts

If you recall I posted up some links to articles discussing the facts behind much of the charges Edwards and Cheney leveled at each other during their debate. Therefore, in the true spirit of bipartisanship, I present to you a link to a Washington Post article posted on msnbc.com, which discusses the "Questionable Claims" made by Bush and Kerry in their last debate. Enjoy!


I think you'll discover, in the words of factcheck.org that Kerry got it "mostly right." Dammit! There goes bipartisanship!

How Sweet It Is...

Picture it.

11pm, Friday night. Five fraternity brothers sitting in a room watching the presidential debate with the same intensity and expectation of the Yankee game--currently in progress. They have beers, of course, but the silence is inconsistent to their usual glee. They are hunched forward, and someone says, "This better be good."

We were not disappointed.

The debate last night was a throwdown, tensions running as high as a Mariah Carey note. They were in each other's faces, refusing to concede a point. Even the usually giddy Charlie Gibson was confrontational, demanding straight answers from the two candidates when set answers were given. Another person in the room says, "This is better than the Trinidad fight!"

On a deeper level, this debate took on a greater significance than either of the opponents. Bush and Kerry became iconic--symbols of some of the greatest ideologies that this country stands on. The idea that no man is beyond criticism and public scrutiny. I heard one of the spinsters after the debate say that Kerry was "disrespectful." I don't think he was. Kerry was direct and Kerry was forceful, and while that might be disrespectful to the King of England or Sweden, we live in a country without titles. We live in a country where a person stands on their own merits and actions, and in the office of the presidency we find no other job to stand equal to the necessity for fair and just actions. When a president cannot adequately substantiate his decisions he cannot hide behind his title to give him shield from criticism. In fact it is demanded that the population holds him accountable for his actions, otherwise we run the risk of falling into tyranny. When Kerry looked at Bush and said "The world is more dangerous today because the president didn't make the right judgments." I knew the Bush cadre's game of the Wizard of Oz was coming to a close. It was time that we all remembered that the President of the United States is still a man, who, just like the bus driver that crashes the bus, or the surgeon who does a castration instead of a vasectomy, or the business owner who embezzles money, and all the rest of us, he must also be held accountable for their actions. No more no less.

Watching Kerry do his work out there, for a moment, made me believe in Justice. And whether of not you're for Kerry (Actually another member of our group said to me "I'm actually kinda impressed by him [Kerry]--maybe he does have a spine.") Maybe even if you're for Bush, you have to realize that he has had the weird luck of having the least amount of media and internal scrutiny of perhaps any president, or at least any president in recent history. Watching the news felt like the rumor mill in the back of your 5th grade class-- "Pssst! I hear that the President stole the election--but don't say it too loudly or he might hear you." For that hour and a half watching Kerry, in front of Bush, state all of those unstated statements, say all those little things that you've been ticked off about, but could never afford to get that private audience with the president (You know, like the WAR, and the ECONOMY, and the WAR, and the WAR {Yeah--its kind of an important issue}) it felt like you were there. It felt like a politician was doing something that they always promise to do--stand up for the little guy.

As Kerry said (one of the best puns in years) "You need intelligence to fight a war..." And yesterday we saw that Bush has little of that, and a ton of stubbornness. Even though President Bush is privy to "The Internets," which leads me to believe he has more than one--his platform is one of faith. Faith to a man who appears intellectually bankrupt and fanatically religious, and his answers to the questions on abortion and stem-cell research seem to prove it.

I won't bore you with any more of my rhetoric. But I will make one parting note before I end this post. Kerry's image in the last week or so since that first debate has made a 180. Alot of it came from putting a seasoned veteran (In more ways than one) into the ring with an inept puppet. But I think Kerry has gone past that. He's actually gone past tearing down Bush's facade to show America that he might actually have some principals of his own. His response in regards to abortion:

"First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today. But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that. But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society."

In the forum of abortion, people may say you're either for it or against it--but I like the line Kerry draws here. It seems wise, and reasonable, and intelligent. I remember saying to one of guys in the room "I think he just got 5 million votes for that response." And someone responded "Yeah, well he lost 6 million in the bible belt." Well if that's the case, so be it. I said it before, and I'll say it again. I was waiting to hear what Kerry stood for and to draw that dividing line in the sand. Kerry did his part, and I think he's created a more intelligent, and reasonable platform than Bush, who's tenure has been a gigantic screw up. Yet, if these particular issues matter more to people than rationality, if your religious' beliefs supersede your belief in the constitution, and the separation of the church and state, and you use your vote to try for some pseudo-referendum on what our government stands for then by all means "vote your heart." We deserve what we get. My grandma had a saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink." Kerry's showing us the way, now it's up to us.

Until then I'm going to bask in another minor victory, and think of how sweet it is.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

An Early Christmas gift

I must have been a very good boy this year (and Santa...I have been) because this morning, lo and behold, I opened the Daily News, and the New York Times to discover, that most of what Dick Cheney said during the debate were lies and exaggerations. I could go over them one by one, but, if you're like me, you would like to go straight to the source to enjoy every one.



My personal favorite, which I have to post separately here, was from the Daily News article which says:

"Cheney made another misstep when he told voters to go to factcheck.com to see the truth about Edwards' charges that Cheney's old firm Halliburton illegally dealt with Libya and Iran.
Cheney actually meant factcheck.org. Visitors to factcheck.com are sent to the site of billionaire George Soros, a liberal who rails against Cheney and President Bush.
The other Internet site, factcheck.org posted a message last night that said while Cheney and Edwards had mangled facts in their debate, "Edwards was mostly right" in his criticism of Halliburton."

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A North Carolinian in Darth Cheney's Court

Everyone knows which side of the fence I'm on. I have Democrat on my Voter's Registration card, my mom, my dad, my girlfriend and most of my friends (at least those who are human--har har) are Democrats. However, unlike some of the spin doctors, and some of the die hard, fanatical Dems in the party I cannot disregard my senses and my reasoning for the greater good of my party. I like to tell it like I see it and what I saw last night was a well intentioned, stalwart, and feisty John Edwards beaten in the 2004 Vice-presidential debate by the experienced incumbent Dick Cheney.

Many adjectives, describing the debate, have flown in the headlines in the last twelve hours. One of most popular has been 'nasty,' which was the New York Daily News' cover page headline. I'd have preferred the words 'experienced' or 'prepared,' because that really is what this debate boiled down to--'nasty' is what a vice-presidential debate is supposed to be. It's like calling a boxing match 'brutal;' if it wasn't brutal then it was borning.

Unlike his boss (if you can call GWB that) Cheney was composed, yet loose, quick to stay on topic and flexible to not only block any Edwards' thrusts, but to counter with rebuttals of his own. In fact most of the time Edwards, too set on presenting the Democratic platform, seemed grounded in delivering a speech rather than a debate. On Iraq, Edwards hung back on questions asked by the moderator, trying to hammer in the points that Saddam had no connection to 9/11 and few, if any, connections to Al-Qaeda. Cheney steamrolled over these points in a way the President couldn't, he stated facts, which though debatable, was delivered with frankness and calmness. Edwards, too stuck in his set statements was not quick enough to foil his opponent's challenges, instead repeating statements such as:

"Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people. I mean, the reality you and George Bush continue to tell people, first, that things are going well in Iraq the American people don't need us to explain this to them, they see it on their television every single day. "

After the first time, or the second time, we understand your statement--however when you continue to hark upon the same statement it begins to sound programmed, and unauthentic. Within the first five minutes of the debate you stated all that you needed to, or all that you had, regarding the connections, or lack of, between Iraq and terrorism. At that moment curtness would have been in your favor, because restating does not get you points.

On domestic issues Cheney once again was not authoritatively challenged. Edwards seemed to stop his attack at sound bites and political blurbs. For example when asked:

"Senator Kerry said in a recent interview that he absolutely will not raise taxes on anyone under who earns under $200,000 a year. How can he guarantee that and also cut the deficit in half, as he's promised?"

Edwards response was:

"To pay for the things that we believe need to be done... what we're going to do is roll back tax cuts.

"And I want everyone to hear this, because there have been exaggerations made on the campaign trail: Roll back tax cuts for people who make over $200,000 a year; we will do that.
We want to keep the tax cuts that are in place for people who make less than $200,000 a year and give additional tax cuts to those middle-class families, tax cuts for health care, tax cuts to help families pay for their college tuition, tax cuts for child care.

"These families are struggling and hurting, and they need more tax relief, not less tax relief.
But to help get us back on the path to a balanced budget, we also want to get rid of some of the bureaucratic spending in Washington.

"One of the amazing things that's happened is the VP actually layered on more supervisory people, people at the supervisory level, in this government.

"We also want to close some corporate loopholes.

"Now, I want to be honest with people. We can't eliminate this deficit. People have heard that over and over and over in four years. We cannot do it. We're in too deep a hole.
But we can cut the deficit in half. And if we move, we can move this country back on a path to fiscal responsibility."

Once again Edwards is feeding us soft rhetoric instead of new ideas. Yes, we all know that the Bush tax cuts, along with the insane spending on the war aren't good for America. But telling us what you think we want to hear, and telling us about "more tax relief" isn't offering us a new solution. I would have been happy if you had said more about what corporate loopholes you would close or--oh my God!--a tax hike on those who earn more than 200,000$ a year. When you play for high stakes you must ante just as high, and trying to play both sides of the issue is not going to be the way to win the election this year. A response like this isn't going to change anyone's mind to your side (remember Bush is also offering--and gave--tax cuts) but it also opened you up to an unblocked barrage from Cheney, which he deserved to get since, with all things being equal, his administration gave tax cuts, while Kerry and Edwards voted against them.

This was not the only issue Edwards tried to straddle the fence on--Gay marriage was also on that agenda. This idea that "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman--but I think they should have equal rights as partners." tells us nothing. If you are going to address the point either take a stance or do like Cheney, who...sigh...I can't believe I'm saying this, handled it with class by not addressing it--moonwalking across what could have been a significant pitfall.

And there were the openings that Edwards completely missed. For instance this comment that Cheney made regarding 'unilateral sanctions' against Iran during his tenure as the CEO of Halliberton:

"What happens when we impose unilateral sanctions is, unless there's a collective effort, then other people move in and take advantage of the situation and you don't have any impact, except to penalize American companies."

At this moment Edwards had a chance to crush Cheney--after all, what he's saying here basically is "hey, if everyone is stealing, and I don't steal, then I'm losing cash. Better to be with the rest of the world doing something unethical and profit, than doing the right thing." Which is interesting since this administration continues its unilateral sanctions against Cuba, while the rest of the world deals with the communist country. Edwards should have called Cheney out for his ethical flip flopping, and hypocrisy rather than continue to hark on the VP's connection with Halliburton, which he had previously stated. This is a good example of what I mean about flexibility in debates, and how sticking to a set plan can get you into more problems than solutions.

However, in criticizing my candidate I don't mean that I feel that Edwards performance was without merit. Edwards, through repetition, set a platform for Kerry's next debate that Bush will be hard pressed to face. That being the lack of connections between Saddam and 9/11, and Al-Qaeda, the corruption of Halliburton, and the fact that Bin Laden is still at large. These are the key strengths of the Democratic ticket, and it will have to be hammered home by Kerry. After all, as James Carvelle might say "It's the war stupid!" All us Dems can hope is that our nominee can make that point without sounding like an answering machine.

PS: Did any one notice that Edwards kept saying that they were going to kill the terrorists? I mean over and over it was kill, kill, kill! Who are we looking for? Bin Laden or Bill?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The whites of their eyes...

I forgot it was all about timing.

I forgot about patience.

I forgot that you don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

Fortunately Kerry didn't.

And whether or not you call it a tactic, the low ebb of energy, apathy and frustration of democrats was replaced with youthful enthusiasm, as we watched Kerry, at what seemed his last opportunity to show America what he was about, kick Bush's ass up and down that platform in Coral Gables. It was WONDERFUL. Nearly as good as a Paris Hilton video. Definitely better than the night-vision one.

But let me clarify how and why Kerry won the debate, since immediately afterward the spindoctors were on the job, grabbing the bread and scooping out whatever sauce Bush had left. Right after it was finished MSNBC poll had over 200,000 people scoring Kerry the winner 70 to 30, by today it was about 60 - 40. Now maybe we all didn't see the same debate, or maybe-- just maybe--the Rove team is using magic on us. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

There were three major categories to score this debate for me; major categories which were, as the pundits would say, focal points that Kerry and Bush needed to hit with the public. The first was image: did the candidate look presidential? The second was substance: did the candidate spell out, and articulate what they wanted to do? And finally there was reason and rationality: Did the candidate make sense?

In our first category I would have to say Kerry--hands down. He appeared more prepared, calm and reserved. Bush at his worse looked like a petulant 9 year old who wanted to throw a tantrum. Kerry had the image down pat, and it might have been his strongest attribute through out the entire debate. People talk of Bush's "common man quality." Well last I looked, we weren't electing Mr. America, but the President, and Bush--sadly--didn't look the part.

In the second category, I'd have to tie the debate. They both made clear their platforms. Bush rendered his usual message of "staying the course" repeatedly with statements such as:

"The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal, is to constantly stay on the offensive and, at the same time, spread liberty."

And of course, what has become Kerry's tag:

"I think that's wrong, and I think we can do better."

Finally, on the last category, Kerry utterly destroyed Bush and Kerry will continue to destroy Bush in regards to rationality because of Bush's platform of never changing his mind, or "never wavering." Rationality means reevaluating in the face of new evidence...it means changing positions and tactics...it means...well how about we have Kerry tell us what it means:

"It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It's another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right. What I worry about with the president is that he's not acknowledging what's on the ground, he's not acknowledging the realities of North Korea, he's not acknowledging the truth of the science of stem-cell research or of global warming and other issues.

And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble."

Regardless of the polls, Bush is in trouble. Unless he significantly changes his tactics, and becomes faster on the uptake Bush is going to continue to get humiliated. The real problem I see, and worry about, is this: should Bush continue to lose in these debates, and lose badly, yet the polls don't show Kerry pulling closer, then what does this say about the the debate system, or American participation? Do we really want a president who comes off addled, and pitiful but is excused because he has "common man quality," or do we want someone who shows extraordinary strength and intelligence. I used to complain because I felt that Kerry never gave us the opportunity for us to see that side of him. Now that he has, my worry is that America never cared about those attributes in the first place.

LabPixies TV