Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, October 01, 2004

William Rivers Pitt | It Was a Rout

William Rivers Pitt | It Was a Rout:
"'Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!'

- Howard Cosell
There was a President on that stage in Florida on Thursday night, and his name was not George.
This was supposed to be the debate that played to the strengths of Bush and his administration. Foreign policy in general and the protection of the United States from terrorism in particular, according to all the polls and every talking head within earshot, are the areas where George supposedly commands the high ground. That illusion came crashing down on the stage in Coral Gables.

How else can one describe the demeanor and behavior of Bush, as seen by 40,000,000 television viewers and heard by millions more radio listeners? Shrill. Defensive. Muddled. Angry, very angry. Repetitive. Uninformed. Outmatched. Unprepared. Hesitant. Twenty four minutes into the debate, Bush lost his temper, and spent the remaining hour and six minutes looking for all the world as though he were sucking on a particularly bitter lemon.

This is what happens when you surround yourself with yes-men. John Kerry put the bricks to Bush and the last four years of his administration clearly, concisely, eloquently and with devastating effect. Bush reacted like a man who has never, ever had anyone tell him anything other than "Good job, sir."

That is what happens when you have to defend your record as President, something that no one in the media or elsewhere had managed to force Bush to do in the last 1,000 days. In the October 2000 debate, Bush managed to hold his own simply by making promises and telegraphing an aw-shucks charm. On Thursday night, Bush faced a reckoning at the hands of a man who cut his teeth prosecuting and imprisoning mob bosses.

This was not a Bush meltdown. It was an exposure. George W. Bush was required to speak for 90 minutes without having the questions beforehand, facing an opponent far less pliable than the national press corps. The man he has always been, stripped of the hero-worship veneer, was there for all to see.

Don't take my word for it, though.

"They need to make Americans forget what happened tonight," said ultraconservative Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, speaking on what he believed the Bush campaign needed to do post-debate. Right out of the gate, Scarborough and the other talking heads gave the debate to Kerry, hands down, turn out the lights when you leave. "I think John Kerry," said Scarborough a bit later, "looked more Presidential."

A post-debate caller to C-SPAN announced herself as one who had voted for and supported Bush, and then described the Democratic candidate as "President Kerry." Freudian slip? We report, you decide.

At, the bastion of far-right cheerleading, the faithful were fashioning nooses. "It's really painful listening to Bush," said one Godebert. "Kerry has had him on the defensive from the beginning. Kerry sounds confident while Bush has a pleading defensive tone. Not good so far."

"Kerry looked much more experienced," said one whadizit. "He appeared to be relaxed and in control. W looked weary and worn and sounded weary and worn."

"Unfortunately," saith The Sons of Liberty, "Kerry looked more prepared. He seemed to have more facts, however questionable, at his command and he delivered his message succinctly. Even when confronted on his flip-flops, he had plausible explanations. On the other hand, The President seemed to lose his train of thought at times. He continued to repeat the same things, and he looked tired and a little haggard. He needs to do much better next time."

The comments went on and drearily on in this vein, in conversation thread after conversation thread, until a forum participant named areafiftyone threw the distraught legions a lifeline: "I had that feeling that Kerry had the questions beforehand. He seemed to have his answers right on target. Bush seemed like he was surprised by the questions. I wish they could investigate to see if the DNC got a hold of the questions beforehand."

Yeah, that's it. Never mind that one participant had total command of the facts, an understanding of the foreign policy realm, a firm grasp on the situations in Iraq, North Korea and Afghanistan, while the other participant seemed shocked that faded platitudes and repeated campaign slogans weren't getting the job done. The shattering, humiliating, obvious defeat handed to George W. Bush before a massive television audience must have come because moderator Jim Lehrer somehow conspired with debate host Fox News to telegraph the questions to Kerry beforehand.

Or something. "



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