Friday, October 08, 2004

Second Debate

Let me just transcribe my notes. You can draw your own conclusions. "B" is "Bush" "K" is Kerry and "G" is Gibson. These are not verbatim, because I can't write fast enough.

Basically, I thought these questions were incredibly hard, and the answers incredibly revealing, and the gaffes incredibly hilarious.

B: "You gotta be consistent when you're the president -- there's a lot of pressures!"
"I wasn't happy when we found out there wadn't weapons." He organized an intelligence review to find out why.

G: (to Bush) "Well, I was going to let you do a rebuttal, but you go ahead."

K: "The goal of the sanctions was not to remove Saddam Hussein. It was to remove the weapons. They worked."

B: "I know how these people think! I work with them every day." IE I'm a world leader! Really! "They won't follow someone who says wrong war wrong place wrong time." IE if you made a mistake, the least you can do is stand by it! "It's working." Um.

But he insisted on the connection between Iraq and the war on terror more this time -- that Saddam could have given away his weapons... So if there were no weapons, doesn't that make it the wrong war?

He said some stuff I think he believes about unpopular decisions. See the comments to my last debate post...

He looked incredibly uncomfortable when Kerry was talking.

He asked the generals, "Do you have what you need for the war?" You shouldn't patronize generals.

K: "Didn't close the borders, didn't guard the ammunition dumps." And I love that he's campaigning on cutting our nuclear weapons.

B: "We're doing what Senator Kerry suggested we should do." (Kerry's a smart guy, huh?) We're getting the "Brits" and the Germans involved. But apparently that doesn't work in Iraq?

"I hear there's rumours on the internets, that we're going to have to another draft." The all volunteer army works, "especially when we pay them well and provide housing." Too bad he's cut those things.

And he is scaling back troops, in North Korea... Which a minute ago was a huge threat.

"We need to be more facile"?

K: (looks interested when Bush is talking. No Gore head-shakes.)

Has a long list of generals for Kerry.

B: talking over the moderator! "Tell Tony Blair we don't have a coalition!"

K: Missouri would be the third largest country...

K: "Out into the homelands"?

B: "The best way to defend America is to stay on the offence." He believes that.

B: "If Iraq were to fail, it would be a haven for terrorists." That's what his critics say.

"This war is a long, long war..." Ditto.

B: Why block drug importation. "I haven't yet." Yet? "It might be from a third world."

K: Four years ago Bush was in favor of importation. Made it illegal for Medicare to bulk buy, like the VA does.

B: "He has been in the U-nit-ed States senate 20 years."

K: "OGBYN's and brain surgeons." (pointing to head.)

B: "...named Senator Kennedy (sic) the most liberal senator..." "That's what Liberals do! They create government health care." Oh, that's what liberals do.

Why don't you have a better fiscal record? "We have a deficit!"

(On cutting taxes.) "It increases demand, or investment." Or something?

K: The first time we've had a tax cut when we're at awar.

Question: "How will you improve the economy?"

B: "It was going down before I got into office."

K: "I'm pledging I will not raise taxes. I will cut taxes on families earning less that two hundred thousand dollars."

B: "We got battling green eyeshades." (This confused my friends.)

"He looked at me like my time was up." Um?

"I got a plan to increase the wetlands by three million." This reminds me of a boot-up error I got once. "Windows needs 7". Next time someone leaves units off on a lab report, I'm writing "Two point five what? Two point five wetlands?"

K: "I was broke[,] with my party."

"I'm gonna be a president who believes in science.

Question: "How can the U.S. be competitive given the wage gap?"

K: Make American companies hire Amerians.

B: "I want to incent" companies to keep jobs here.

My absolute favorite--

B: "I own a timber company?(??) Nobody told me. Anybody need some wood?"

(boggle) Why would you deny that? Did he seriously think Kerry might have made up such a specific factoid? And such a checkable one? Who would make up a thing like that?

K: "The Wall Street Journal says my tax plan doesn't affect 96% of small businesses."

B: "It just does!"

B: (on the Patriot Act) "I really don't think your rights are being watered down. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't support it if I did." He says that like, "it might surprise you to know..."

B: Stem cell research is wrong, and I'm the first president ever to fund it.

Question: "Who would you nominate the the Supreme Court?"

B: "I'm not tellin'."

"Strict constructionist." No Dred Scott cases -- but strictly, the Constitution allowed slaves to be treated as property.

Wouldn't it be great if there were really a litmus test (like a strip on the tongue) and you only got the job if it wasn't acidic?

K: Dodged gay marriage, on the Supreme Court question.

Catholic, but for funding abortion.

B: Reasonable ways to decrease abortion. (I agree.)

K: Not so simple. (I agree.)

B: "Yuu can run, but you can't hide. Reality." --- What?

B: (on mistakes he's made -- great question! But he was coached.) "Appointments to a board you've never heard of..." "I don't want to hurt anyone's feeling on national TV."

B: "Saddam would still be in power, and the world would be much better off."

Closing statements --

G: "Kerry will go first as agreed."

B: "Well actually."

K: "You wanna go first."

B: "Either way."

K: "We won't cede authority to any nation, any country, any institution..." Are there any countries that aren't nations? Maybe Wales? We won't cede authority to Wales?

B: (listing his achievements?) "We've been through a lot together recession, corporate scandals, war..."

And finally, was it just my TV, or did Bush's hair look green? And what's with the moderator's teleprompter showing up at the end?


Simon said...

A couple of relevant quotations:

>B: "You gotta be consistent when you're the president -- >there's a lot of pressures!"

From the latest DNRC newsletter (Scott Adams's Dilbert marketing):

"A strong leader is expected to maintain steadfast resolve in his opinion even if... he gets new information. In any other context, that would be considered the first sign of a brain tumour. When presidents do it, it's called leadership"

>B: "Yuu can run, but you can't hide. Reality." What?

Were it not from Bush, I'd assume it were a reference to Richard Feynman's comment:

"For a successful technology, reality must take
precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot
be fooled."

>And finally, was it just my TV, or did Bush's hair look >green?

I haven't seen either debate, but over at there is a thread about whether the lighting was unfair in the first one - looked like Kerry was missing any fill light (having seen a still shot, i agree). Probably means either that a lamp blew, or that he asked for it off becaues it was in his eyes or something, but it's given rise to complaints about "the lighting director's obvious politics", etc...

Eric said...

I'm sure that at one point GWB clearly misrepresented what Kerry had sais a matter of secinds before. He did that in the last debate, he did it at least once this time. I suppose he's mainly after the goldfish vote.

I think that Kerry won the debate in all respects except one. Sadly that one is the reason GWB will probably win the election, he is extremely good at repearing the same two or three phrases continually for over an hour. Some people will only remember that from the debate, and they will include a lot of the undecided voters, because they are the people who aren't really paying attention. That's why the Republican pundits look so smug. They know they don't have to win the arguments, they just need a few uncommitted voters to get it into their head that Bush is a strong leader and that Kerry waffles and wavers. In itself that will probably be enough to win.

The Democrats have successfully and clearly made two points that mean nothing to a huge proportion of the electorate. Even some otherwise quite educated people don't see that there's any distinction between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. To put ot crudely they don't actually care which Arab Muslims get an arse kicking so long as they get to feel they are getting revenge for 9-11. Bush has given them what they want, killed a lot of Arabs. They aren't going to forget it in a hurry and there's no way on earth they are going to be willing to analyse it in detail because that would require confronting their own attitudes. The least likely people seem to still see morality purely in terms of the good guy and the bad guy having a show down at high noon.

That's also the reason why proving that Bush's "miscalculations" have made the world less safe is a pointless approach in terms of gaining votes. Many people don't care. First priority for them is that somebody gets hurt, preferably somebody a long way away that it;s possible to easily lump in with Al Qaeda as being "the bad guys". They don't need the world to be safe, they need Power Cable Nebraska to feel safe. Note the word "feel".

If I was part of the campaign team for Kerry I'd be demanding that the primary approach be to clearly define GWB as a compulsive liar. A little unfair perhaps in many ways, he doesn't lie about everything, no politician always tells the truth because sometimes there are good reasons not to (national security, personal discretion), and he also sincerely believes a lot pf nonsense. However it would reach the voters who will decide the elecction in a way they would respond to. "This man lied to you" resonates on a level that the uncommitted and unconcerned will respond to on a personal and emotional basis.

Too late now.

Anonymous said...

I won't allow myself to spend the time to respond to all of this, but I will make one note:

I was annoyed that Kerry was consistently not answering the questions a lot of the time, or talked about other things as well- which is of course why the moderator had done things like saying before Bush's rebuttal "That brings up..." which is something he didn't do to Kerry since Bush at least mostly stuck to the questions.

Anonymous said...

I won't allow myself to spend the time to respond to all of this, but I will make one note:

I was annoyed that Kerry was consistently not answering the questions a lot of the time, or talked about other things as well- which is of course why the moderator had done things like saying before Bush's rebuttal "That brings up..." which is something he didn't do to Kerry since Bush at least mostly stuck to the questions.

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