Friday, October 01, 2004
Post-Game Wrap-up

Last night I did a post on the debate as I personally saw it; but as we all know, that's only half the game. A big part of "what really happened" (sometimes including things that didn't really happen) comes from the post-debate analysis and commentary. And the information society has been buzzing with activity last night and all day today.

The consensus: Kerry won it, hands-down.

As pointed out elsewhere, Kerry's victory wasn't particularly about how great Kerry was, it was about how utterly substandard Bush was. Kerry did nothing more than come on and speak rationally, making his points competently and succinctly -- which is, after all, the point of a debate. Bush, on the other hand was a cranky, fidgety mess who floundered his way through nonsense answers. I wouldn't even attempt to put it better than James Wolcott has:
Since then Bush has been wheeled out into forums where no one can dare question or contradict his majesty, where he can lean forward and repeat ad nauseam his patented soundbites. Last night I believe we saw the ugly comeback of the private face of Bush--the irritable expressions he flashes subordinates when he's presented with information he doesn't like or feels someone's taken up too much of his time or is pressed to explain himself to people he shouldn't have to explain himself to because he's the president and fuck you. The notion that Bush is "likeable" has always been laughable. It takes a Washington pundit to be that dumb. He's an angry, spoiled, resentful little big man--I use "little big man" in the Reichian sense of a small personality who puffs himself up to look big through bluster and swagger but remains a scheming coward inside--and next to a genuinely big man like Kerry, shrunk before the camera's eyes.

Without a hand-picked crowd of oath-signing supporters and a teleprompter, the guy's at a complete loss. When somebody actually dares to disagree or question him, he reverts to his irritable fratboy-king persona. I mean, seriously, what did we expect? For a week we've been hearing about what a phenomenal debater he is, but when it comes to the truly important subjects, he's hopelessly out of his depth, and looks it.

But we've still two Presidential debates to go, so we can't afford to become complacent. Remember, foreign policy is the subject that Bush was supposed to have in the bag; this is considered his strongest case. A week from today Bush and Kerry will be talking Town Hall-style in St. Louis with a bunch of so-called "soft supporters" asking the questions (probably Bush's best chance to recover somewhat from this blow); and on 13 Oct. they'll be in Tempe, Arizona talking domestic policy and the economy. I expect we'll be hearing Bush say the phrase "tax cuts" over and over and over again like a glitchy robot that night, 'cause he's got nothing else he can possibly say. Except maybe "gay marriage" to wind up the yokelry.

Me, I think Bush is working way too hard. Poor guy only gets every third month off; we should get together and give him a nice, long vacation.

PS: Wait, I forgot Poland! Wonderful Poland, who stands side-by-side with American troops, and whom Bush so clearly sought to honor last night:
"They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride."
~ President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland

By the way, Poland's pulling out. Apparently they agree with Kerry that the Iraq war is a catastrophe.

PPS: Fox News is so at a loss for anything right-wingerish to say that they've resorted to simply making shit up.

Also: Here's a full transcript of the debate. And a seriously funny look at what Bush was furiously scribbling last night.
5:15 PM ::
Amy :: permalink