Monday, October 11, 2004

Disturbing Footage

I just saw a particularly disturbing Quicktime movie that someone has assembled out there in Net land, and I recommend it highly for its video content (if not entirely for its message).

It lays Dubya's performance in the 1994 Gubernatorial debate against his performance in the first 2004 Presidential debate, and it is shocking how much less articulate he has become. The point of the video is to argue that Dubya has "pre-senile dementia," which I think is a bit of a stretch. But I had forgotten that Young Dubya was reasonably articulate -- at least when compared to his present self.


Makes you wonder about the prospects for a second term.

Bush's second debate performance was better, but not good enough. He had the most ridiculous plastered-on smile when he wasn't talking, all the more absurd because of his attack-dog body language. Once again, neither candidate actually answered the questions being asked of him. And once again, Kerry did a lot to make himself look more "Presidential" than Rove had painted him.

Meanwhile, Kerry's new problem is the New York Times Magazine article about his views on the "War on Terror." Fascinating article -- the author spends much time talking about how Kerry is hyper-careful to watch his words lest he be called "flip-flopping," even when it would make perfect sense to do so. As a result, author Matt Bai has a hard time assessing his own criticism that Kerry has not laid out his own world-view of the problem of terrorism -- probably because Rove would distort it the minute he did. Bai speculates that it actually is the "Mafia model" of terrorism that Bush tries to ridicule (e.g. the "September 10th" idea that terrorism is a criminal problem, not a military one), and defends that view as perhaps the more mature one. Yet Rove has already taken the article and distorted it to go on the attack, just as he did the "global test" line. So ironically, Kerry is proved right. Perhaps Kerry should have been even more reticent with the New York Times.

I have great sympathy for Kerry's problem. Even in an office of commercial litigators, I find that Bush supporters have no patience for nuanced political argument -- even when the complexity of the world warrants that nuance. It drives me up the wall, and I know it has to be driving Kerry berserk.

 8:05 AM

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