today I’ve run across more articles using subsets of that item I found in National Review yesterday. The accepted interpretation seems to be, Kerry won on style, but Bush won on the idealogical substance he was unable to coherently articulate ... and that he was off his game. They then go to great lengths to fill in Mr Bush’s blanks for him. Pure Reagan-era, for those who remember. Reagan would field some wing-nut claim, and the aides, press secretary and chief of staff would ‘interpret’ the idealogy for the media the next day.
None of the media’s been matter-of-fact about the debate; Mr Bush was dreadful. After digging, the only refreshingly honest analysis I find is in a conservative organ. I admire this author for his candor, from across the idealogical divide. I will be gracious and say Mr Bush hit some good points, but they were so poorly expressed, that they were lost on anyone but party faithful and news wonks like ourselves.
He was disappointed in Mr Bush for not being in command of his dossier, not being sharp in debate. I don’t think Mr Bush is the particular individual to fulfill this expectation. Mr Bush campaigned in 2000 on a mind-numbingly static subset of mundane campaign points and tiresomely repeated them over and over. In speeches, in debates. I don’t believe he ever displayed the ability to think on his feet; it’s taken him four years to learn to use a teleprompter in more than three and four word halting phrases (fluency using prompters was something I used to teach in a couple of weeks to novices).
Mr Bush has got to be on top of everything now, master of policy, resolute war leader ... or he falls short of the expectations his own party has built up around him. Playing “hick at a hoe-down” ... grimacing with emotion, slouching on the podium, retreating to twanged colloquialisms when his mind is blank ... works against the ‘war leader’ perception. Being a ‘yuck-yuck’ average Joe doesn’t make anyone feel safer. There’s a fundamental disconnect between the two, and I believe it could be this perception that will cost him the election.
That being said, the media is performing predictably. Everyone’s sitting on the sidelines, flashing shifty glances at each other, waiting for someone to make the first move to place a meaning on the debate. How many paraphrases of “apparently Kerry might possibly be considered the winner, but only because of ...” can you stand?
Given this poor performance’, I believe the opposition will put a disproportional amount of weight on the Cheney/Edwards debate and the second ‘town hall’ Presidential debate. It will be difficult for Mr Edwards to counter the experience and professionalism of Mr Cheney ... and Mr Bush does better in an informal environment.
Sit on it, will ya?
Richard Avedon has died. Rest in peace, sir.
Napoleon said, “Let China sleep ...” — China’s waking up. But read this, in particular: “Historically low interest rates have fuelled housing bubbles in America and many other countries around the globe. At some stage prices will fall, obliging consumers to save much more and spend less. The unwinding of America’s vast economic imbalances could depress growth there for many years, whereas China’s slowdown looks likely to be fairly brief.” Economists are such joyful people ... the more I read them, the more I want to build a self-sustaining bunker in some agrarian environment.
MoMA is going up to $20 for admission? Oh, that hurts.
Kyoto a-go-go. “The Russian president must also hope the decision will restore his tarnished image in the world. Recent crackdowns on independent provincial governors and inconvenient journalists have attracted harsh criticism from abroad. By approving Kyoto, Mr Putin will claim to stand for stifling harmful gases, not just political freedoms.” He seems to be shifting his allegiance from America to EU, obviously a more rewarding relationship.
Strange but true: country music saps will to live. For some reason, reminded me of this Spooky Tooth album ...
“Life”, revived. Sign of the times?
House Ethics Panel Says DeLay Tried to Trade Favor for a Vote. “In a statement, Mr. DeLay said that he had not meant to violate House rules and that the panel had never ruled on this type of activity before.” See The Credit Mobiliere Scandal, one of the many scandals during the Grant Administration.
Read the House’s code of official conduct. You’ll find it interesting.
Debt Relief Deal for Poor Nations Seems to Be Near. Noone’s going to mention who started the initiative in America, however.
People will see what they want to see.
Another woeful performance by our President, a reasonable and optimistic performance by Mr Kerry. In any historical political environment, everyone would agree Mr Kerry clearly won the debate.
Mr Bush, on the defensive, hunkered over the podium. Thinly veiled petulance. Reacted strongly to Mr Kerry’s remarks; I assume he thought off-camera, as per debate agreement. Awkward pauses to gather thoughts, subsequently very poorly expressed. A couple of times he’d hit on something he’d rehearsed, and go to town. But very rarely. I still can’t tell what the babble about a “Japanese Summit” was about. And the “MOO-lahs.” Gawd. Better than “MEW-lahs”, I guess.
Mr Kerry made a few gaffes, was a bit too policy-wonkish at times. Never ruffled at anything Mr Bush said. No doubt the right wing spin machine will come out of this screaming that he wishes to mortgage our liberty to the United Nations and foreign influence. “Global test.” Oh, are we going to be sick of that in a week. I feel in the end, he should have used his summation to express that he not only has faith in our troops and America, but faith in us, the American people. A couple of missed chances, in other words. We’re all getting so very tired of Vietnam, in all forms, no matter how applicable.
Both men lost me a couple of times, but Bush far more. I didn’t catch Mr Bush, during his ‘character’ answer, say he respected Mr Kerry for his war service. Did you? Everything in the usual laundry list, but not that.
Ultimately, Mr Kerry will be judged on “presidentiality”, and accuracy of his facts. Does he seem like a flip-flopper, or does he seem statesmanlike? Everything he said will be micro-nitpicked. I think he succeeded admirably in throwing off the opposition’s negative impressions. More importantly, he took the fight, which was previously centered on himself, and dumped it straight on Bush’s unadorned head. Exactly what needed doing ... and, I’ll point out, more than Ronald Reagan was able to do with Carter in 1980 [which, as in this race, should have been slam-dunk easy].
Mr Bush will be judged on whether he could manage to put two words together coherently, whether he was able to stay on message, and not poop out before the end. He did all three, so everyone will be screaming ‘victory!’ He receives the same low-standard accolades that Mr Reagan enjoyed while in office. Any other Chief Executives in history were expected to know their dossier inside and out. It was beyond Reagan, and it’s clearly way beyond Bush.
My favorite soundbite of the night: “Of course I know Osama attacked us.” What heights of political discourse we have risen to! Ranks on the same list as Nixon’s “I am not a crook.”
So much for debate in America today. Reminds me once again of the Gore/Bush debates, how everyone agreed Gore clearly won the first, until the spinmeisters turned it on its head two days later. “Mixed messages.” Oh, yes. Mixed messages. We’ll be getting a lot of those in the next week. Where’s my foil hat?
Plan Would Let U.S. Deport Suspects to Nations That Might Torture Them. “... would apply to non-U.S. citizens who are suspected of having links to terrorist organizations but have not been tried on or convicted of any charges.” The Republicans would wash their hands, condemning unjudged individuals to torture at the hands of others. Sounds familiar. PBS, Religion and Ethics has an interesting article, and links at the bottom.
Due process, right to a trial, 5th amendment to the Constitution, was recently affirmed for prisoners at Guantanamo.
Prior law, Supreme Court opinions:
“The article is a restraint on the legislative as well as on the executive and judicial powers of the government, and cannot be so construed as to leave congress free to make any process ‘due process of law’ by its mere will.’’
“It is now the settled doctrine of this Court that the Due Process Clause embodies a system of rights based on moral principles so deeply imbedded in the traditions and feelings of our people as to be deemed fundamental to a civilized society as conceived by our whole history. Due Process is that which comports with the deepest notions of what is fair and right and just.’”
Addiction behind the burka: how Afghan women use drugs to cope with legacy of war. “War trauma is by far the biggest factor among those using opiates. Even if they didn’t start abuse during the war, the nightmares are still with them years later.”
Chronicle of Higher Ed:
American Jewish History: a Chance to Reflect. Note pluralism was promoted not by any sort of altruistic notion, but by mutual business advantage in New Netherland. Maybe that will be the rein on our modern-day evangelical awakening; the bottom line.
rips the new National Museum of the American Indian. It sounds like the author wants the good old authentic historical artifacts, dryly labelled and analyzed with current scholarship. The cigar-store indian, even. Maybe that’ll come, someday. It just opened, and must find its voice ... it sounds, from all accounts, that it is merely happy for existence at the moment. Indian art and craft breaks down into two subgroups here during Indian Market ... traditional, and contemporary. The traditional is intricate, yet bits of modernity leak in through modern materials. The contemporary ... that’s where the juice is. That’s where tradition is fighting to find a voice, and a place, in the modern world. Dozens, if not hundreds, of Fritz Scholder and RC Gorman wannabees ... but every so often you hit an artist who melds the culture of Native with the sledgehammer of modernity successfully. The past and present are inextricably linked; it sounds like the museum reflects that, and it is somewhat lost on this author. It will take a bit more effort, on the viewer’s part, on the museum’s part, to make that linkage.
Senate Opens Hearings on Lobbyists for Tribes. And the name DeLay pops up again. “The two - Jack Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist, and Michael S. Scanlon, a public relations specialist and former aide to Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader - sold themselves to the tribes as influential Washington operatives whose experience and relationships would reap great rewards for Native Americans.” Scalp ‘em. That’s what I say.
The Russian government says “let’s go” to Kyoto.
SF New Mexican:
Wayward moose visiting Heron Lake. Now there’s something I really want to see ... a moose in New Mexico. I wonder when the grizzlies will start populating southwards again? They’ve been gone for decades.