Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Master Debaters - St. Louis Blues (Part 1)

Last week, he was defensive and peevish. This week, he was angry and he shouted a lot. It's obvious Bush's guys are working hard to get his medication right. Here's hoping they find the right dosage of Paxil before the showdown in Tempe on Wednesday.

Is it just me, or didn't the EXACT SAME THING happen to Al Gore back in 2000?

Anyway, here's a blow-by-blow of the whole damn thing.

Question #1: Senator Kerry is asked if he is too wishy-washy. Kerry comes out swinging with a brilliant line about how the Republicans are trying to distract from their own failures by making up stories about his flip-flopping. He refers to Bush's campaign as a "weapon of mass deception."

Bush responds with the same tired Republican rhetoric about how Kerry changed his position on the war in Iraq. Anybody who gets their news from a source other than Rush or FOX knows this isn't true, but as always, the Republicans are counting on the laziness and stupidity of their supporters to sweep Bush into office.

Question #2: President Bush is asked if he was justified in invading Iraq. Bush yammers on and on about 9/11 and al Qaeda for a while before finally wandering back on topic. Finally gets around to saying that everybody thought Hussein posed a threat, so we were justified in invading. Once again, works in a reference to Kerry flip-flopping, because if he went five minutes without saying it, magic fairies would eat his children.

Kerry again defends his position, explaining that he never changed his mind, and the only reason the president keeps insisting otherwise is to distract the voters from his own abysmal failures on domestic issues. Once again, just in case any Republicans are actually listening to him, Kerry explains that he didn't vote to go to war. He voted to give the president that authority to make his bargaining position with Hussein that much stronger. But as soon as Bush got the authority, he rushed to war.

In his rebuttal, Bush claims that Kerry was naive to think UN sanctions would work to remove Hussien from power.

Kerry reminds Bush that the sanctions were not intended to remove Hussein from power, but to remove the WMDs. And they worked. And if Bush had just allowed the UN inspectors to do their job instead of rushing to war, we could have focused on bin Laden instead of letting ourselves be distracted by Iraq.

Question #3: Senator Kerry is asked if he would use the same plan in Iraq as Bush. Kerry responds with an emphatic no, and goes on to list some prominent Republicans who have described Bush's handling of Iraq as incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing, and dangerous. He criticizes the way Bush alienated potential allies and eschewed diplomacy. Insists his plan is to speed up the training of Iraqis, and to get our allies back to the table.

In a bold and slightly odd move, Bush takes credit for Kerry's plan and claims it's exactly what he has been doing. Once again claims that Kerry will never be able to enlist support for a war that he feels was a mistake. We get to hear "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" again.

Kerry insists the right war was with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and that Bush dropped the ball by turning his attention to Iraq.

Bush retorts that we didn't know there were no WMDs until we invaded Iraq and found out. Which for some reason he thinks justifies the invasion. He also insists that the war on terror isn't just about Osama bin Laden, but is about anybody who could provide nuclear weapons to terrorists. Which, ironically, appears to be everybody in the Middle East except for Iraq.

Question #4: President Bush is asked what he intends to do to repair diplomatic relations with other nations. Bush sort of sidesteps the question by talking about how, as president, he's forced to make decisions that make us unpopular with other nations. He invokes the name of Ronald Reagan, slams on the International Criminal Court, and then finally gets around to an answer by saying "we'll continue to reach out."

Kerry brings up the president's promise that he wouldn't take us to war without a viable exit strategy and enough forces to get the job done. He mentions General Shinseki, who told Bush they were going to need more troops, and claims the general was forced to retire as a result.

(Turns out this isn't entirely true. Shinseki did testify that they needed a lot more men to get the job done in Iraq, but he was already slated to retire. Kerry apparently got his facts from a story in the Washington Post, which was retracted immediately after this debate.)

Bush claims he looked each and every one of his generals in the eye and asked them if they had enough men to win the war, and each one of them told him, "Yes sir, Mr. President." I guess he wasn't listening when General Shinseki spoke...

Kerry reminds Bush that it's the army's job to win the war, but the president's job to win the peace. And Bush has failed miserably.

Question #5: Senator Kerry is asked what he'll do about Iran if the UN fails to take action. Kerry takes the opportunity to slam on Bush, mentioning that Iran (and North Korea) have become more dangerous in the past few years, while our nation was focused on Iraq. He mentions his plan to contain the loose nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, and denounces the president's plan to develop new and more devastating weapons.

Bush claims Kerry's answer almost made him want to scowl, which draws nervous laughter from the crowd. Once again, he claims that trusting inspectors to do their job is a mistake, because Saddam Hussein was deceiving the inspectors. Except he really didn't have any WMDs. Or something. I don't know. I'm getting a headache. Something about the Axis of Evil.

Question #6: President Bush is asked how he will maintain the strength of our military without instituting a draft. Bush responds by mentioning rumors he has read "on the Internets." Christ, Mr. President! There's a fine line between folksy and retarded, and I think you blew past it a long time ago. In fact, the light leaving that line won't reach you for several thousand years!

But I digress...

Bush claims that we're gradually replacing our troops with more effective weapons and with enhanced technology. We're also going to outsource our military, replacing 80% of our soldiers with contract workers from India. (Okay, I made that up.)

Kerry begins his retort by listing approximately 7,000 generals who support his presidential campaign. He compares Bush's military stop-loss policies to a backdoor draft, and complains that our soldiers are underpaid. He announces a vague plan to increase the rolls by making people feel good about being in the military. He sees Bush's former invocation of Reagan and raises him an Eisenhower. And finally, insists that building alliances will ease the burden on our military.

At this point, Bush loses his mind and starts shouting over moderator Charles Gibson. He ignores Gibson's question and shouts at Kerry, daring him to tell our current allies that we're going it alone in Iraq. Starts naming countries in the Coalition, including Poland (who recently announced their intention to withdraw).

Kerry tells Bush that nations are leaving the Coaltion, not joining. Mentions that if the state of Missouri were to join the Coalition, they'd be the third largest member (right after the U.S. and Great Britain). Zing.

Question #7: Senator Kerry is asked why he thinks we haven't been attacked since 9/11, and what he plans to do to ensure our safety. Kerry says he agrees with the president that we have to go after the terrorists, instead of sitting around and waiting for an attack. However, he feels intelligence and cooperation are vital and the current administration has come up short on both counts. He then mentions that Bush chose to give a tax cut to the wealthiest Americans, when that money could have been better used to make our nation more secure.

Bush defends himself, claiming he tripled the homeland security budget to $30 billion. He also attacks Kerry for voting to cut the intelligence budget back in 1993. Because we all know that if you change your mind about something over the course of 11 years, it makes you a flip-flopper. And then, flailing wildly, Bush brings up Iraq again and mentions "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time."

Kerry says he agrees with the president's assessment that another terrorist attack is inevitable. It's not just enough to add money; the president is supposed to do everything within his power to make America secure. But Bush instead chose a tax cut.

Bush claims we're fighting an enemy with an ideology of hate, and the only way to defeat them is to spread freedom, as we've done in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Question #8: President Bush is asked why he blocked the importation of drugs from Canada. Bush claims he didn't block them yet. He just wants to make sure that they're safe. He then launches into his rehearsed speech about Medicare reform.

Kerry accuses Bush of being disingenuous. Four years ago, Bush said he thought importing drugs from Canada was a good idea. But now he's blocking it, despite the fact that it has passed in the Senate. Kerry then goes on to pick apart Bush's claims of Medicare reform, and accuses him of siding with the big drug companies rather than the American people.

Bush insists he'll allow the Canadian drugs if they're safe. He claims Bill Clinton made the same decision. He then attacks Kerry, claiming he has never done a thing with regards to Medicare.

Kerry claims, "In 1997, we fixed Medicare, and I was one of the people involved in it." He then goes on to brag about how they balanced the budget, paid down the debt, and created 23 million new jobs. And now, all of that hard work has been undone by the current administration.


cracker said...

Irb, now I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but I am getting the distinct feeling your analysis is eevvveeerr so slightly leaning to the left. As you know, I like a good debate as much as the next blind-deaf-mute, however, I hope tomorrow, Bush just walks up behind Kerry and smacks him in the back of his superbly coiffed hair and yells "STOP IT YOU BIG POOPIE HEAD!" (should poopie head be hyphenated? poopie-head?). Well, nobody says I never look at the bright side of things. If Kerry does win, and I become a quadriplegic, at least he can heal me and make me walk! WOO HOO!

SJ said...

poopie head should only be hyphenated if used as a compound adjective. As in "I was interested to see what that poopie-headed Republican had to say."

"I'm such a poopie head." (no hyphen) (/end of grammar lesson for today)

I like what I read on another guy's blog that said he wants to see them holding knives to each other's throats going, "Cut me, fucker. Come on."

Irb said...

Heh! I can just imagine Kerry throwing down with Bush, talking smack in that slow, droning voice of his. "Do you desire to have a piece of me? I urge you to bring it on, you colossal vagina!"

And yeah, okay. Maybe I was just the tiniest bit biased, cracker. Did my scathing rhetoric change your mind? Are you ready to abandon your wicked conservative ways and embrace the rainbows and kittens of the Democratic party? Huh? Are you?

cracker said...

Tell ya what. If, at some point during the debate, Bush gets really pissed off, instead of making faces, he starts his comeback by snapping his fingers, dancing and singing his response reminiscent of the terrifying gang fight in "West Side Story", I will instantaneously become a flaming liberal (or more hopefully, a liberal in flames).