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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Friday, October 01, 2004  

Debate chugging and post-debate spin

Yesterday, 9 of us gathered at our place (8 in the photo above, and myself...taking the photo), and we settled down to a night of mixed messages, drinking debauchery, and the peein-in-my-pants kind of laughing. There were also moments of sorrow and frustration about the state of affairs, but overall it was a blast. The debate itself was interesting. I think i've talked about it so much by this time, that I don't have the desire to repeat all my thoughts. But a few thoughts:
--> Kerry mopped the floor with Bush (we weren't expecting that).
--> If Kerry did this on the foreign policy round, which is Bush's only claim to fame, Bush will be absolutely wiped out with the debates on domestic policy.
--> The split-screen (showing both candidates most of the time) was fascinating -- it's as if they created that JUST for our drinking game! This is what I was referring to by the "peeing in our pants" remark. ....bush's face...
--> What I understood about Bush's job -- "It's hard work".
--> Just hours before the debate, many children were killed in Iraq. Neither candidate addressed this and other recent horrific happenings in Iraq.
--> Bush has created some new words -- like "nuc-yoo-lar", "wud-n't", and "tuh" (for the word "to")
--> Kerry came off as a knowledgeable, resolute, articulate, even "presidential" candidate.
--> It was nice to hear Kerry clearly and concisely rip apart our country's move to pre-emptive war in Iraq instead of towards Al-Qaeda.
--> The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, right after the debate, was far more interesting than the debate itself. A mention was made that the debate wasn't really a debate, but more of a "this is my pre-prepared talk" exercise. According to Stephen Colbert, the next debate will feature the candidates in separate rooms, in different states, speaking in different languages.
--> And as a few of us are struggling to coherently and concisely present ourselves in our "personal statement" sections of our applications to residency programs, Robyn mentioned at the party that she doesn't need to worry about hers anymore because if the President is having trouble in that area, then she's ok.

Adrienne Marie Brown, co-editor of How to Get Stupid White Men out of Office (a MUST-read book for anyone interested in understanding political power) and co-founder of the League of Indy Voters, wrote some seriously insightful and entertaining thoughts on the debate. She's so on point (in my opinion). I'm posting it below, and it was taken from an alternet piece on several folks' takes on the yesterdays' event:

Ok, so I watched the debates last night with a 40 in my hand, heart in my chest, hand over my eyes peeking through my fingers. Not because its that hard for me to watch our President speak... well no, it is that hard. But the reason I was on pins and needles is because we are mobilizing young people in blocs across the nation to get out the progressive youth vote. All Kerry needs to do is hold it down.

I intended to play that drinking game where everytime anyone says liberty, freedom, saddam, vietnam, osama, my opponent sucks, etc you drink, but after a minute into the debates I realized half my 40 was already gone and I needed to conserve like a Green, even if I wasn't voting like one this year.

For the first part of the debate, my heart was sinking. I watched Kerry and I thought, 'Where are your cojones? Why are you speaking in complete sentences? Charm me!" I watched Bush and I thought, as I usually do, "Where's Rove – is he inside you? Under the podium? Wired into your ear? Down front with placards? Up above singing hosannas?"

Kerry politely smiled, Bush pumped his shoulders and made that little face where he'd snap his eyes wide and blink a few times like he'd been backhanded with a glove and then repeat himself. The moderator and post-debate commentators looked sorry for Bush. Kerry channeled Gore a few times by using actual Facts and Figures to make his case, and in response I chugged. It's not enough to be right, you have to be a thug about it! Bush channeled himself in every other speech he's given by repeating the words liberty and prayer and freedom as if they still mean anything coming from him. One of my friends watching commented that Bush is like the smartest kind of stupid person, because he understands that saying something with absolute down-home conviction can mask, to a certain extent, how untrue the statement is.

But in the end Kerry stepped up and – still politely – started going for the knees in true Scarface fashion. I liked that he was able to play the I served my time unlike this snivelling brat over here AND Vietnam was messed up and wrong AND Saddam is evil and so are other folk AND Iraq was done wrong AND Kyoto treaty mofo, AND let's respect the rest of the world. Bush relied on smoke and mirrors – 'Hey I'm diplomatic! Forget that whole U.N. thang... Hey, valleys of peace!" I wonder if he thinks bomb craters are valleys of peace.

Kerry won this one hands down with his furious note taking and his ability to attack the president without making it seem like a mud wrestling match. Bush lost by not having any specific figures – all the numbers he gave were the kind of rounded up figures all liars use as a rhetorical tool – and by making the case that even if Iraq is all messed up, which he wouldn't even concede, that its better to stay wrong and make the troops feel good while they die than to admit the wrong and pull out. And I am pretty sure Bush did the white guy version of sucking his teeth and rolling his neck, which is just tacky in a presidential debate.

Can't wait till episode 2 of the Gentleman and the Gangsta.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 10/01/2004 06:06:00 PM | |


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