Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Veep, veep

Well, the veep debate just ended, and they really swung at each other. It was a very sober, serious, substantive debate, and it was a pleasure to watch. Unfortunately, Ken Mehlman is back on TV, and his mouth is once again driving me crazy. Jesus, I would give a lot to get him some plastic surgery, something, ANYTHING, to deal with that AWFUL mouth of his. On to details: Edwards did his homework. Cheney did a far better job than Bush in making their administration's case. It was about as even as it gets.
Cheney seemed to be getting ticked at the Halliburton mentions, and was left speechless after his votes as a member of Congress were laid bare by Edwards. Cheney also wasn't able to answer about AIDS in America, instead talking about AIDS in Africa. Worst of all, though, Cheney said, "Concern about Iraq specifically focused on the fact that Saddam Hussein had been, for years, listed on the state sponsor of terror, that they he had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with al Qaeda. Specifically, look at George Tenet, the CIA director's testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations two years ago when he talked about a 10-year relationship."
Five minutes later, "The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror. And the point is that that's the place where you're most likely to see the terrorists come together with weapons of mass destruction, the deadly technologies that Saddam Hussein had developed and used over the years." So, Cheney at first touts Iraq's "established connections" with al Qaeda, then shifts to that general usage of "terror" that Bush is so enthralled with. He continues to believe Iraq and al Qaeda collaborated, when so much of the evidence he uses has been discredited. Unreal.
By the same measure, though, as much as Edwards did his homework and was prepared for questions, he did not hit the rhetorical and factual counterpoints consistently. Perhaps it's unfair to compare him to Kerry, because Kerry was facing someone less skilled, while Edwards, arguably, was facing a more skilled opponent. Cheney definitely made an outstanding point when he brought up El Salvador, however, many young voters were in diapers or elementary school when that was a big issue. Edwards counterpunched well there, noting the other parts of Bush's axis, Iran and North Korea, and hit Cheney on pushing to repeal sanctions against Iran. Cheney, inexplicably, said Kerry cannot "talk tough" without a record to prove it. Um, remind me, what have Bush and Cheney done for three years? All together now, "talk tough." Right before that, though, Edwards had a major opportunity, as a senator, to explain very clearly why he and Kerry voted against the $87 billion. While he did get to it a bit later, he missed the part where it would have had the greatest impact.
This might be the biggest whopper of the night, though. "In respect to Israel and Palestine, Gwen, the suicide bombers, in part, were generated by Saddam Hussein, who paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers. I personally think one of the reasons that we don't have as many suicide attacks today in Israel as we've had in the past is because Saddam is no longer in business." Who said that? Drumroll..... Dick Cheney. I guess Dick thinks Saddam was responsible for all terrorism in the world. That Saddam must've been one badass guy, and we're lucky we beat him, I guess.

JESUS CHRIST!!!! The suicide bombers in Palestine long predate Saddam Hussein's leadership in Iraq. The bombings are down because Israel has built a friggin wall and working their ass off to stop it. Yes, Saddam did indeed pay money to the families of suicide bombers. But those people would have done it whether they got money or not. They hate Israel. They aren't monetary mercenaries. They are radical Islamists or they are pissed that they are occupied. This is why a real peace process is needed, one that works through the reality of the situation to try and find peace.
That isn't possible when the current administration believes all roads lead to and from Iraq. Cheney was WAY overboard to try and tie in Israel's problem to Iraq. On the whole, it was a pretty even debate. Bush sounded out of it last week. Cheney sounded quite calm most of the time, as did Edwards, but I would give Edwards a thin win based on a couple of things. 1. Cheney AGAIN put out the tired, discredited Iraq=Al Qaeda theory. 2. Cheney was totally unable to defend his House/SecDef record. 3. The thing I just talked about above.
Cheney, while on the surface sounded real good, and yes, made some excellent points, overall seemed out of touch with reality. Edwards wins this mainly by hanging in there, scoring a few big points, and by Cheney sticking to some discredited theories. Had Cheney not said some of the things he said, i.e. Saddam tied to Al Qaeda AND Hamas, I would've said he won, because he definitely articulated the Bush administration's position well, and he was brave enough to once again dissent with Bush on the gay marraige issue. Somewhere inside Dick is the old Cheney, the one who was a solid SecDef, and a fairly compassionate guy as well. It's a shame he became Darth Vader.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bush people

Thank God Paula Zahn is around. While I haven't always been enamored with her, tonight she's been asking some tough-ass questions of the Bush and Kerry people, but my favorite moment was when she told Ken Mehlman (Bush's campaign manager) to answer the question about the two sentences of Kerry's that she quoted, and not to divert off into the $87 billion. Reading the continued spin from the Bush campaign, thanks to (a fact-checker of the media), it is obvious that most media organizations picked right up on the President's use of the two words "global test" and didn't explain the 30-40 words around it.
I feel it's ridiculous that Bush is continuing to get away with these things. As a budding journalist, I can't stand it. My personal support is for Kerry, but in my analysis of the first debate in The Michigan Journal (, I did call him on incorrect statements he made too. However, Bush consistently and continually gets away with statements that are not only way out of touch with reality, but are so misleading as to be almost completely false.
While the media are improving on their fact-checking (especially doing a good job on the claims of the debate) they immediately regressed following the debate, giving Bush's twisting of the phrase "global test" far too much airplay without explaination or rebuttal. As an aside, Ken Mehlman's mouth looks awful when he talks...the camera really should not focus on that gaping valley if it can help it.