Thursday, September 30, 2004

Kerry won. Is the nation listening?

While the president managed to hang on, it's clear that John Kerry won this debate. The question is, will it matter?

Are people ready to admit that things are a mess, or are a majority psychologically dependent on their "I'm pretty much okay; you're basically okay" vision of America. (The answer should give us a read on just how traumatized a nation we are.)

One thing's certain, though: the dogs will be out tomorrow. Rove's sure to go nuclear on Kerry. Can he be baited to go too far?

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Afghanistan's back

If nothing else comes of this debate, your Webwench will be forever grateful to John Kerry for putting Afghanistan back on the map, and hopefully back in front of the eyes of the American people.

Long distressed by the fact that no one seems to question our nation's half-assed commitment to calming that steaming cauldron of jihad, your blogstress has found herself turning to the South Asian press to learn what's up in the land where the final battle of the cold war was won by people who were left to starve for their trouble.

Kerry was right to point out that 75 percent of Afghanistan's economy is today still based on opium, that we've committed one-tenth of the number of troops committed to snagging bin Laden as we do making a mess of Iraq.

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Character issues?

Yuck. The character question was just asked. Lehrer asked Bush if Kerry had the character for the office.

Your blogstress loathes this sort of thing; at worst baiting, at best leaving the opening for the candidates to enter into an ugly personal game.

Bush was clever enough not to take the bait, and came off looking magnanimous with a string of attributes for which he says he admires his opponent: service to his country, great dad, great daughters who have been kind to the Bush girls. Then he tried to soft-pedal his message of the evening: "My concerns about the senator is (sic) that he changes his positions on the war in Iraq," Bush asserted. "In the councils of nations there must be certainty." (Excellent line, actually.)

Kerry's rejoinder was strong: "It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong...What I worry about with the president is that he's not acknowledging the reality on the ground...[in Iraq, Korea, etc.]" He then made a good case for changing one's position when faced with new information.

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Bush hanging on

Bush is hanging on, but frequently seems to find himself backing toward the ropes. Kerry is doing an outstanding job explaining the president's mistakes in war and diplomacy, and doing so in understandable terms. In a risky move, Kerry invoked his Viet Nam experience in riposte to Bush's attempt to paint Kerry as somehow demeaning the sacrifice of troops in Iraq by criticizing the war. Don't confuse the warrior with the war, Kerry asserted, reminding the audience that he'd had a little experience with that phenomenon.

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Wow! Something real!

Kerry comes out swinging

Holy cannoli! Watching tonight's presidential debate, your blogstress finds herself spellbound by the contest: it's about real issues. And the candidates are displaying their real stuff. After those awful, lockdown poltical conventions, your cybertrix never thought she'd live to see the day.

Democratic hopeful John Kerry has come out swinging, and President George W. Bush is looking a little befuddled. As Kerry knocks him about on the decision to go to Iraq, all Bush seems to have to say is that criticism of that decision sends a bad message to the troops and allies.

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Someone in the House gets it

In their relentless push for votes on issues that prove thorny to Dems running in conservative districts, the House Republican leadership today called a vote on the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, another expression of contempt from the GOP for the Constitution of the United States. (The amendment would supercede the rights of the states and circumscribe the parameters of marriage to that of the hetero kind.)

Because of the novelty of being the first openly lesbian congresswoman, the keen intelligence of Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is often overlooked. Here's an excerpt from her floor speech today during debate on the marriage amendment measure:

Mr. Speaker, amending the Constitution is a radical action that should only be undertaken when absolutely necessary. Preemptively amending the Constitution to prevent something that has not yet happened is a dangerous principle that this Congress should not endorse. We must always remember that, as President Calvin Coolidge put it, “the Constitution is the sole source and guaranty of national freedom.”

For the full text, click here.

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The humanity

Waking yesterday afternoon from her ick-induced nap, your blogstress spied a most unusual sight through her boudoir window. Against a sky so thick with clouds it was nearly white lurked a dirigible of the same hue. No cheery zeppelin of commerce was this--neither Goodyear nor Fuji had sent their blimp out in celebration of the return of baseball to Our Nation's Capital. No, this was an unmarked blimp, sent to clock the movements of creatures in her Capitol Hill nabe.

Thus wrote the Washington Post:

Yes, there was a strange blimpy object flying over some government buildings in Washington before dawn this morning.

But no, it's nothing to worry about. It's on our side.

And whose side might that be? Since when were the Post and the Pentagon, under whose purview the blimp surveilled, on the same side? One would hope not to see Len Downie and Don Rumsfeld skipping through Rock Creek Park holding hands.

In its cuteness, its oh-so-blithe tone, this little news piece reveals all that has gone wrong with the media since 9-11. Here we find complete the buy-in to the government line. And because it is presented as such an adorable trifle, it is doubly dangerous and insulting.

To be fair to the Post, it must be said that the paper still gives government pooh-bahs more than a little ogida from time to time. But that such a poisonous little confection could show up in a venerable institution of journalism should give us all pause. How 'bout leaving the cuteness to your blogstress, and the buy-in to the righties in the blogosphere?

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