Friday, October 10, 2003

Last Night's Debate 

Welcome to the new blog. This is my first post. You know, it's really kind
of funny that the blog is called American Coprophagia, because after an
hour and a half of last night's debate I felt the peculiar sensation of the
area around my mouth being smeared with excrement--EXACTLY AS IF I had just
been fed a big pile of it!!!!

Talk about "puke politics." Who the fuck agrees to these debate formats?
What DNC or DLC asshole thought it would be a fine idea to have the candidates
field questions from THREE OF THE BIGGEST WHORES in TV "news," whose
professional aspirations consist of nothing more than having their heinous faces on
TV screens as often as possible, uttering language ("analysis") they assume will be
perceived by their bosses and viewers as "journalistic" and "critical."

The "questions" posed to candidates seemed to fall into three basic types:

1.) Please explain why Democrats are losers.

2.) Please explain why Democrats are "out of touch" with "voters."

3.) Please explain--without criticizing Bush (your opponent, the president
whose policies you disagree with and who you are trying to replace next
year by convincing people to vote against him, and for you)--why it is that
you don't really have anything of substance to say or offer.

Why is that Woodruff (and the other fucks) thinks that just because she's
actually for once dealing with people with some basic intellectual ability
and the capacity to articulate meaningful thoughts, that it's her
responsibility to preside over some kind of perverse psychiatric interface,
with herself in the role of "analyst," attempting to draw out and expose
all those latent Democratic pathologies--cowardice, bad faith,
self-contradiction, weakness of will, being "too liberal"?

My friend who watched the debate with me put it best: Woodruff et al were
first and foremost interested in holding a "meta-debate," in posing
"meta-questions." For instance, consider the following:

Question: "What do voters need to know about you in order to understand
your position on X, Y, or Z issue?"

Meta-Question: "Why is it that you seem to be so out of touch with the
voters and have such a difficult time communicating your position on X, Y,
or Z issue?"

Question: "What can you offer the American people--with respect to X, Y, or
Z issue--that the current Administration cannot?"

Meta-Question: "Why is it that you are unable to explain what (if anything)
you have to offer the American people--with respect to X, Y, or Z
issue--without reiterating your tired criticisms of the current

Question: "What is your position on X, Y, or Z issue?"

Meta-Question: "What are the political calculations involved in your
political strategy for conveying the impression that you have a position on
X, Y, or Z issue?"

PRESIDENT...why do Woodruff et al insist on perpetuating this notion that
there's something inherently suspicious or suspect about THE VERY FACT of
their running for office? Can the candidates be allowed to simply RUN FOR

To return to my friend's point about the phenomenon of the meta-questions
and meta-debate: it relates directly to the profound solipsism, narcissism,
and egotism of Woodruff, Greenfield and Crowley. These people are so
self-enthralled in the clusterfuck echo-chamber of their "analysis" and
"commentary" that they really believe the candidates ought to be obliged to
PARTICIPATE IN IT! In other words, the candidates are reduced to a kind of
sub-analytic stratum, where their role is not to, say, give their positions
on an issue, but to give their positions on Candy Crowley's brilliant and
penetrating insight about the problematics of the fact of their having had
the audacity to take positions on issues. To Woodruff et al, "politics"
(whatever that is) is subordinate to political "analysis," and the
candidates ought to engage in the latter. They're desperate to drag the
candidates down to their level of discourse (or in their view, allow them
the privilege of ascending to it) and then watching them wallow in it.

I know this is a cliche by now, but can you IMAGINE these folks (Woodruff
et al) posing these same kinds of self-analytical, strategy-focused
meta-questions to Republican candidates in a theoretical Republican primary
debate? Please. I can just imagine:

CROWLEY: Senator Frist, can you explain to our audience why your experience
as a doctor gives you first-hand knowledge of the problems facing our
health-care system?

WOODRUFF: Senator Dole, are children America's future? Why or why not?

GREENFIELD: Mayor Giuliani, some people think terrorism is bad, while
others think it's not so bad. What's your position?

Oh, and have you heard the news? "Clark Attacked" in debate. Clark has been
thrust "on the defensive."

Why not "Moseley Braun thrown on the interrogative" or "Senator Edwards
tackled by the declarative"? NO SHIT Clark was "on the defensive"--he was
criticized, and thus obliged to defend his positions. TIP TO JOURNALISTS:
might not the more important point be HOW he handled the criticism, the WAY
IN WHICH he defended his positions? Which in this debate was: as calmly,
confidently and authoritatively as one could possibly expect, as he has
done all along in his short campaign thus far.

Let's not even get into the post-debate "analysis" with Gergen and
Schneider on Larry King. The claim that Gephardt was "the best debater" is
too ludicrous (if not maliciously deceptive) to warrant a response.

Edwards asserted himself boldly, with grace and earnestness, when posed
with Woodruff's preposterous question about why anyone should give a shit
about his middle-class roots when, after all, Roosevelt and Kennedy were
born rich. After Edwards put this one away, Sharpton took it up and
hammered it home with characteristic wit, common sense, and (of late, in
these debates) generosity towards his opponents.

Kerry looked good--definitely less corpse-like than in the New York debate.

Speaking of which, the New York debate, while far superior in its format
and handling than this recent Woodruff shitfest, did present a panoply of
weird physical-appearance issues that do need to be addressed. Edwards
looked unshaven and hung-over-ish, and he seemed to have solved that
problem in Arizona (although I did notice a weird thing where he looked
like he had red-eye even though no one was taking a flash-photograph of his
face). Dean had something really disconcerting going on with his mouth and
lower-face, which I'm afraid has gotten worse if anything. I'm not bringing
this up to be superficial--everyone knows this stuff matters long-term in
the campaign. And the fact is Dean's rictus-like pseudo-grin (in which he
seems to be trying to clasp the tip of his tongue gingerly between his
front teeth) is just not going to fly. I'm sure they have coaches or
whatever that can help him work on this. He CANNOT become known as the
only candidate to have a mouth-area more strange and unseemly than
Lieberman's. Fortunately (and this is much more important) lower-head
aside, he has no trace of the Gore awkwardness (dare I say "woodenness"?)
in his speech and manner, which continue to be commendably natural, earnest
and tough. He does need to temper those flashes of anger in the eyes, however.

As far as Lieberman and Gephardt go: please, please, PLEASE GET OUT! I pray
for a direct divine intervention to convince these two to fucking LEAVE.
Sharpton, Moseley Braun, and even Kucinich (despite his attacks on the
war-resolution-voters) are genuinely beneficial to the campaign: they make
important points that the major candidates are unable or unwilling to
make--the kinds of points that fire up the audience without tearing down
their opponents. But there's nothing more destructive than loser candidates
who still somehow THINK THEY CAN WIN: and that's why Lieberman and Gephardt
are so painfully cringe-inducing to watch.

Let's get two petitions going, to be circulated and sent to all nine
campaigns and the DNC:

1. That we, the undersigned, vow to NOT WATCH any further Democratic debate
that is run by cable-news personalities. Either get real print journalists
who have some grasp on the concept of ELICITING USEFUL INFORMATION, or else
have only questions from the audience. Or else get a robot to moderate the
debates (an actual mechanical robot, not a robot impersonating a cable-news

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE, but supporting first and foremost the emergence of
the strongest possible candidate with the best chance of beating Bush in
2004, WILL NOT TOLERATE any inter-Democratic attacks that concern a
candidate's "truthfulness," "consistency," "integrity," or any other
"character"-related issue that does not explicitly and solely concern a
difference on policy positions. That furthermore, we the undersigned VOW TO
EXPLICITLY NOT SUPPORT any candidate who publicly engages in such attacks.
The candidates are understandably focused on the short-term imperatives of
the nominating process, but WE THE VOTERS are focused on the overall
objective of producing a strong candidate to beat Bush. We have learned the
lessons of the past, and will enforce them.


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