Saturday, October 02, 2004
NEW YORK, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixty-one percent of Americans who watched the first presidential debate on September 30 say Sen. John Kerry won; 19 percent say President George W. Bush won and 16 percent say they tied, according to the latest Newsweek Poll which was conducted after the debate ended. Fifty-six percent say Kerry did better than they expected; 11 percent say so for Bush. Thirty-eight percent say Bush did worse than expected; 3 percent say so for Kerry, the poll shows.
The debate erased the lead the Bush/Cheney ticket has held over Kerry/Edwards in the Newsweek Poll since the Republican convention. In a three-way trial heat including Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo, among registered voters Kerry/Edwards leads Bush/Cheney 47 percent v. 45 percent with 2 percent for Nader/Camejo. In a two-way heat, Kerry/Edwards leads 49 percent v. 46 percent for Bush/Cheney, the poll shows.
Giuseppe Abote writes:
Just remember as you read this that there's a surge of newly registered voters who are not completely insane.
Of the many cultural grenades being tossed that day, though, the one must-see is "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House," a DVD that is being specifically marketed in "head to head" partisan opposition to "Fahrenheit 9/11." This documentary first surfaced at the Republican convention in New York, where it was previewed in tandem with an invitation-only, no-press-allowed "Family, Faith and Freedom Rally," a Ralph Reed-Sam Brownback jamboree thrown by the Bush campaign for Christian conservatives. Though you can buy the DVD for $14.95, its makers told the right-wing news service WorldNetDaily.com that they plan to distribute 300,000 copies to America's churches. And no wonder. This movie aspires to be "The Passion of the Bush," and it succeeds.
More than any other campaign artifact, it clarifies the hard-knuckles rationale of the president's vote-for-me-or-face-Armageddon re-election message. It transforms the president that the Democrats deride as a "fortunate son" of privilege into a prodigal son with the "moral clarity of an old-fashioned biblical prophet." Its Bush is not merely a sincere man of faith but God's essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth. The stations of his cross are burnished into cinematic fable: the misspent youth, the hard drinking (a thirst that came from "a throat full of Texas dust"), the fateful 40th-birthday hangover in Colorado Springs, the walk on the beach with Billy Graham. A towheaded child actor bathed in the golden light of an off-camera halo re-enacts the young George comforting his mom after the death of his sister; it's a parable anticipating the future president's miraculous ability to comfort us all after 9/11. An older Bush impersonator is seen rebuffing a sexual come-on from a fellow Bush-Quayle campaign worker hovering by a Xerox machine in 1988; it's an effort to imbue our born-again savior with retroactive chastity. As for the actual president, he is shown with a flag for a backdrop in a split-screen tableau with Jesus. The message isn't subtle: they were separated at birth.
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.
Friday, October 01, 2004
You know, I think about Missy Johnson. She's a fantastic lady I met in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her son Bryan, they came to see me. Her husband PJ got killed. He'd been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq.
You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm's way.
I told her after we prayed and teared up and laughed some that I thought her husband's sacrifice was noble and worthy. Because I understand the stakes of this war on terror. I understand that we must find al Qaeda wherever they hide.
We must deal with threats before they fully materialize. And Saddam Hussein was a threat, and that we must spread liberty because in the long run, the way to defeat hatred and tyranny and oppression is to spread freedom.
Missy understood that. That's what she told me her husband understood. So you say, "Was it worth it?" Every life is precious. That's what distinguishes us from the enemy. Everybody matters. But I think it's worth it, Jim.
But I must object to the suggestion from Mr. Abote that I "fall into line." Of course this suggestion has merits. Rat once said that criticizing Kerry in public is not acceptable. Right; but I refuse to think of this blog as "public." It goes against the very purpose of the blog. This blog has a small audience, of like-minded people. It has been shrill and nasty and outraged from the outset. It has never engaged in rhetoric likely to convince anybody of anything. Writing on this blog is not, in short, a political act. If you think it is, you are frankly deluded about what politics is, how hard it is to make a truly a "public" statement, how delicate is the art of persuasion, etc. This blog is, at its heart, a-political. Which is not the same as anti-political. Participation here certainly does not preclude more meaningful and useful forms of participation. But you'll never convince me that this is a useful activity.
We ought, of course, to do things to help Kerry. Volunteer, knock on doors, go to Ohio and convince swing voters to vote sanity. This is essential and requires a good mindset. But I see nothing contradictory about doing all that, and at the same time venting bile, fear, and confusion on this blog--which, in case you had forgotten, is called "American Coprophagia." This blog in itself has never persuaded any undecided voter to change his views. It has never been read by an undecided voter. The closest we have le chien, who reads it for his own perverse amusement.
Negative capability, my friends. Acknowledging dark feelings and acting otherwise.
CNN / GALLUP POLL ON WHO WON DEBATE
CBS POLL ON WHO WON DEBATE:
ABC POLL ON WHO WON DEBATE:
And what have the pundits (note: all but one of them either conservative or Beltway-middling) said?
Mort Kondracke: “This is the President's turf, this is the place that the President is supposed to dominate, terror and the war in Iraq. I don't think he really dominated tonight. I think Kerry looked like a commander-in-chief.”
Kate O'Beirne, National Review Online’s the Corner: "I thought the President was repetitive and reactive."
Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online's the Corner: "The Bush campaign miscalculated on having the first night be foreign policy night."
Bob Schieffer: “The President was somewhat defensive in the beginning”
Mark Shields: "The President showed a few times obvious anger"
Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard: “I think Kerry did pretty well tonight, he was forceful and articulate.”
Bob Schieffer: “Kerry got off to a very good start.”
Joe Scarborough: “It was John Kerry’s best performance ever…As far as the debate goes, I don’t see how anybody could look at this debate and not score this a very clear win on points for John Kerry.” (MSNBC)
Andrea Mitchell: “This is the toughest we’ve ever seen John Kerry. He attacked the very core of the President’s popularity. He’s basically saying, who do you believe?” (MSNBC)
Tim Russert: “Tonight he seemed to find his voice for the Democratic view of the world.”
Fred Barnes on FNC: "Kerry did very well and we will have a Presidential race from here on out."
Go grade the performances yourself.
I think mana-T makes some good points about why Kerry seems to have come across so positively to viewers (or at least to the viewer-opinion-makers talkin' on the TV):
Most important, Kerry appeared to be sincere. He gave the impression that he thought the issues were worthy of debate, and he genuinely wanted to share his views with Americans. God knows he avoided being compared to Gore -- the only valid comparison is that he was more knowledgeable on some of the issues. He clearly doesn't think he's entitled to the presidency.
Bush, on the other hand, seemed like he wanted to get the thing over with. His impatience, and exasperation, suggested he thought it was 'absurd' that he be required to discuss such things with someone whose ideas weren't worth listening to. At times, when he was dismissing Kerry's criticisms, the president even seemed shrill.
Kerry presented himself as a man who truly cares about the future of this country, while Bush simply defended his own policies, appearing self-centered and out of touch. I think, I hope, that Kerry has managed to trick Bush into more blatantly revealing his true nature, in front of the entire country. Gore didn't have the discipline to do this; Kerry does.
Also, Scats provides this gem:
Andrew Sullivan's priceless line tonight:
"No president who has presided over Abu Ghraib should ever say he wants to put anyone on a leash. That's all."
It's funny, the point these campaigns have reached. Emails from the Kerry camp and the DNC both before and after the debate, asking me to join in the grassroots spin-a-thon by writing a note and sending it to every conceivable news organization.
So I did my part, took up my position on the front lines of spin. I wrote:
When I tuned into the presidential debate last night, I was genuinely concerned that Kerry's tendency to give complex, "nuanced" views (which generally take longer to explain and are less soundbyte-friendly) would contrast poorly with Bush's more direct, personable style.
Boy, was I surprised. Kerry not only looked, acted and sounded presidential (cool, controlled, sincere, firm, alert) but he was an incredibly effective communicator. I thought he did an amazing job of explaining to people how Bush talks a good terror war, but actually has little to show for it. From losing Osama's trail in Tora Bora; to diverting thousands of troops from Afghanistan (where our attackers were hiding) to Iraq (where they weren't); to unsecured ports, unsecured chemical and nuclear plants, unsecured physical infrastructure; to (most horrifyingly) an at-best tepid effort to secure loose nuclear materials which could end up in the hands of terrorists; on all of these points, Bush has dropped the ball. He's had two years since 9-11 to really make our country safer; and despite a lot of talk about "going on the offensive," Bush has done shockingly little to defend us.
Kerry really brought home a point I'd long felt but never heard articulated--that I'd feel a LOT safer personally if I knew our ports were being secured against nuclear materials in cargo containers, and if I knew our first responders like cops and firemen and hospitals were being given all the resources they need to keep us safe.
Kerry made this point eloquently, and Bush's response was shocking: "Who's gonna pay for all that?" HUH?? Who's going pay for the very basic things we need to protect ourselves against an attack, and to survive in the event of an attack? Is an occupying force of hundreds of thousands in Iraq going to keep a nuclear bomb from being smuggled into New York, where I live? Is a half-cocked missile defense system going to prevent terrorists from poisoning my water supply, or blowing up a subway tunnel, or hijacking another aircraft?
And wouldn't American taxpayers' money be better spent on homeland security than on profligate, unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Bush talks about how under his leadership, homeland security spending has increased. Well, of course--any president would have increased security spending after a major terror attack. The question is has he allocated enough, and done enough, to do the job right? Do his actions reflect his words? The answer is no.
I came away from this debate with a very clear idea about Bush's and Kerry's respective priorities on homeland security. Whereas Bush talks tough, he's done little--and shows he STILL has little idea of how--to actually do it. Kerry, by contrast, seems to know exactly what to do to make our country truly secure--and shows me his resolve and preparedness to do it.
I was glad to see that Kerry not only explained to the country why he would make a strong and smart commander-in-chief, but demonstrated it in a style that shows how comfortably and naturally he stands in the leadership role.
I sent it to all of the email addresses and comment forms linked below. You can too! Type a few sentences, and spin away...
Larry King LIVE: comments form
American Morning: comments form
Hardball with Chris Matthews: email@example.com
(212) 301-3000; 1-888-TELL-FOX
Hannity and Colmes: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOX Morning News: email@example.com
Good Morning America: comments form
CBS Evening News: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nightly News: Nightly@NBC.com
The Today Show: email@example.com
UPDATE: Alright. A few more words have made themselves available to me. This will not be a politically correct pro-Kerry post. I can't deny my own lostness to myself, and this requires an acknowledgment of my confused responses to the event of this evening.
Blicero and I watched the debate together. We shared an ecstasy of agony. It was horrible. Kerry seemed to avoid assiduously any effort to turn Bush's own words against him. Bush did this to Kerry successfully several times--most horribly, when he asked if Kerry would ask prospective allies to "join in a grand diversion." Kerry seemed to mention the allies constantly, in a way that called attention to his lack of better things to say. And he did not hit Bush with all the stuff we know he had at his disposal. For example: why did he not respond when Bush asked him, rhetorically, "How you gonna pay for all that?" after Kerry listed all the things we needed to do on the homeland security front?
But I should acknowledge that Kerry's point here was a good one, and Bush's miserable and horrible. (My father told me of a report about a focus group which apparently responded more positively to Kerry's words about homeland security than to any other utterance in the debate; this is clearly where he has to go--Bush talks a lot, but doesn't really know what to do about terrorism--AND I DO.)
My problem with this exchange was that Kerry seemed here (and elsewhere) to avoid any attempt to really go hard at the opening Bush left him. Kerry seemed instead to make stump-style remarks and general points whenever he had the opportunity, at the expense of really going after what Bush said. But maybe--and this is the key--it was enough that Kerry made a good point here, and that Bush made a bad one. Maybe Kerry didn't need to go after Bush directly.
It seems, now, that people--media whores, undecided voters--think Kerry did better. So it seems possible that people appreciated his full answers and his avoidance of direct attacks and rhetorical pivots. One absolutely crucial thing appears to be the calm, decisive demeanor, which everyone--pundits, blog commenters, my father--say looked infinitely better than Bush's smirking and scowling. I hardly noticed this, and neither did Blicero. I find Bush so repulsive at all times that I wasn't sensitive to the fact that he apparently reached a new pitch of repulsiveness. The contrast between the "presidential" demeanor of Kerry and the asinine sniveling demeanor of the shit sculpture may have been the big difference.
Obviously, I don't trust myself anymore about any of this. I was quite convinced that it was a bloodbath. The post-debate TV activity took me through the looking glass. I would be grateful to know what other AmCoppers think about what has occurred.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
I'm in for $20 right now. Will you join me?
With voters expressing anxiety about Iraq, nuclear attacks and the threat of terrorism in the first presidential election since Sept. 11, 2001, John F. Kerry and his supporters are adopting President Bush's strategy of playing on the public's security fears and sometimes using incendiary charges to stoke them.
Kerry, the Democratic National Committee and party officials have warned voters in recent weeks, sometimes without evidence, that a second Bush term could lead to greater casualties and another Vietnam in Iraq, a military draft, a secret call-up of reservists and even a nuclear attack on U.S. soil. They are also suggesting Osama bin Laden could remain a haunting and elusive threat unless the Democratic presidential nominee takes charge.
How dare the Democratic candidate attempt to front on Bush's mad "fear" tip? Doesn't Kerry understand that all terror--such as beheadings and dirty bombs, but particularly mushroom clouds, dudes who use WMDs against "their own people," and guys who dip babies in vats of boiling oil--are the exclusive property of president Bush? Hasn't Grover Norquist successfully petitioned for the patenting of the mushroom cloud as a GOP logo? What are these Kerry people thinking? Why are they trying to get all up in president Bush's fear junk? Why are they riding his terror-bling?
Well, the "strategy" won't work. Not only because the warnings are given "sometimes without evidence" (the irony, after three years of outright lies from Bush about the dangers posed to Americans by terrorists, Saddam, and every goddamn other thing, is too obvious to note). The main problem is that Kerry just doesn't understand the strategy's principle, which is that mushroom clouds and beheadings are a good thing.
Get it? Yeah, Bush goes around frightening his cowardly sheep in the heartland with stories of death and mayhem--but the reason the sheep accept the fear is that it's not only fun, it's good! It represents that we still have something left to live for, that even you, Mrs. Crabtree, in Dubuque, might just yet be important and significant enough to die a violent death at the hands of evildoers! (Or at least watch it happen on TV.) The mushroom cloud is scary as shit, yeah, and you better get in line because of that--but gosh no it's not bad. The mushroom cloud--like the shock and awe, and the torture at Abu Ghraib--represents the highest aspirations of America. That we can be such bad, righteous motherfuckers that the whole world wants a piece! And well, the entire Arab world just bought itself a can of Holy Whoopass, courtesy of Jesus Christ, who has personally instructed us to defeat the Mohammedan and die in a fiery bloodbath doing it.
Whereas Kerry: Mushroom cloud bad; must fix problem. Get your priorities straight, Senator. Fearmongering isn't meant to be a form of castigating (the present system) or proposing reform (boring) or educating the public about the facts of this crazy national security situation. It's about cheerleading. Cheerleading for America, for the mushroom cloud, for the beheading, for all the holy grandeur of mass death, over which the eagle soars, free. It's about fun. That's why Bush, that little cheerleading party-boy puss, is so good at it!
The Republican leadership of Congress is attempting to legalize extraordinary rendition. "Extraordinary rendition" is the euphemism we use for sending terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture for interrogation.
There's a small window here in which people can do something about this, basically taking a few minutes and writing your congressman online or in print. Its a non-partisan issue which is why I sent it to everyone. The bill will pass unless people know about it, so now you know. The links have all the information you need if you're interested.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Majorities of Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements (84%), and the US being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the International Criminal Court (66%), the treaty banning land mines (72%), and the Kyoto Treaty on global warming (51%). They were divided between those who knew that Bush favors building a new missile defense system now (44%) and those who incorrectly believe he wishes to do more research until its capabilities are proven (41%). However, majorities were correct that Bush favors increased defense spending (57%) and wants the US, not the UN, to take the stronger role in developing Iraq's new government (70%).
I guess it's not surprising. Good work, media!
It's impossible for Democrats and other people who are actually living in this world and not the one which the Bush administration has erected around the CNN studios to break through this. It's one thing to challenge errors, or provide a different spin, or reframe an issue. It's another thing to have to tear down the very fabric of this alternate reality.It's not impossible. It was the responsibility of the leaders of the Democratic Party--the money people, the strategists, the media cognoscenti, the candidates themselves--to start tearing at the fabric. The work of destroying the myth of Bush's 9/11 "leadership" and of the entire 9/11 metanarrative should have begun at least as early as the summer of 2003. It would have incurred backlash. It would have whipped up a hornets' nest. It would have given the Republicans ammunition. It would have brought on a dreadful time for Democrats.
But we would have recovered. And if our efforts had been effective--if we had really aimed the rhetoric squarely at Ground Zero (just like the terrorists, and the Republican/terrorists after them)--we might have recovered and found ourselves in a shared reality. Some semblance of a level ontological playing field.
But the work wasn't done. And now it can't be.
Kerry Will Restore American DignityFull endorsement.
2004 IconoclastPresidential Endorsement
The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda.
Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry, based not only on the things that Bush has delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that Kerry says our country needs.
Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq.
In those dark hours after the World Trade Center attacks, Americans rallied together with a new sense of patriotism. We were ready to follow Bush’s lead through any travail.
He let us down.
When he finally emerged from his hide-outs on remote military bases well after the first crucial hours following the attack, he gave sound-bytes instead of solutions.
The Iconoclast, the President’s hometown newspaper, took Bush on his word and editorialized in favor of the invasion. The newspaper’s publisher promoted Bush and the invasion of Iraq to Londoners in a BBC interview during the time that the administration was wooing the support of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Again, he let us down.
Once and for all, George Bush was President of the United States on that day. No one else. He had been President nine months, he had been officially warned of just such an attack a full month before it happened. As President, ultimately he and only he was responsible for our failure to avert those attacks.
We should expect that a sitting President would vacation less, if at all, and instead tend to the business of running the country, especially if he is, as he likes to boast, a “wartime president.” America is in service 365 days a year. We don’t need a part-time President who does not show up for duty as Commander-In-Chief until he is forced to, and who is in a constant state of blameless denial when things don’t get done.
Kerry’s four-point plan for Iraq is realistic, wise, strong, and correct. With the help from our European and Middle Eastern allies, his plan is to train Iraqi security forces, involve Iraqis in their rebuilding and constitution-writing processes, forgive Iraq’s multi-billion dollar debts, and convene a regional conference with Iraq’s neighbors in order to secure a pledge of respect for Iraq’s borders and non-interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
Likewise troubling is that President Bush fought against the creation of the 9/11 Commission and is yet to embrace its recommendations.
When examined based on all the facts, Kerry’s voting record is enviable and echoes that of many Bush allies who are aghast at how the Bush administration has destroyed the American economy. Compared to Bush on economic issues, Kerry would be an arch conservative, providing for Americans first. He has what it takes to right our wronged economy.
The re-election of George W. Bush would be a mandate to continue on our present course of chaos. We cannot afford to double the debt that we already have. We need to be moving in the opposite direction.
John Kerry has 30 years of experience looking out for the American people and can navigate our country back to prosperity and re-instill in America the dignity she so craves and deserves. He has served us well as a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and has had a successful career as a district attorney, lieutenant governor, and senator.
Kerry has a positive vision for America, plus the proven intelligence, good sense, and guts to make it happen.
That’s why The Iconoclast urges Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country.
The Iconoclast wholeheartedly endorses John Kerry.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
1. Bush has opened a "wide lead" in the polls; this election is becoming almost one-sided.
2. Kerry has a problem with voters' questions about his honesty and trustworthiness.
3. Bush is coasting along on perceptions that he is both "a strong leader" and a "a regular guy."
None of the above 3 things is true. There is NO EVIDENCE to support any of it. But once again, the reason these memes are being repeated in the media is because they are being repeated in the media. Straight off Karl Rove's script, straight into the echo chamber. It's over. The media has once again been coerced into the ritual murder of the Democratic candidate--a candidate who (once again) didn't run a very good campaign, but who (once again) is obviously the better candidate. The media really do want all of us, and themselves, dead.
Well, they just might get it.
[Editor's Note: Noah McCullough, 9-year-old Presidential trivia whiz kid, just wrapped up his online chat on GeorgeWBush.com. Noah, who plans on seeking the Republican Presidential nomination in 2032, had a special message for the blog about what he'll be doing to ensure the re-election of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.]
I love talking Presidents and politics. This was very fun for me. I'll be speaking to local Republican groups in October about President Bush and helping to get him re-elected. I'll be talking about voting and how every vote counts. I'll be speaking about my experiences with the conventions and on the Tonight Show. I think the Bush-Cheney website is really neat. I'm honored to have had the chance to host a chat. I just got some more Bush-Cheney stickers that I will of course be passing out over the next 40 days. I'm talking Monday at a school board meeting about President Bush and why he's a great leader. In fact, this is the topic I talk most about. The Bush-Cheney team is doing a great job, and I know they'll keep up the good work. I read the website and emails often as so many others do, and I'll keep doing so until President Bush and Vice President Cheney are re-elected.
When I become President in 2032, I'll be asking the advice of our great President Bush and Vice President Cheney and their staff. I'm so excited about this election and looking forward to four more years of Bush-Cheney.
Earl Caldwell, a journalism professor who was involved in the 1972 Supreme Court case as a reporter for The Times, said he was troubled by the reporters' decisions to testify.
"In the public mind, it gets confusing," Mr. Caldwell said. "How are all these reporters going in and testifying? We're getting in a position where people will see us as an arm of the government."
A little late to stave off that impression, don't you think, Mr. Caldwell?
It's a very surreal time. The electoral map looks like shit. The horse-race looks like shit. It all looks like a goddamn heaping pile of steaming, nasty shit--and yet I have conversations with friends almost nightly in which we concede that it may very well be the case that Kerry has already locked up enough votes to win the election and it's only a matter of getting out the votes on a massive scale.
And in that sense there is reason to celebrate, because the NYT and others have reported on the truly massive and unprecedentedly huge voter-registration gains made in key states by the Dems, especially in Ohio. So but then as soon as you start to celebrate, we get word that the fucking Secretary of State in Ohio has outdone Katherine Harris by declaring invalid huge quantities of voter registration cards for not being printed on 80 lb. card stock. Yes, that's right: 80-fucking-pound card stock. And this is the year 2004. And that type of chicanery doesn't even touch on the secret realm of the demonic technological priests of Diebold, whose mischief is invisible. Even to approach the problem is to be paranoid, since the malice is manifest but the truth is unknowable. I can't even think about the whole voting-machine-tampering no-paper-trail-in-Florida issue without my limbic system interceding (to prevent a total-brain-crash) by causing me to take a sudden nap.
And the news? Yeah, there's Ted Kennedy giving his clarion cry on nuclear terror like some sort of late-atom-age John the Baptist, wandering among the stupid and the deaf. Great shit, that. (And somewhat relevant, too, for those of us metropolis-dwellers more concerned with not dying in a nuclear holocaust than with whether "under God" can stay in the pledge of allegiance.)
But now the pre-debate "stories" are rolling in; including one headline (I'm not kidding--it must have been AOL news or something) making reference to how, in a debate, "everything matters"--including (get this!) hairstyles (ha!), mannerisms (haha!!!), and smiles (ahahahahah!!!!!!). Until the debate happens--and it seems as though somehow, incredibly, it will happen--I believe I have to not read or listen to another word from the media concerning any aspect of it, simply to preserve my sanity.
And speaking of sanity, I had a conversation this evening with a friend who had recently heard two different people (a man seen on TV, in Wisconsin, whose son had been killed in Iraq; and an elderly man met in person on the train) express the same viewpoint that the country was divided between those who understand Bush is fighting a righteous holy war for Christians and for America and for Good, and those who just don't get it. And it's probably true. No wonder Kerry has struggled so mightily with getting people to care about Bush's lies, when the slice of the populace who actually gives a shit about things like the presence or absence of WMDs is so damn small. For Bush voters, Muslims and Arabs are WMDs--and by God he's found 'em, all right.
So, where does that leave us? What is there, on this September 28, 2004, left to talk about? I imagine we at AmCop will be posting on reaction (ours, mainly) to the debates; and if and when I get to Allentown, PA I hope to provide a detailed log (with the help of my spanking-new Airport Extreme card) of what's going on on the ground, among the door knockers and phone bankers and data-enterers. (Did you know that the result of every door-knock and phone call gets entered into a massive database which grinds up the numbers and apparently spits out some kind of interpretable information with which the campaigns tweak their strategies and plot their next moves? It's like micromanagement taken to a whole new level. Should be fun to see.)
In the meantime, if any of our readers have news stories they would like treated or viewpoints on campaign developments they would like to express in brief or at length, feel free to email it to me and I'll post it up. (Of course, there are still the Comment threads too.)