A few pre-coffee and heart pill thoughts on last night's debate.
Early talking heads were saying Edwards won the debate, which was surprising to me, because in terms of sheer confidence and showmanship, the Dickster seemed top dog...a little like a 6th grader in his last year before middle school taunting the new 4th grader.
Cheney got to pick the format resulting in them sitting at desks, which Cheney is very good at because he's behind a desk a lot on the TV talking head shows and FOX explaining the President's policies and ginning up support for the war with his assertions about Iraq and Al Qaida being in bed together. Edwards is a lot more comfortable with his shirt sleeves rolled up and walking around in front of a crowd.
The seated at a desk format made Edwards look fidgety and Cheney look more natural, even when he was doing that head lolling to the side thing he does that drives me crazy....like a re-animated hanged man. The more aggressively he lies the closer his ear gets to his shoulder, have you ever noticed that?
I was driving the 78 miles between my office and my home, and so I heard it on the radio instead of saw it on TV, and I still disagreed with the pundits. My wife asked me who I thought won and I said, "If you go by style points, Cheney won in a surprising hands down...If you go by truthfulness and logic, it went handily to Edwards."
Cheney kept saying Edwards was the liar and that you could find out for yourself if you went to http://factcheck.com
. I did this morning and either Cheney is secretly trying to elect John Kerry or a hacker is redirecting traffic from that site to http://GeorgeSoros.com
Kind of funny, but if it is a hacker, it is just one more sad way this election seems more like a schoolyard brawl than a reasoned political debate. Wish both sides would grow up a little.
[Note: NPR cleared this up this morning, Cheney got it wrong, the correct website for the non-partisan fact checking is http://www.factcheck.org, although the facts are not exactly pro-Bush. Maybe he thought if he sounded truthful, nobody would bother checking.]
At the end of the day, the PIPA report is the most relevant of all. It is the study about how 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%).
Basically, it says if you are an idiotic lie believing FOX news watcher, you are likely to vote Bush, but if you have been paying attention, you're likely a Kerry supporter.
(See: The PIPA Report
I've got a link farm
for news articles...Check some of them out. If you still want to vote for Bush, fine, but statistics like these should scare the hell out of anyone with a brain. I'd prefer informed-and-still-willing evil to uninformed-can-claim "I didn't know" evil any day of the week.
As to specific debate points, I really didn't understand Cheney's argument that the 90% American casualties number is a Kerry/Edwards distortion because it only took into account the "coalition" casualties, and not Iraqi casualties who are dying in an effort to take back their own country.
If I were Edwards I might have pressed Cheney for a clarification, and asked if his figure of 50% of the casualties he is counting as Iraqi coalition partners include civilians or only the Iraqi police and army...Because I wasn't aware that there were that many to begin with and if what, 500+ have been killed, how many are left and how many are likely to continue volunteering to do that work? (Or are these stats like American Civil War casualties counts that say more Americans died in that war than any other American war because the dead on BOTH sides were Americans? Don't both sides of the fight in Iraq see themselves as taking back their country?)
Cheney's position, as it usually is, was scarier than the one Edwards paints, but Edwards kept saying that Cheny was saying it was being painted as rosey. It is all maddening, really.
The other thing that was interesting were the questions Cheney chose not to rebut, like the special treatment Haliburton gets, Cheney's flip flopping on sanctions for Iran, his company's use of off shore shells to avoid taxes and to conduct business with Iran and Libya, stuff like that.
Anyway, it was interesting...Oh, two other things. One, Edwards needs to be careful using that line about a long resume doesn't equal good judgment...It works on Cheney but then Cheney could easily use the same line about Kerry, and I was surprised he didn't.
Second, when Cheney was saying how good outsourcing is for America a brilliant idea occurred to me. How about using the favorite issue of Republicans, that of school vouchers, in this context: I'd like to advocate Travel Vouchers to send Americans to India and China, or the country of their choice to get the good paying jobs which are being outsourced. Makes perfect sense to me. If we should get vouchers to flee failing schools, how about getting vouchers to flee a failing economy?
Lastly, I loved how Cheney asserted that he NEVER said there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11th, and yet continued to stress the invasion of Iraq was appropriate because we were attacked on September 11th. Even did it again in his closing arguments.
Gotta admire how they don't change positions no matter what...But it does remind me of another prominent world leader from the last century who was still insisting he could win a war even when you could drive by streetcar from the Eastern to the Western front.