Friday, October 01, 2004

Bush Vs. Kerry: The First Debate

As I watched Bush dodge Kerry's constant attacks and accusations on CNN tonight, I couldn't help but think of a Bright Eyes song called "Bottom of Everything (We Must Sing)". When he played it live on television (I think it was on Late Night with Conan O'Brien), lead singer Connor Oberst said "This song is going out to the President and to the Governor of California...two men that I admire a lot...for their biceps and their creepy fascist agendas! One, two, six, six six..." before breaking into song. Could Oberst be a modern-day Bob Dylan? You tell me:
"We must talk in every telephone, get eaten off the web
We must rip out all the epilogues from the books that we have read
and in the face of every criminal strapped firmly to a chair
we must stare, we must stare, we must stare

We must take all of the medicines too expensive now to sell
Set fire to the preacher who is promising us hell
and in the ear of every anarchist who sleeps but doesn't dream
We must sing, we must sing, we must sing

While my mother waters plants, my father loads his gun
He says death will give us back to God just like setting sun
is returned to the lonesome ocean"

Although I've chopped out at least one verse and a modified final chorus, I hope that you can see how this song would be relevant in contemporary America. "Don't vote for the Dems or Osama is going to getcha!" the GOP screeches, without considering that it was under a Republican's watch that the most devastating terror attack transpired. They are selling fear and I hope America won't buy it.

I know that some people are convinced that Kerry is a flip-flopper. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you were steering your vehicle into a ditch, wouldn't it make sense to jerk the wheel in the other direction? Bush might say "remain steadfast and don't change course" but quite frankly, that is the equivalent of saying that a President's decisions are both infallible and static. How can you run a nation (and protect them from harm's way) if you can't even admit when you're wrong?

Say what you will about the late Ronald Reagan, but at least he had the balls to stand up and admit his responsibility for the Contra affair. I hope that Americans remember this when they go to the polls on November 1st.

A paranoid part of me wants to believe that the whole Iraq War in 2003 was just a diversion tactic by the Bush Administration to draw attention away from economic woes, those notorious tax cuts (and elimination of the dividend tax), and Bush's failure to capture Osama Bin Laden. If you conduct a search of the Whitehouse official site, you will find that the last mention of Bin Laden was back in July! Of course, can you blame Bush? He's busy being a war president.

John Kerry looked fairly confident in the debate but I was frightened by echoes of famous Democratic loser Michael Dukakis, as Kerry spoke. Kerry may have come across as a mean-spirited fellow, not a fence-mending rancher/Marlboro man like George W. Bush or his template Ronald Reagan. Kerry did get some jabs in about Bush's lack of military service and he also played his experienced leader/fresh start card several times. Bush looked befuddled frequently and had some issues with the English language, but he is like a sidewinder. He always gets away.

The funny thing is that Bush and Reagan do have something in common--they both avoided military service. Reagan got off because he was an actor while Bush escaped from Vietnam because he had a wealthy father. Some guys get all the breaks.

[Ed. Note: Looks like Kerry is back in this thing. A USA Today poll suggests that Kerry was perceived as a good speaker and many people (including those crucial "swing voters") are beginning to believe that JFK might be up to the task of running the country. Bush, on the other hand, looked slightly disturbed by many of the questions. Also, he repeated himself quite frequently and even spouted a couple of illogical statements. Also, how many times can you repeat that being President is "hard work"? Pleasure has posted a video entitled "How Bush did" which is somewhat humourous but fairly revealing of Bush's poor showing. Admittedly, they've chopped up some of his responses (which is a form of propaganda, taking things out of context) but many of the statements are bizarre on their own, context be damned. Watch the video on their site and come back to let me know if you think that Bush has hurt his chances of re-election.]

What did you think of the first Presidential debate? Did Bush hold his ground? Does Kerry have any momentum going into the next debate? Please comment below!

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