Saturday, October 09, 2004

Preznut versus Presidential

connect-the-dots presidency

Towards the end of this second debate, while the pundits were already determining who won this round both in terms of style points and substance, I could already hear the words "draw" being scribbled down on cheat sheets in the hallowed halls of CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and CNN. Not much more was learned tonight on future direction, but it did offer a more compelling reason to remove the preznut from our misery: wouldn't it be great to have a president again?

Shuster over at MSNBC offered a clear statistic from the Kerry vocabulary last night, mentioning the word "president" no less than sixty times while the guy holding the office cackled around the red carpet like an angry, aimless chickenhawk. Once again, the challenger standing beside this display of connect-the-dots lunacy looked stable, focused, informed and generally .... well .. presidential.

From Wolcott: Eardrum Abuse: That is a question that will be echoed by millions of Americans tonight watching [Preznut] Bush's Pagliacci performance. It's one thing to cut off your opponent, but to cut off Charlie Gibson in mid-question, holler at the audience, and heave your shoulders with laughter at your own weak jests--this doesn't strike me as a good gameplan to convince swing voters of your sanity.

My provisional opinion, contingent upon no unforseen events altering the current dynamics (i.e, a meteor crashing through the ceiling of the auditorium), is that Kerry is grinding Bush into such fine pencil shavings that even Peggy Noonan will not be able to sweep him up and make him whole.

I can already hear Howard Fineman, Pat Buchanon and Andrea Mitchell stating "the [preznut] came with his A game tonight." But as in the words of Atrios: "He is like a bad American tourist in a foreign country. If only he SCREAMS A LITTLE BIT LOUDER people will understand it." Here are some other points of view, from DKos:

Mort Kondracke: "... I think Kerry won this debate as he won the first debate I don't think... I thought that Kerry was much more aggressive and the president was basically on the defense and didn't have new arguments didn't have...wasn't as facile as he should have been." [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]

Bill Kristol: "I guess I think if you think the President was doing okay and didn't need a win in this debate, he did fine, but I think, if one thinks that Bush missed an awful lot of opportunities to go after Kerry in the first debate he had to make some of them up in this debate, I'm not sure he really succeeded in doing so." [Fox New Channel, 10/8/04]

Brit Hume: "Is it now fair to say that in each of these debates in terms of marshaling arguments, and remembering them and presenting them that this is something John Kerry has proved he is very good at. And that it doesn't play to the president's strong suit." [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]

Mort Kondracke: "I thought [Kerry] was very effective. I thought that he was also on the attack a lot and frankly I thought that the President seemed to be on the defense a lot and trying to explain things and not explaining them all that well." [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]

Tim Russert: "John Kerry, also, energetic, forceful." [NBC, 10/8/04]

Jonah Goldberg: "On the question of whether Bush did everything he needed to tonight, I don't think so. I think he helped himself, but Kerry leaves these debates energized." [National Review Online, 10/8/04]

Mark Shields: "He just absolutely, I thought, demolished the President's claims about the coalition in Iraq." [PBS, 10/8/04]

James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly: [Kerry's best moment] "I think his best moment was at the series of new lines. Again like this Missouri line of saying that that I was able to do with some of my votes in the Senate what you have failed to do, which is balance the budget, so I think it was the general vividness of his approach." [CBS, 10/8/04]

Perry Bacon: "I actually was struck that Kerry was pretty strong, I thought, in the foreign policy section, actually, and sort of hit the president hard on that." [CNN, 10/8/04]

Gotta hand it to Ron Reagan on MSNBC - understated in his criticism, but clearly sneaking in his shots over the bludgeoning Buchanon loyalty statements since the debate ended. You get the feeling from watching Reagan and Buchanon that little Ronnie took more than a few shots at his father's advisors in the 1980s, only because he does it so gracefully and the conservative hacks just sit there and take it ... it's as if one of them were to smack the younger Reagan around, it would open up a couple of wounds on the comeback. Needless to say, I had my doubts about Little Ronnie. But the guy is a lot smoother than even I anticipated when he first showed up on MSNBC at the DNC in Boston. Here's to wishing that the Mayor of Simpleton (Scarborough) was there last night to take another one for the team, because even with that matchup Little Ronnie comes off like a saner version of ... oh, well ... his father. A man, despite his policies and a few momentary lapses of reason, always looked presidential - and he had early signs of alzheimers, for chrissakes!

But back to the incoherent ramblings knows as our Chimperor-in-Chief. While the challenger views the idea of introducing "viral democracy" in Iraq (so that other countries can catch it) as a catastrophic error, the preznut is fuzzy on his stake in a lumber company and asks, "Do you need some wood?" No, thanks, just the same, along with some more blow by blow, in Pacific Standard Time.

6:03 Kerry, recalling his days as a Federal Prosecutor, runs his hand along the preznut's back during their celebratory greeting! Checking for that wire. . .
6:05 Weapon of mass deception! Shoulda used that one at the Convention.
6:07 "I can see why your colleagues think he changes his position a lot... Because he does!" The preznut was like wetting his pants to say that. And so he said it again!
6:09 Another "group of folks" reference ... I can't watch this anymore, and for a white, relentless moment I resist the urge to turn the TV to baseball.
6:14 Global test! Global test! Hurray! The preznut is so excited that he gets to use this one now. Can't somebody please bring up "frivolous lawsuits" for him? Hughes and Rove have been quizzing him for days on this stuff.
6:23 Kerry meets with foreign leaders. Good thing the preznut is fighting back the scowls and huffs or he'd lunge.
6:29 Dang nabbit! The stories on the "internets." The interweb. Whatever those lefties call it. You have to pardon the preznut on this point ... he mainly uses the "internets" for porn.
6:33 Rove and Hughes are praying that nobody knows who Charlie Gibson is.
6:37 The preznut's body language is shreiking: "Stop with the fucking questions! I have had enough! Stop it the fuck now!"
6:39 The earpiece is breaking up with sounds of "Calm the fuck down or you don't get your M&M when this is through."
6:40 Breaking News from the GOP: Canadians have hatched a secret plot to kill Americans with their prescription drugs.
6:42 A Team Gonzography translation moment: "third world" means "people who are darker than the preznut." Consequently, we have toned down our Canadian Prescription Drug Terror Alert to Orange: People who are darker looking than the preznut want to murder your kids with their fake drugs.
6:49 The preznut just called Kerry "Kennedy." Big note: Kerry won an award for being a liberal! Kennedy is pissed!
6:53 Hold that thought: The preznut actually comes from a "school of thought"? Didn't know Crawford had one ...
6:54 The preznut is screaming again ... another urge to turn the satellite to baseball playoffs.
6:57 Serious but unrequired confirmation moment: these are some wealthy guys, although Kerry is mostly by injection. Charlie Gibson chuckles, thinks to self, "Yes... yes, I am rich."
6:59 The preznut just said something stupid about eyeshades - green ones. Childhood nightmare or are the preznut's happy pills wearing off? Didn't know Babsie had a thing for Halloween.
7:01 Somebody asks the preznut about the environment and mentions diesel engines. Yes, Mr. Preznut, diesel engines are bad for the environment. The juxtaposition of his response to the question ratchets up the idiot points 5 on the Richter Scale.
7:05 An incoherent rambling to the Halls of Europe. The preznut was thinking about the Marines and confused it with the "Halls of Montezuma"
7:10 Did the preznut just ask Charlie Gibson if he "needed some wood"? No, but Karen Hughes might after this performance.
7:15 We just learned that Kerry is friends with Superman!
7:18 The preznut's talking point: He was against embryonic stem cell research before he was for it.
7:21 The preznut is holding his cards on appointing judges because he knows they "selected" him last time. If it wasn't so true, I'd be laughing right about now.
7:22 Dred Scott? What the fuck? Slavery is on the GOP platform? Figures. Alan Keyes is hyping 40 Acres and a Mule and the preznut thinks slavery will help him with the african-american vote.
7:28 Simple Question: Name three times you've made a mistake and what you did to correct them. Preznut's answer: I make no mistakes. Ever! Preznut's body language: That's right, I fucking ripped Hussein outta power because I am Emperor of the United States. Now take your stupid fucking question and go to the car and don't talk to nobody on the way out. Fuck off!
7:30 Closing arguments: Who cares? The preznut is a rambling idiot and we all know the country made at least one mistake four years ago and is getting ready for a correction. Kerry could be anyone but David Duke and close this one out.

The challenger is resisting the urge to paint broad brush pictures, and if you watch the rhetoric closely, the conversation and strategy is moving him closer the center in these next days. He is taking the next step from looking presidential to actually posturing himself as our defacto leader-in-waiting. But there's little doubt that Kerry is a serious man for a serious set of challenges, a man with undeniable intellectual capacity to evolve with complex positions, at many instances well ahead of the media cycle.

Like him or loathe him, agree with him on the outlines of his proposals or not, it is now clear: there is only one presidential candidate running and his name is John Forbes Kerry.


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