lundi, octobre 11, 2004

Who Won? Well, All I Can Say Is: No One Lost

Here's my reaction to the debate on Friday:

Why was W winking? Was winking what W wanted? Were W's winks wrong? Will W wink Wednesday? Wink, wink. Well, when Willy winked, Washington went wacko. Why's winking wrong when willy winks while welcome with W? Wow, what white-washing. What weird, wrong-headed white-washing.

Anyway, I'm not sure I can identify a winner. I can say definitively that no one lost. If you are part of Kerry's base (comme moi), you found reasons to continue in your support of him. If you are in Bush's camp, then you won't stray. If you are part of the (who are these people?) undecided voters, I'm not sure how you sort through it all. But stick with me, and I will explain why to vote democrat this year and every year (at least until my dream of a multi-party system is realized and there is a super-liberal or super-progressive party out there).

Back to the debate: Kerry keeps saying he has a plan, and Bush keeps spouting the rhetoric with no regard at all for its accuracy or veracity.

(SIDENOTE on a SIDE-ISSUE or TANGENT on a RED-HERRING: I have to give Bush credit, he has managed to somehow make an issue out of medical malpractice reform - is there anyone out there who really believes that if we cap pain and suffering damages then health care costs will go down significantly? Doesn't everyone realize that litigation damages represent less than 1% of total health care costs? Can't everyone see that changing the medical malpractice litigation system (by enacting reforms that benefit the big guys at the expense of the little guys (just like the Bush tax cuts) will have no impact at all? In fact, next year's rise in health insurance costs will more than absorb any benefit gained by limiting malpractice awards. Doesn't everyone realize this is just a tactic to take attention away from a healthcare crisis that has worsened significantly under President Bush? But hey, I can't blame Bush for trying. Because, if you are a doctor or a (gullible) small business owner, well... then at least it all sounds good).

In the last debate, I would like to see Kerry get away from overstating the case. Creating 10 million jobs sounds pretty tough, and there is no need to say the war has cost $200 billion (and it may have). It's okay to say that cost projections run from $130 billion to $200 billion. To me, it's about like quibbling over whether an injured soldier had her leg amputated above the knee or below it. Either way, it's more cost than we, as a nation, should bear for an unjustified and preemptive and rushed war. Also, Kerry is absolutely barred from using the phrase "I have a plan."

My prescription for Bush is keep seeing your reality, dude. Yep, things are going well in Iraq and "staying the course" is a good idea (wouldn't be prudent to change horses at this juncture - sound familiar?). Yep, you enacted meaningful healthcare reform. Yep, the jobs outlook looks good. Yep, permanent tax cuts during a war is a good idea. Yes, keep seeing your reality. You might pick up the hemp vote, dude. Wink, wink.

I expect that in the final debate, Bush will avoid mistakes, and do what he has to do not to lose support from his extremely loyal base. Same with Kerry. Our candidates have perfected not making mistakes (first debate not withstanding). Not a good thing.

Next election cycle, I have one rule: the campaigns have no say in the rules of debate engagement. They get the date and the location and that's it. Candidates will be expected to think on their feet, to look and act and sound Presdential and to do it all extemporaneously. All answers will begin with the word "yes" or the word "no" - although candidates will be allowed two "it depends" beginnings per debate. Under that system, we will really learn something about our candidates. The only way to have meaningful debates is to require the candidates to appear in a setting that is not completed crafted by their campaigns. Let them sweat a bit.

But this year, more than in past years, the debates will not decide the election. Turnout will.

So, using special closed-circuit technology developed by our crackerjack IT staff here at I Live in Minnesota, Inc., and using retinal scanning technology implanted in your computer(s) by the FBI, the CIA and Condolezza Rice, I offer the following closed-circuited and bracketed message that is only viewable by liberal and/or progressive people and democratic friends.