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Debate Notes - Pt. III - DOMESTIC THUNDERDOME.

October 14th, 2004 · 1 Comment · Politics

I missed the second debate, but it was mostly a bunch of the same nonsense from the first debate.

On the menu tonight, domestic issues. Hopefully, it won’t suck. Barring a lack of suckage, hopefully, the candidates will make out. And barring THAT, hopefully they’ll get in a fist fight.

Bob Schieffer’s looking good. He was pretty funny on the Daily Show last week. Evidently, he regularly wakes up from debate moderating nightmares.

Hey look. Two red ties. ACTUAL red ties. Not the annoying burgundy nonsense from last time. I predict a bloodbath.

First question to Kerry - Will our children ever live in a world as safe as the world “we” grew up in?

Ah yes, the ENORMOUS safety that was two world wars, the Holocaust, purges, mass genocide and a decades-long nuclear arms race.

Kerry’s using his “hunt them down and kill them” line again, albeit somewhat halfheartedly. He’s a reluctant badass.

Ooh. Kerry invokes FDR, REAGAN and JFK.

Bush is looking sharp. Very animated.

Mentions the Afghan elections.

Hits Kerry’s terrorism = prostitution line. Blah.

Ooh. Kerry’s response is harsh:

“Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, ‘Where is Osama bin Laden?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really think about him very much. I’m not that concerned.’”

Followed by:

“We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.” I half expect him to rush over and mount Bush to assert his dominance.

Bush rewords Kerry’s answer and then accuses him of exaggerating:

“Gosh, I just don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama bin Laden. It’s kind of one of those exaggerations.”

He’s right. He DIDN’T say he wasn’t “worried.” As Kerry mentioned, he said he was “not that concerned.” The actual quote from a March 13, 2002 press conference:

“And, again, I don’t know where he is. I - I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”

You can read the whole thing on the Whitehouse website.

Also, he said “gosh.”

Give this one to Kerry.

Second question - how did we run out of flu vaccine? I know this is an issue that keeps ME up at night.

Bush is calling for young, healthy people to not get flu shots. Bush didn’t get one, neither should you! I demand an Executive Order giving all young people bonus sick days!

Bush blames lawsuits.

Kerry disagrees:

“This president has turned his back on the wellness of America… In fact, it’s starting to fall apart not because of lawsuits - though they are a problem, and John Edwards and I are committed to fixing them - but because of the larger issue that we don’t cover Americans.”

So Kerry blames lack of coverage.

Bush: “A plan is not a litany of complaints.”

THAT is a great line.

Accuses Kerry of a “bait and switch.”

Tough call on that, neither really gave GREAT answers, but Bush’s performance was better, so point to him.

Third question - How will you pay for your domestic programs?

Kerry wants to bring back “pay as you go.” Good idea.

Invokes the “fiscal responsibility” on the 90s. You mean the Gingrich-era Contract With America? Better play that down a smidge, killer.

“His rhetoric doesn’t match his record.” Bush is a soundbite tsunami!

“He talks about ‘paygo.’” Uh. What?

Ah. “PayAsYouGo. Cute, if a tad confusing.

Bush’s rebuttal was weird and confusing and didn’t address the crux of Kerry’s argument - namely, that deficit spending is a bad idea, regardless of intent. Point to Kerry by default.

Forth question - What do you say to someone who has lost their job to overseas outsourcing?

Bush has “policies” to improve job growth. No word on what those are.

He’s somehow moved into public education from outsourcing. This is either a HORRIBLE dodge or the man has no fucking clue what drives outsourcing. Clearly, Nike builds factories in Standbyyourmanistan because of the incredible quality of their educational system and NOT because they’re willing to work for a nickel a day. Jackass.

And Kerry NAILS him on the dodge!

“I want you to notice how the president switched away from jobs and started talking about education principally.”

WELL DONE, SIR.

“Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country.”

HAHAHAHA.

Kerry is ON FIRE here. Point to him.

Fifth question - Is it fair to blame Bush entirely for the loss of jobs?

Kerry’s being honest about not stopping outsourcing.:

“Outsourcing is going to happen. I’ve acknowledged that in union halls across the country. I’ve had shop stewards stand up and say, ‘Will you promise me you’re going to stop all this outsourcing?’ And I’ve looked them in the eye and I’ve said, ‘No, I can’t do that.’”

He’s channeling Mondale here. Have we learned NOTHING about how foolish it is to tell the truth?

Kerry is in favor of… lowering CORPORATE taxes?

“[W]e’re going to…lower corporate tax rates in America for all corporations, 5 percent.”

A good idea, to be sure, but totally uncharacteristic for a fiscal liberal. This is a downright Clintonian Centrist move.

Kerry is tearing Bush a new one here and Bush just smirks. SOMEONE got lectured about scowling last time.

Bush’s word of the day is “litany.” *sigh*

Somehow Bush is managing to address job loss by talking about marriage penalties. So to recap: To respond to the loss of jobs to overseas outsourcing, fund public education and marriage. Gotcha.

Kerry invokes Reagan again.

Bush plays the “most liberal senator” card. Blah.

I have to give this one to Kerry as well. Bush is leaning hard on the same tired lines while Kerry HAMMERS him with specifics.

Sixth question - “Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?” HOLY SHIT. Bob Schieffer, you beautiful bastard.

Bush doesn’t want marriage “being defined by courts.”

Kerry invokes God and Dick Cheney’s LESBIAN DAUGHTER. Uh oh.

“The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Fuck you.

Kerry hides behind “states rights” because he’s a weak-willed, pandering bastard.

I hate both of these responses. Fuck Bush for being evil and fuck Kerry for being a coward.

Points to no one.

Seventh question - Abortion. I am sending Bob Schieffer a fruit basket after this debate.

Kerry: “I believe that I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith.”

Awesome response.

Now, invoke JFK to cover your ass on the Catholic thing.

Three…

Two…

“And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, ‘I’m not running to be a Catholic president. I’m running to be a president who happens to be Catholic.’”

Good boy.

I find it amusing that Americans are totally down with creepy, fundie Christians but Catholicism freaks them out. Maybe it’s all the forced man-on-child sodomy.

Bush is in favor of a “culture of life” - as opposed to Kerry who, I suppose, favors a “culture of death.” Ah, Pro-Life rhetoric. How do I love thee?

Bush wants legislation to lower the number of abortions. What a quaint way of saying “banning abortion.” He looks REALLY uncomfortable here. And rightly so.

Point to Kerry there on substance and performance.

Eighth question - Insurance.

Prediction: Bush blames lawsuits somehow.

Bush wants a “market” of health care that allows people to buy the type of coverage they want:

“It’s one of the reasons I’m a strong believer in what they call health savings accounts. These are accounts that allow somebody to buy a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic plan and couple it with tax-free savings. Businesses can contribute, employees can contribute on a contractual basis. But this is a way to make sure people are actually involved with the decision-making process on health care.”

Good idea.

Aaaaaand let’s not forget, LAWSUITS are to blame:

“I do believe the lawsuits - I don’t believe, I know - that the lawsuits are causing health-care costs to rise in America. That’s why I’m such a strong believer in medical liability reform.”

Now he’s babbling. Something about information technology and horse buggies.

He wants to move generic drugs to the market faster. No word as to HOW. Less testing on monkeys, MORE testing on the homeless, perhaps. Or maybe on “enemy combatants.”

Kerry nails Bush for not allowing the importation of drugs from Canada. Nice.

Whenever Kerry hits hard, Bush runs back to Kerry’s senatorial record. Boo.

And Kerry responds with How Bills Are Written 101. Hehe.

This one’s a wash. Both of them are retarded.

Ninth question - How will you fund your health care plan?

Kerry is completely avoiding the question, but at least he’s actually explaining his program now. It would’ve been nice to do this during the PREVIOUS question, though, SINCE THAT’S WHAT HE ASKED YOU ABOUT THEN.

I don’t think he said a single useful word about funding.

Bush takes a weak swing at the press then stops himself and - I shit you not - GIGGLES.

“In all due respect, I’m not so sure it’s credible to quote leading news organizations about - oh, never mind.”

Douchebag.

Whoa. Bush woke up and he actually seems to understand line-item budgeting.

“We have a fundamental difference of opinion. I think government- run health will lead to poor-quality health, will lead to rationing, will lead to less choice. Once a health-care program ends up in a line item in the federal government budget, it leads to more controls. And just look at other countries that have tried to have federally controlled health care. They have poor-quality health care.”

Nice.

Ooh. Kerry takes a swipe at Bush for underfunding VA hospitals.

“The president just said that government-run health care results in poor quality. Now, maybe that explains why he hasn’t fully funded the VA and the VA hospital is having trouble and veterans are complaining. Maybe that explains why Medicare patients are complaining about being pushed off of Medicare. He doesn’t adequately fund it.”

Kerry is hammering the fact that his program is not a government run program. Good plan.

Bush responds to the VA charge.

“We’ve increased VA funding by $22 billion in the four years since I’ve been president. That’s twice the amount that my predecessor increased VA funding. Of course we’re meeting our obligation to our veterans, and the veterans know that. We’re expanding veterans’ health care throughout the country. We’re aligning facilities where the veterans live now. Veterans are getting very good health care under my administration, and they will continue to do so during the next four years.”

Nice.

Point to Bush there. He was lucid, aggressive and seemed to know what he was talking about.

Tenth question - Social Security, specifically, how to fund it.

Bush opens with a promise that Social Security will still go to seniors:

“First, let me make sure that every senior listening today understands that when we’re talking about reforming Social Security, that they’ll still get their checks.”

Good news for seniors, annoying news for everyone else.

Bush invokes… Moynihan? Bizarroworld, ahoy!

Social Security reform is a “vital issue” for him.

No real word on how it’ll be funded.

Kerry calls the Presidents Social Security investment plan an “invitation to disaster.”

Kerry brings up the question of where the transitional money would come from to get us to the investment-based system. Nice.

Kerry promises “no cuts” in Social Security.

Kerry “broke from his party” in the 90s to pay down the debt. That’s his SECOND Contract With America reference. Hmmm.

Point to Kerry.

Eleventh question - More Social Security.

This is basically an extension of the previous question.

Lots of tax cut stuff from Kerry.

Kerry hits the “first president in 72 years to lose jobs” line again.

Aaaand Bush goes back to Kerry’s senatorial record. Man, I hope nobody’s watching this as part of a drinking game. Between Kerry’s “record” No Child Left Behind and Pell Grants, there would be no survivors after the first hour.

Bush’s response here is strong. He hits the fact that the market crashed before he arrived, hit on the 9/11 attacks and he did it clearly without slogans.

“Six months prior to my arrival, the stock market started to go down. And it was one of the largest declines in our history. And then we had a recession and we got attacked, which cost us 1 million jobs. But we acted. I led the Congress. We passed tax relief. And now this economy is growing. We added 1. 9 million new jobs over the last 13 months.”

He’s fudging the numbers a little, but it’s an allowable degree of spin.

Point to Bush.

Twelfth question - Illegal immigration.

Man, Bush is looking good here.

He pushes a “temporary worker” card.

“And so in order to take pressure off the borders, in order to make the borders more secure, I believe there ought to be a temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a willing employer to mate up, so long as there’s not an American willing to do that job, to join up in order to be able to fulfill the employers’ needs.”

My goodness. A common-sense response to a major problem that WON’T involve billions of dollars in federal spending! It’s almost like Bush is a Republican or something.

Hits economics, security and human dignity in one fell swoop. VERY nice.

Bush says no to amnesty. Another good point.

Kerry goes back to the previous question. AAARGH!!!!

“Let me just answer one part of the last question quickly, and then I’ll come to immigration.”

He wasted half his time.

Kerry will do what is needed to toughen the borders. No word on HOW. Perhaps a huge, thirty-foot wall made entirely of waffles and razor wire?

Pushes “earned legalization.” I think you mean “amnesty,” Senator.

Kerry alleges that “people from the Middle East” are coming across the border. Thumbs down for scare tactics.

Point to Bush.

Thirteenth question - Raise the minimum wage?

Kerry says a wage raise is “long overdue.”

Kerry favors $7/hour.

Hammers Bush for not supporting wage increases for the ladies while supporting tax cuts for the wealthy:

“If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year. The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year, but he doesn’t hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire.”

Not REALLY an accurate comparison, but it SOUNDS good.

“I’m tired of politicians who talk about family values and don’t value families.”

NICE.

Kerry is hitting gender inequality in average pay rates really hard, sending the implicit message that Bush hates women. Hrm.

Bush returns to “No Child Left Behind” in lieu of actually responding. Second time. Kerry should RAKE HIM OVER THE COALS for this.

Point to Kerry.

Fourteenth question - Will you overturn Roe v. Wade?

Bush dodges, saying he won’t have a “litmus test” for judicial appointments. He’s finished in under a minute. More douchebaggery!

Kerry says he will not appoint a judge who will overturn a Constitutional right.

“I’m not going to appoint a judge to the Court who’s going to undo a constitutional right, whether it’s the First Amendment, or the Fifth Amendment, or some other right that’s given under our courts today - under the Constitution. And I believe that the right of choice is a constitutional right.”

A VERY firm response.

Bush accuses Kerry of having a “litmus test” AND uses “only a liberal senator from Massachusetts.” Now he’s ranting about No Child Left Behind again. He’s on the ropes here.

Kerry is DESTROYING him here.

“Five hundred thousand kids lost after-school programs because of your budget. Now, that’s not in my gut. That’s not in my value system, and certainly not so that the wealthiest people in America can walk away with another tax cut. $89 billion last year to the top 1 percent of Americans, but kids lost their after-school programs. You be the judge.”

Point to Kerry.

Fifteenth question - “Backdoor Draft” of National Guardsmen - Can you offer relief?

Kerry dodges and blames Bush for overextending our military.

Now he’s talking about expanding the military without explaining how he’ll actually GET PEOPLE to join willingly. Candy corn and tax cuts for everyone who signs!

Pushes for alliances to relieve our military.

“[T]he most important thing to relieve the pressure on all of the armed forces is frankly to run a foreign policy that recognizes that America is strongest when we are working with real alliances, when we are sharing the burdens of the world by working through our statesmanship at the highest levels and our diplomacy to bring other nations to our side.”

Good point - though a BETTER way to not overextend is to stop invading foreign countries.

Bush says the best way to relieve our troops is to succeed in Iraq. We haven’t won over there already? I thought I read a banner about that last year. On a boat or something.

Bush hits Kerry for his “global test” line. Blah.

He’s dodging madly here.

Aaaaaand Kerry rebuts the global test accusation. Didn’t we do this last time?

Bush criticizes Kerry for voting against Desert Storm.

Good points from both, but I think Bush came across as slightly more authoritative here. Point to him.

Sixteenth question - Assault weapons ban.

Bush… FAVORED extending it? What the hell?

Kerry’s a hunter and LOOOOVES him some guns. We are truly in a parallel universe here, kids.

I love when Kerry calls himself “a law enforcement officer.” No, Senator, you were a DA - an officer of the COURT, which has no enforcement power. Stop trying to convince people you were part of the “thin blue line.”

Kerry connects bin Laden to the AWB.:

“Terrorists can now come into America and go to a gun show and, without even a background check, buy an assault weapon today. And that’s what Osama bin Laden’s handbook said, because we captured it in Afghanistan. It encouraged them to do it.”

Because, clearly, all of the terrorist attacks in the US have involved assault weapons. I favor a box-cutter ban.

Kerry invokes Clinton for the first time.

This one’s a wash, also a pointless issue that neither man has any control over with the Republican Congressional juggernaut in place. No points.

Seventeenth question - Affirmative action.

Kerry offers the typical awkward maneuvering here. Opposes quotas and… uh… a lot of gibberish.

Second Clinton mention in under two minutes:

“During the Clinton years, as you may recall, there was a fight over affirmative action. And there were many people, like myself, who opposed quotas, who felt there were places where it was overreaching.”

Hrm.

Kerry says “mend it, don’t end it.”

Calls Bush for not meeting with the NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus.

Bush says he HAS met with the CBC.

Now he’s connecting affirmative action to… you guessed it… PELL GRANTS and NCLB.

*sigh*

Another wash. They’re both pussies.

Eighteenth question - What part does you faith play in your life?

This is basically the same question he asked Kerry earlier.

Bush loves praying.

Bush generously allows that atheists can be Americans as well. Thanks, man!

He’s unleashed “the Armies of Compassion” with his faith-based initiatives. Good call referencing religiously-motivated ARMIES, jackass. Quote from a buddy of mine: “Our BOMBS are our HUGS!”

Now Kerry is stumbling over himself to try and be as faithtastic as Bush. He’s quoting the Bible now.

I hate this.

No points for this either. AND I need a stiff drink.

Twentieth question - Divisiveness.

Kerry opens with a compliment. He thinks the President did a great job immediately after 9/11.

I don’t understand why divisiveness is bad. Do we really WANT a country where everybody agrees on every issue? Maybe no one else has read Federalist 10.

Kerry pledges a “significant” and “open” effort to restore “Americas hope and possibilities.” Wow. THAT’s a mouthful of nothing.

Kerry invokes McCain:

“Over 20 years in the United States Senate, I’ve worked with John McCain, who’s sitting here, I’ve worked with other colleagues. I’ve reached across the aisle. I’ve tried to find the common ground, because that’s what makes us strong as Americans.”

No. An informed, transparent public discourse led by intelligent, principled elected officials is what makes us strong. We just haven’t HAD IT in a long time, so people are starting to forget.

Kerry mentions “his friend” John McCain again:

“I’m going to work with my friend, John McCain, to further campaign finance reform so we get these incredible amounts of money out of the system and open it up to average people.”

Bush is disappointed in how “partisan” Washington is. He’s probably also disappointed in how cold ice cream is.

And he brings up… *sigh* No fucking Child fucking Left Behind AND invokes Ted Kennedy:

“The No Child Left Behind Act, incredibly enough, was good work between me and my administration and people like Senator Ted Kennedy.”

I give up.

Bush calls Kerry on McCain and mentions that McCain supports him AND his Iraq policy:

“[M]y opponent keeps mentioning John McCain, and I’m glad he did. John McCain is for me for president because he understands I have the right view in winning the war on terror and that my plan will succeed in Iraq.”

Nice.

Point to Bush, mostly for the McCain hit.

Final question - What is the most important thing you’ve learned from “strong women.”

Bush - “To listen to them. To stand up straight and not scowl.”

Oodles of laughter. Amusing, if pointless.

“[Laura] speaks English better than I do.”

I don’t know if it’s smart to bring it up, but at least it’s true.

Dammit. How many times do we have to hear about Bush’s barbeque romancing?

Kerry references “marrying up. Some may say me more than others.”

Laughter. Also amusing.

Kerry brings up his… dead mother. Up next, Kerry hugs a puppy.

His mother said: “Integrity, integrity, integrity.”

I’ve always preffered “l’audace, l’audace - toujours l’audace,” but I’m not a cowardly windbag running for President.

ABSOLUTELY no points for that nonsense.

Closing statements.

Kerry brings up his military service for the first time tonight. THAT’S what was missing.

He’s steering clear of criticizing the President. Playing up the positive.

Bush starts with a story about a painting. America is… uh… a painting. Or something.

Bush is also sticking with the positive stuff.

He comes close to bringing up NCLB, but resists at the last moment. And so my TV is spared from a thrown boot.

Bush is asking for our vote. How nice. Previously, I’d thought he was trying to get us to bake him cookies.

And that’s it.

So my tally is Kerry, 8 to 6 with 7 questions coming up a “wash.”

Lots of rambling, unfocused nonsense. A handful of AWESOME questions (homosexuality, Roe v. Wade) that resulted in disappointing dodging. Overall, I can’t see this doing much to sway people either way.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Maayan // Oct 14, 2004 at 4:30 pm

    Yeah, this was brutal as a drinking game. Although I stopped listening for a while in the middle and apparently missed some good stuff. Kerry trying to out-Christian Bush made me have to leave the room.

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