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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

My thoughts on first Presidential Debate

I wrote this the day after I first watched the debate. Since this blog didn't exist at the time I was obviously unable to post it back then, so I'm doing it now. Tomorrow I'll post my thoughts on the second debate, followed by the third.

The first Presidential debate for the White House was held Friday morning (Melbourne time) in Florida. I wasn't up to see it live but I did get to see a repeat in the afternoon. I watched the whole 90-minute debate, and here is what I thought.

I don’t know why anyone has been debating over who won. For anybody who seen the debate Kerry won by a mile. The only people who will say otherwise are either extremely biased or extremely stupid. I heard a hick ring up a breakfast television show and say, “Bush won hands down.” Now, we all know hicks are stupid. Very stupid. Very, very stupid. Very, very, very… well you get the idea.

Bush came across as weak, agitated, sour and defensive. As one person put it, he looked like he was sucking on a lemon. He looked tired, as if he wanted to take a nap and resume later. And he couldn’t stop blinking! I once heard that people who blink profusely are liars. Kerry, on the other hand, came across as strong, determined, and articulate. Indeed, Presidential material.

John Kerry won a coin toss to see who would go first, and was asked whether he thought he could do a better job preventing another major terrorist attack on America than George Bush. Now of course Kerry is not going to come out and say Bush could do a better job, so this question was largely uninteresting.

The next question posed to Bush was did he think the election of Kerry would increase the chances of America being attacked again. That's a pretty crappy question, but I enjoyed this quote from Bush, "I have ... I understand everybody in this country doesn‘t agree with the decisions I‘ve made." UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY!!!!

Bush continued... "In Iraq, no doubt about it, it‘s tough. It‘s hard work. It‘s incredibly hard." Sorry, now that's THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY!!!!!!

"The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hatred. That‘s why they‘re fighting so vociferously." Wow, when did he learn such a big word? I can just imagine him rehearsing the pronunciation over and over again... "Vocifersoftly... vocifersolly... vocifersanly..." "George, honey, it's past midnight, come to bed now." "Sorry Laura, honey, but I'm having troubles with this here word vocifersocotty..." Um, and anyway doesn't that word mean loud? I think the insurgents are doing more than just shouting.

Kerry then responded with articulate and sane words... "And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking it off to Iraq where the 9/11 Commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein." Yay!!

Kerry continued... "This president has made, I regret to say, a colossal error of judgment." Double yay!!!

Bush continued with straight out lies, such as "The world is safer without Saddam Hussein." If you honestly believe that, well then I feel sorry for you because either you are being cruelly misinformed or you are very, very stupid. (In other words, a hick).

Bush: "We‘re facing a group of folks who have such hatred in their heart, they‘ll strike anywhere, with any means." I don't know about you, but when someone in a powerful position, especially the President of the free world, uses a term like "folks", well that just doesn't feel right.

Bush: "The biggest disaster that could happen is that we not succeed in Iraq. We will succeed. We‘ve got a plan to do so." And when are you going to use it, cause like, it's kinda bad in Iraq at the moment, so if you could just use your great plan of yours then I'm sure everything will be ok.

Bush: "He (Interim Prime Minister Allawi) believes, like I believe, that the Iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom." Um... a lot of them have already been fighting for sometime.

Bush: "There will be elections in January. We‘re spending reconstruction money. And our alliance is strong. That‘s the plan for victory." Well that's good to know! So in other words, they hold elections (in the areas where they only have a few car bombings a day, throw money to rebuild buildings America bombed and then run away. Now I can sleep at night knowing Iraq has a great future!

After all that crap Kerry injected some sanity into things:

"The president just talked about Iraq as a centre of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the centre of the war on terror before the president invaded it." Double triple yay!!

Then Bush returned to fantasyland... "What my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it‘s the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place." And what's wrong with that? Ok, let's get this straight, the Bush camp love to mislead people on this issue. Kerry DID vote, but he did not vote for this war, he voted to give the President the capability to go to war if absolutely necessary. But as we all know this war was not necessary. Bush just doesn't understand this. He is so dumb.

Bush: "But, again, I want to tell the American people, we‘re doing everything we can at home, but you better have a president who chases these terrorists down and bring them to justice before they hurt us again." Yes, like you done with Osama bin Laden, oh... oops!

Bush had a message to the American troops: "Thank you for what you‘re doing. We‘re standing with you strong. We‘ll give you all the equipment you need. And we‘ll get you home as soon as the mission‘s done, because this is a vital mission.” Bush went on to say… And when the mission is done I'll stand on an aircraft carrier and declare Mission Accomplished... oh, hang on....

I loved this quote from Kerry: "The terrorism czar, who has worked for every president since Ronald Reagan, said, “Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 would be like Franklin Roosevelt invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbour.”

This exchange has garnered a lot of laughter:

Kerry: "Secondly, when we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the United States. That‘s not a grand coalition. We can do better."

Bush: "Well, actually, he forgot Poland."

There is even a website dedicated to that comment, http://www.youforgotpoland.com

Bush: "You know, it‘s hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm‘s way." No, your decision caused her loved one to DIE.

Here Bush plainly spells out how much of a stupid person he is: "I understand how hard it is to commit troops. Never wanted to commit troops. When I was running—when we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I‘d be doing that. But the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us."
Um… what the f--k?! The enemy attacked you and then you invade... Iraq?! That is such an offensive remark. Thankfully Kerry picked up on this major oversight: "Jim, the president just said something extraordinarily revealing and frankly very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said, “The enemy attacked us.” Saddam Hussein didn‘t attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. al Qaeda attacked us."

Bush reacted wildly to the truth: (acting agitated) "First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that."

More words of wisdom from Kerry: "It‘s one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong." There are cars all over America and the world just waiting for that message to be put on a bumper sticker.

Plus more: "The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn‘t make sense. You talk about mixed messages. We‘re telling other people, “You can‘t have nuclear weapons,” but we‘re pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. Not this president. I‘m going to shut that program down, and we‘re going to make it clear to the world we‘re serious about containing nuclear proliferation."

Kerry said something Bush would never even think of, he spoke out against Russia: "I regret what‘s happened in these past months. And I think it goes beyond just the response to terror. Mr. Putin now controls all the television stations. His political opposition is being put in jail."

Bush’s closing statement didn't make much sense: "We‘ve climbed the mighty mountain. I see the valley below, and it‘s a valley of peace." Um… ok. Apparently this a religious message.

Proof that Bush is just a broken record:

"It‘s hard work." (In Iraq)
"It‘s incredibly hard." (In Iraq)
"It‘s hard work." (Protecting America)
"And it‘s hard work." (In Iraq)
"I understand how hard it is." (In Iraq)
"The plan says we‘ll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are."
"It is hard work." (In Iraq)
"It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy."
"It‘s hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off, or executed, to a place where people are free."
"You know, it‘s hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm‘s way."
"It‘s hard work." (In Iraq)
"Everybody knows it‘s hard work, because there‘s a determined enemy that‘s trying to defeat us."
"Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices."
"We‘ve done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years."

"My opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat."
"The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at, the very same intelligence."
"And when I stood up there and spoke to the Congress, I was speaking off the same intelligence he looked at to make his decisions to support the authorization of force."
"You know, we looked at the same intelligence and came to the same conclusion: that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat."

"I had the honour of visiting with Prime Minister Allawi. He‘s a strong, courageous leader."
"Well, Prime Minister Allawi was here. He is the leader of that country. He‘s a brave, brave man."
"One of his campaign people alleged that Prime Minister Allawi was like a puppet. That‘s no way to treat somebody who‘s courageous and brave..."

"He doesn‘t want U.S. leadership, however, to send mixed signals, to not stand with the Iraqi people."
"I know we won‘t achieve if we send mixed signals."
"I know we‘re not going to achieve our objective if we send mixed signals to our troops, our friends, the Iraqi citizens."
"I think that by speaking clearly and doing what we say and not sending mixed messages, it is less likely we‘ll ever have to use troops."
"You cannot lead if you send mixed messages.
"Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops."
"Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies."
"Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens."

"First of all, what my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it‘s the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place."
"I don‘t see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place."
"My opponent says help is on the way, but what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm‘s way, “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time”?"
"So what‘s the message going to be: “Please join us in Iraq. We‘re a grand diversion. Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?”
"They‘re not going to follow somebody who says, “This is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
"They‘re not going to follow somebody who says this is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time."

"And if I were to ever say, “This is the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place,” the troops would wonder, how can I follow this guy?"


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