Friday, October 01, 2004

The thing I'll remember about last night's debate is Bush's lips; the way he purses them in sanctimonious disdain, just like an old Sunday School teacher. Bush isn't used to hearing harsh, face to face criticism; his response was to knit his mouth shut and grimace at Kerry with what he hoped would be the moral indignation of a country at war.

I can never really tell who won Presidential debates, only who I want to win. Having said that, yes, I agree with the editorial hoi polloi that Kerry had Bush on the ropes. On the other hand, Kerry supported the same war Bush did, and both were wrong and there's no two ways about it. Read William Saletan in today's Slate. Read Maureen Dowd last week: It's not the way Bush did it, it's that he did it. There's only so far Kerry can get with saying he went about the war the "wrong way." Voters won't respond to that. I think the message people are hearing from Kerry is "I'd do the same thing, only better." And people are probably just going to say "Oh hell, why change?"

Iraq Vietnam, and it will be played out the same way: the war Bush avoided as a young man is now the war he's waging; there's some kind of weird karma thing going, isn't there?

The more I watched the debate last night, the same depressing thoughts kept bobbing up the surface. Under this President, we will likely never find Osama bin Laden, and there will likely never be a free Iraq no matter who is President -- and you can learn that lesson now or you can learn it several thousand American lives later. If Bush wants to know what he's in for, all he has to do is read about the Johnson administration from 1964 to 1968. It's going to follow the same path of stay the course, stay the course, we're almost there, etc., etc., and all we're going to be seeing on TV are corpses, dismembered children and, I expect, a lot more demonstrations. But that's later. For now, it's just re-election and body bags. "I've seen the future, brother," as Leonard Cohen sang, "it is murder."


Song of the Day: "The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side," The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs.

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