Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Friday, October 01, 2004


Da Bate

I don't know about you, but I bopped out of bed this morning and strolled jauntily to work. I gave my coworkers a sunny smile and tipped my hat to old ladies I saw on the way home. I came this fucking close to spinning around a lamp post. This is in part because it's Friday and I have two whole days without having to fucking teach. But mostly it's because I watched television last night from 9:00 to 10:30.

Before the debate started, I was earnestly hoping that Bush might stop in the middle of responding to a question, leap into the audience and start raping a goat on national television. I just didn't want him to win. Fortunately, even without the spontaneous goat-fucking, Kerry kicked Bush's ass.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm biased. Maybe my feelings about the debate are based in part on my seeing what I wanted to. But I think that anyone, viewing the debate objectively, would say that Kerry came off far, far stronger than Sir Blinks-a-lot. Yeah, yeah, there're plenty of stormtroopers on Fox who'll throw up some desperate spin, like the woman--this is why I'm not a journalist, because I didn't pay the least bit of attention to her name--who said that Bush seemed like "...the average guy who's facing the prosecutor. The prosecutor just keeps hammering away and you can't help but feel sympathy for the average guy and admire him." Y'know, she's right. I admire the living hell out of a guy who whines the phrase "It's hard work" eleven times. "It's hard work being president. I need nappy time."

Kerry looked nervous at first. I couldn't sit still because I was so scared he'd fuck up. I bounced all around my living room the same way I do when the Indians bullpen loads the bases in the ninth inning and I just know they're going to piss away a two-point lead and bumble themselves out of the post-season. If you'll forgive the extended sports metaphor. I know Kerry did a great job because he eventually got me to sit down. Not only was I sitting down, but I was clapping and "yeah"ing and generally shouting my joy to the heavens every time Kerry calmly, clearly and--relatively--concisely threw Bush's jabs back with interest.

Time after time, Bush tried to go on the offensive about Kerry's senate votes or position changes or policy statement. And time after time, Kerry pulled the rug out from under him with well-delivered facts. Every time Bush came out with some sorry fucking line about how he shouldn't be tossed out of office because the war on terrorism depends on consistency and not sending terrorists or our allies the wrong message, Kerry was right there talking about the big "fuck you" message the president has given to most of the world since September 11th.

Kerry did so well that I stopped worrying about what he was going to say and just sat back to enjoy how awful Bush looked. Again and again I heard him lamely throwing up the same phrases over and over, not in the effective talking points kind of way, but in a way more akin to Wile E. Coyote holding a tiny umbrella up to save himself from a tumbling boulder. There were a number of times Bush waved to Jim Lehrer like a kindergartener seeking permission to go pee, gaining an additional thirty seconds to make his point, only to pause lamely, stammer out a couple of uh's and then repeat one of his hip catch phrases. There was a point during one of the last questions about, I think, Korea-- and it's possible that I misheard him--where he seemed to go blank for a second, looked down at whatever confused notes he had and then started talking again about Iraq. Did I just miss his transition there?

Then there was the beautiful blinkfest that was his closing remarks. The man appeared to be in a waking REM cycle. He looked like he was trying desperately to fan a tiny bonfire three centimeters in front of his eyes. This on top of how incredibly slouched over he looked all night. He seemed to be so ashamed of his neck that he wanted it to go away. Maybe he had a hickey.

But our man John looked pretty good last night. Wesley Clark hit it, I think, right on the spot when he said that there are probably people who, before the debate, were just desperately voting against Bush who might now feel that they can vote for Kerry.

One down, an election to go.