The River

Friday, January 23, 2004

Debate post mortem

I caught a bit of the debate last night. Took me a while to find it. Didn’t know it was only on Fox. And isn’t that just wonderful. Fox gets wrap their crap around it, and guide viewers to the proper response.

Toward the end, I thought it odd that Peter Jennings said they had 15 more minutes, but first a commercial break, and Lieberman keeps talking and they cut away, and then they never come back to the debate. It’s just Fox talking heads, quickly praising Lieberman’s pro-war stance. Did I miss something? I do kind of look at the TV askance when I watch, or whatever it takes to keep my distance – drink a beer, yell. I’ll let you in the living room, TV, but you will not take over.

There was a remarkable moment that I would have expected from Kucinich or Sharpton, but it came from Edwards. He got a superficial question (and there were many, focusing on the horse race, images, positioning, etc.) and he turned it back rather forcefully. He said the questions and discussion were off track, that they should be talking about the 35 million in poverty in the world’s wealthiest country, that children were going to bed hungry and that it was morally wrong. We keep talking about us, and shouldn't we be talking about them (pointing at the camera here, at, well, me, at The People). Yes! I thought, shine a light on the Republican Party’s moral bankruptcy. That's a promising line of attack.

You know those bumper stickers are so right: The Moral Majority is neither moral nor a majority. The Christian Right is neither Christian nor right.

Sharpton made a good point about how the Democrats would win if they could convince all the non-voters that it is worthwhile to vote.

Regardless, we’re screwed good and proper. But might Edwards be a JFK-type who could make us care? The man speaks well, has the looks and the charisma.

These are just my impressions. I know next to nothing about Edwards. I am hardly optimistic, and I find it hard to argue with many of the points John Chuckman, a free-lance writer and retired chief economist for Texaco Canada, makes here, including, “No likely Democratic candidate is going to produce a greatly more rational and decent United States.” Because, he states elsewhere in the piece, “The truth is that even if a moderately liberal person were elected President, he or she would face exactly what the Clintons faced for eight years, a hideous and relentless assault with opportunity for few meaningful accomplishments. The American Congress is so conservative, and has demonstrated itself so lacking in courage or imagination or largeness of view, that only the most modest changes can be expected under any president.”

I think the consensus is, though, that Anybody But Bush (ABB) is a start.

Still, I can't shake how feeble that seems.

I'm with Howard Beale, from Paddy Chayefsky's "Network":

You've got to get mad! You've got to say, "I'm a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!" I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

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