I have a difficult time hearing Mr. Bush, which is why I was going to forego the stress of the debate. It's not the timbre of his voice that interferes with my aural abilities; it's the volume of my own voice hurling colorful and fulsome obscenities in the general direction of the radio.
This time though, I was having a much-needed lie-down at the mouth of the den when 9:00 P.M. rolled around. The stereo seemed impossibly far away, and your Wolf was near to drowse state. As it is with most critters of my bent, curiosity about the buzz and hum of political voices made me perk up my ears and give a listen.
Now, I'd had the idea this was to be a neatly choreographed event, sorta like a nice Cotillion in the days of yore, so I was expecting very little in the way of excitement. The Wolf will confess to having found gratification in listening. Not as much perhaps as a nice marinated rib roast of Republican schmeckle would have provided, but good. Better than good.
To begin with, let's look at the beginning. A coin toss decided who would be the first speaker. Anyone who's ever gotten a divorce will know, he who speaks up first tends to haul off the spoils. The advantage of an aggressive opening shot is that the opponent is put instantly on the defensive. It's then up to number one to keep him there, sweating and twitching.
In my opinion Mr. Kerry did that for the most part. He did get caught in one of those cleverly baited traps Karl Rove is so adept at laying in the minefield of Bushspin, but no matter...one of the best points he could have made, he did. When he said, "we're now 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq and 90 percent of the costs."
America is paying with 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq, and 90 percent of the bread to sponsor Bush's Folly. This slides very neatly into a truth spoken in print by Jimmy Breslin:
"There is no political power outside of a gun, available to man, that is able to withstand a populace that experiences abnormal pain when it reaches for it's money."
You can't beat the number "90 percent", for shock value. Americans are cheap. They don't want to pay taxes; schools, roads, services; they should all be free. Pixies should pay for it, or maybe the tooth fairy. They want everything for unrealistically low prices, hence the success of Wal-Mart, and of course we'll have only our attachment to the cheap side to blame, for the subsequent flood of sub-standard, shoddy merchandise that will inevitably follow all the confetti and balloons of celebration at the low prices.
Now pay attention. You get what you pay for. To win this thing in Iraq, it will cost more, more, more.
So Americans were told they are footing a hell of a bill for Iraq. They were told it many times. Good for Mr. Kerry. When you say something costs xyz number of billions or trillions of dollars, it's so beyond the pale, people can't relate to it. It floats past them as in a dream.
When somebody puts it in terms any buffoon can understand, like 90 percent, which we can all relate to, it takes on a new meaning. Here: we are sharing a meal. We have one plate. I have a big fork, you have a toothpick. I eat 90 percent of the food, and you're so hungry you could eat your own shorts, so you want to kill me.
Bush belabored to the point of absurdity, the "coalition of the willing" of thirty nations which is composed of , in some instances, small countries that sent just a few guys over there. What are they doing? Sometimes only cleaning the floors. This was his version of the numbers game. Futile when placed beside the figure of 90 percent of damn near anything.
So, Mr. Kerry scores with his point, which due to American educational standards that allow students to sleep through school and still get a diploma, must work as subliminal advertising. That's alright though, because Mr. John has placed it within their pea brains attached to something they can relate to. MONEY, in terms of the percentage of loss to us.
A stroke of genius.
The nation will mourn it's dead, but due to an attenuated ability to focus on anything for more than a nanosecond, they will soon forget them, unless one of the fallen is one of their own, which in some cases makes them want to do a Fargo on el Presidente. Some settle instead, for painful vociferous complaint and accusation against the administration. The media whores gobble this up, and there it is on the teevee while America eats it's Tuna Helper din-din. But it's still just a blip on the screen of the American consciousness. You mention money however....
By comparison, the Bushspin figure of thirty nations "sharing " the burden, looks so pathetic, you could almost feel sorry for the poor man.
I said almost.
The fact the debates were staged as they were with so much physical control over the entire proceeding, worked to Kerry's advantage, and much to Bush's disadvantage. Kerry is a self-controlled, and self-disciplined individual. The Bush self-control can only be achieved by a continuous turning to God in the form of prayer. As a markedly dependent personality, he relies heavily on the outer force of religion (giving things over to God/Jesus); Kerry has the personal inner resources of a self-reliant, self-confident and poised individual. In a situation where Bush can't very well fall back on the power of prayer, publicly beseeching his God to keep him from screwing up big-time, he's on his own, and he's on shaky ground.
He is not comfortable with one on one exchanges, unless he's in control. We know this well from descriptions of one on one interviews he's had with single reporters.
Jim Lehrer controlled the entire 90 minutes of the first debate.
Essentially, as I understand it from written accounts on the web and little sound-bytes on the radio, Bush was twitching like a horse with flies on his back. It looks bad. It looks terrible in fact. His audible sighs added to the picture of discomfort in his situation. This is a man the nation is supposed to be able to lean on in times of trouble because he is the default Papa. He has the club in his hand, and will get rid of the intruders. Papa don't
He also doesn't repeatedly sigh aloud, and tell you how hard the job is. Papa doesn't grouse and whine, and curry sympathy. Papa is a strong ball-buster of a man who takes care of business. Bush wants to play Papa, and yet, also play the baby, complaining of the (self sought) burden of presidency to make himself look like an heroic martyr for America by using emotional blackmail, a tactic of the child attempting to control his surroundings, and winning what he wants. You can't have it both ways. His swaying, vacillating modus operandi, is the ultimate example of flip-flop---to borrow their stupid term.
In the controlled atmosphere, one of the most weakening aspects for Bush was the absolute silence of the hall. I described it to my friend H3ath3n as being quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Since the silence was not only imposed on the candidates between questions, but on all present, it was eminently fair. It was also refreshing not to have the candidates straining the vocal chords to get their words across. Kerry has a well-modulated pleasant voice that was warmer than expected.
Bush, to his credit at least in the beginning, was bearable, and he only caused the Wolf to break into raucous howls twice. The rest of the Wolf's snarls and growls were also well modulated and unintrusive, so as to hear everything uttered by the opponents.
To Bush, such silence is not golden. The sound of cheering, and applause in his favor is lifeblood to him. He's a vampire who shows up on the scene full of hunger and need, and a little wan looking.
As he recites his well scripted lines composed by the spinmeisters of his administration, his little cheerleaders with their bubble headed mentalities, and their cute little tits and asses stoke the vetted audience up by starting the chant, "Four more years!"
George glows with vitality and the precious life force, that only approval and applause supply to him. He shines. He's at ease; funny and quick with a quip, an adlibber supreme. It is here he's at his best, and here is where you will see the younger man, before he sold his soul completely---amusing, charismatic, convincing as any good flimflam man should be; winning, winning, winning the love of the selected mass before him. He is flying, he is onstage which is his true place in the sun. His timing is enviable, and he exudes warmth, and the inevitable concern, and the now famous "love" he has for us all.
He is the Pied Piper, in his finest hours.
You take this man, and fetter him with the bondage of a silent audience, and you see the core. He's covered his emotional tracks so well in front of you for so long, you have no idea of whom he is. He's frequently frightened, and dependant on so great a power, that he bends to what he thinks might be it's will, just to keep from drowning, even though that causes him to be mocked the world over at times.
He is the child forever seeking parental approval. An individual resorting to the twitches and sighs of the put upon, hoping against hope that this will make time dissolve, and that he will be released from the torture of being held accountable for his actions. His famous arrogance is a mask covering a neurotic manipulative/manipulated being who is often lost at sea.
Throughout the long (and painful for Bush) debate, your Wolf seized upon every tender morsel of faux pas tossed out by el Presidente, who managed to get a dig in about France, never giving thought to the idea it was out of place, out of time, and strategically damaging. There are many Americans, born within the boundaries of the United States, whose veins carry the blood of France within them. Your Wolf is one of them. It is likely enough that many of these people of French descent, who may have done well in this country, are Republicans. What a poor idea to insult any group among your constituents.
Ah yes, the mention of Poland as one of the great nations who are part of the coalition of the willing, thrilled the Wolf to bits.
This is no slur upon Poland, or the people of Polish extraction who live in, and love this country. It is a slap against the tasteless use of a country that is struggling these days for cohesion, and economic solvency. The people of Poland have suffered much, and now they are trying to change things, but to do this they need help from America-the all powerful and filthy rich.
If you were in dire straits, and the big dog had a bone that might save you and your family, would you tell the big dog to go Cheney itself, or would you try to show yourself as a ally willing to shed blood for said dog? It's called survival, and no man should criticize it. The criticism here is directed strictly toward Bush, who, no doubt , promised gold for blood, then held Poland up as a prize to serve his own purpose.
Oh yes, and then there was England, and Tony Blair.
England, the jewel in the crown of the boy king. He waved England around like a pennant. He said, " My opponent says we didn't have any allies in this war. What's he say to Tony Blair?"
This is one of the lines that caused a great uninhibited politically incorrect sound to spring from the throat of your Wolf. Your Wolf howled out, "why you dickhead, you call him America's poodle... here puppy, c'mon boy, good dog, nice poodle. "
The finest moment of the night though, was when Mr. Kerry said in answer to the question, "What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?"
Kerry: "...Now I believe there's a better way to do this. You know, the president's father
Ah yes, those magic words, first suggested by The Rude Pundit
Kerry won this debate. He was Tha Man. Time will tell how well he will hold this lead.
The handlers of the boy king are sweating, and burning the midnight oil trying to make the king a seamless piece of invulnerable armor-covered presidential material for just a little longer. Long enough to grab this election.
After that, if he should win, all hell will break loose, but none of them will care because the purpose was served. Dubya is in the White House, the rights of those who are dissenters will shrink, more extreme conservatives will achieve powerful positions in the government, The Supreme Court will be renamed Torquemada's Cozy Corner, in honor of the attitude it will now have, and the power it will mercilessly exert when needed in cases like picking a new president, or dismantling the rights of so many groups and people who are tiresome dissidents in the eyes of the Party.
It takes my breath away.
Special regards to the special people listed in alphabetical order below, for their help and/or political acumen, intelligence, bravery, articulacy, and dedication to the cause of continuing freedom.
H3ath3n of Heath3n's Fried Meat Shed
The Rude Pundit
And last, but surely not least, The Good Uncle Horn Head
I bow my head to you gentlemen.
May the wind always be at your back, and may there be a chicken in your pot every Sunday.