Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Thoughts on last night’s debate.

Boring, no clear winner. I agree with Chris Matthew’s assessment this morning that Cheney is the master of disguise, that he has the ability to project himself as a reasonable, moderate, calm person – despite the fact in reality he’s a strident, hawkish, far-right ideologue. He would be a great poker player. Matthews went on to point out things Edwards could’ve slammed him on, including Cheney’s multiple bogus deferments regarding the Vietnam War, but nonetheless it was tough for a very boyish looking Edwards to do battle with this more senior and seasoned politician.

It was obvious with Cheney’s answers that he was given strict orders to make GW the focus, to state clearly that Cheney was at GW’s beck and call, that GW was running the show, that he was simply a loyal lackey, etc. The more Cheney did this, the more I was convinced it wasn’t true.

As the debate progressed, it appeared as if Cheney was getting past his bedtime. The VP seemed to get ever more lethargic in his answers to the point where he was lulling me to sleep. When the debate ended, it was noticeable in a startling way how Edwards popped up out of his chair to shake Cheney’s hand, and yet Cheney was still sitting and took what seemed to be forever to get himself upright. Is this what we want in what could be our next President?

The media is making a big deal of Cheney’s retort to Edwards’ accurate statement, "we've taken 90 percent of the coalition casualties." Cheney’s clever response was to include the Iraq casualties. Keeping aside the fact that Cheney is dead wrong when he said "the 90 percent figure is just dead wrong" because Edwards stated the coalition and last time I checked Iraq was not part of the coalition, but more importantly most of the dead Iraqis have been civilians, killed due to insurgency attacks (car bombs, etc.) or collateral damage from coalition strikes. For Cheney to include these deaths as if they were the same as fighting soldiers that have died is disingenuous and quite disgusting.

The topic that usually gets discussed after the VP debate is would this person be a capable president if something were to happen to the sitting #1. The soft-headed media chortled about how Cheney looked more senior, etc., but what they feel compelled to NOT mention is the issue of health. You have to bring this up, not during the debate itself, but rather during the post-debate discussion. Cheney has had severe and significant health events occur in his life: four heart attacks followed by quadruple bypass surgery. This is not a huge concern? How would he hold up when thrusted into the #1 role? Would the added stress be too much for him, esp. since he’d be in his late 60s? Shouldn’t we then be grilling the Speaker of the House in this regard, the next person in line?? With Edwards we can at least say this entire concern is off the table.

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