Friday, October 08, 2004

Immediate Debate Summary (i.e. less good content)


  • Well, you did not mess things up twice. If that is victory, then you are the victor.
  • Yelling does not equal making a good point. My 3-year-old does not get that yet, but I bet he does by the time he hits your age.
  • You got some points by that Kerry did not catch, most notably the job report from September.
  • "Name 3 mistakes" means you have to name AT LEAST ONE MISTAKE. You're just lucky Kerry didn't call you on that. By the way, if Kerry said he'd made appointments to Bush responds "boards you never heard of", you'd have his head.
  • The Dred Scott case?? I am a lawyer-- I know that case . . .from 1857!!! Lemme guess, you also feel that slavery is wrong. Well, that sure is resolute.
  • Too much 9-11.
  • You do own part of a timber company, making you a small business.


  • Boy, he gave you a lot of material. Don't keep a pad and pen if you don't use it for notes you'll use later.
  • I said no big words. You used big words (calling the clean skies bills "Orwellian"). Dummy.
  • Nice work on the Duelfer report, but you should have hit him harder on this (gotta read my tips next time).

Conclusion: Draw. Sorry to be boring, but that is the case. Bush showed up for this one, but still made a bunch of non-sequitur (I can use big words, Kerry, not you) comments, dodged plenty of questions, and just seemed downright peeved about being there. However, he still gives people an aw-shucks, folksy persona (even though he went to freakin' Andover), and Kerry simply does not. Kerry likely won't lose ground, but it certainly is not a repeat of last week.

That being said, I am sure the fact-checkers will have something to say about that. . . .

Live-time Debate Commentary

Bush: It is not called the "Internets" -- nice job on that, champ. On the upside, you are much more animated, which I am sure will help you out. On the downside, you got off your stool before Charlie Gibson let you up (and you stopped him from asking you a question). You certainly woke up, but you are vocally pissy, not just facially.

Kerry: Don't smile too much - it could be smirking. Also, Bush HAS to get mad - he'll get called a wuss by his frat brother Rove if he doesn't. You need to keep calm and stick to the facts.

Tips for the Master Debaters (sure it's cheap, but I'm lazy today)


  1. Hammer home the Duelfer report. As CNB wrote (as did most every major news agency), this undermines their reason for the war, whether they acknowledge it or not.
  2. Make some positive statements. Voters will get turned off if everything they hear from you is negative.
  3. Make simple and clear declarative statements. Anything less makes people think, right or wrong, that you are a flip-flopper.
  4. On that subject -- no 25-cent words. This is not to say that the American electorate is not too bright, but it wouldn't hurt to dumb it down a shade.
  5. Because Bush will say anything (see #1 tip to Bush, below), you need to anticipate what he is going to say to defuse it (e.g., the President will say we gained 96,000 jobs last month, but that ignores the fact that . . . .) Bush is predictable, so this should not be hard. Moreover, Bush does this to you, so do it to him before he does it to you.
  6. Give Bush credit for something. You seem to agree with him on Afghanistan, so say that the President was right on Afghanistan (you always fall short of saying that), and then you can make your statements of an Iraqi diversion. It will sound much more genuine and positive (see #2 above), and likely take Bush aback (see #7, below).
  7. If Bush again says that his job is "hard work" - call him on it. Respond by saying that if the president is having trouble keeping up with his work, then you more than willing to take over. That'll make Bush mad, which he does not handle well. Remember, your best quality for many folks is that you are not George Bush.


  1. Say whatever you want, but say it with conviction. Cheney apparently has no regard for accuracy, but no one seems to care because he sounds articulate and commanding while speaking.
  2. No more stump speech language. Town-hall or not, these folks have not signed a loyalty pledge (frankly, those creep out the CNB). Thus, you will not get resounding cheers every time you finish a sentence.
  3. Don't use the term "evildoers" or the phrase "they hate us for our freedom". It makes you sound simple, which is not something you really can afford right now.
  4. You've had a tough week (last week's debate, falling poll numbers, the Duelfer report and other bad news out of Iraq, September jobs report) - acknowledge it (and NOT by continually complaining that being president is "hard work"). What is angering people is your disconnect with your surroundings. Tip #1 notwithstanding, show that you actually know what is going on in the world, as opposed to what you wish were going on.
  5. Stop using conditional tense when you speak. In case no one told you, you ARE the president. Thus, you cannot just rely on what you WILL do if you happen to win in a month - you have to talk about what you HAVE done. At some point, Kerry is going to wise up and remind you that with a Republican-controlled Congress, nothing stopped you from getting things done for the past 4 years (your tax cuts seemed to get through).
  6. Do not even hint at a 9/11 - Iraq connection. You will embarrass yourself with that, and it contradicts a statement you made last year (i.e. you become a flip-flopper).

Let's see if Bush can rebound from last week, and if Kerry can continue to keep me awake. . .

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Cheney to Reality: Go F*** Yourself

Yesterday, Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, presented a report stating that: (1) Iraq had no stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, and (2) Iraq's nuclear program had decayed before last year's U.S.-led invasion. The report found no evidence of any such weapons, and concluded that Saddam Hussein's weapons capability had weakened, not grown, during a dozen years of U.N. sanctions before the U.S. invasion last year (noting that Hussein had wanted to get a program going, although he lacked the infrastructure).

"What we have found on the ground is at a substantial variation from ... the pre-war assessments," Duelfer told the US Senate armed services committee. In addition, Duelfer's team found no evidence of the "reconstituted" nuclear weapons program VP Cheney claimed in late 2002. He also said that much of the "proof" of Iraq's WMD that Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the United Nations Security Council in 2003 had plausible alternative explanations.

Vice President Dick Cheney stated today that this report justifies rather than undermines the President's decision to go to war. Cheney said that the report shows that "delay, defer, wait wasn't an option." He further stated that "The headlines all say no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Baghdad. We already knew that." Cheney added "As soon as the sanctions were lifted he had every intention of going back" to his weapons program.

Nice try, Dick. The problem is, no one (other than Hussein) ever said, or even suggested, that the UN, the US, Bulgaria, or anyone else should lift sanctions against Iraq while Hussein was in power (the US did afterwards). You cannot argue against an argument no one made.

Moreover, if Saddam Hussein's ability to produce any WMD got weaker over the time of the sanctions, then how exactly did the continuing sanctions, or what Cheney calls "delay, defer, wait" cause any harm? Moreover, Duelfer's report stated that Hussein wanted weapons primarily not to attack the United States or to provide them to terrorists, but to oppose Iran [someone should tell Pres. Bush this - he said today that "We had to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons and one regime stood out: the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."]

In sum, Cheney's statements (not to mention Bush's) just do not make sense. Then again, Cheney has had a problem with veracity this week.

In fairness to VP Cheney, CNB's crack investigative staff does note that the Clinton administration also believed that Iraq had WMD, and actually signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. However, CNB notes that there was no barrage of statements as to the pressing need for war and invasion of Iraq [in addition to the links above, see the 2003 State of the Union Address], based upon putative threats to the United States.

Even though all of these statements are now proven to be demonstrably false, no one in the Administration has had the integrity to admit fault, or even a mistake in judgment. In fact, VP Cheney said on Tuesday that he'd do everything the same way all over again. Evidently, VP Cheney feels the same way about troublesome truths the same way he feels about Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Official CNB VP Debate Review -- (Yes, I stayed awake)

Kerry went first last time, so Cheney goes first this time. You may note that this version mixes quotes and commentary -- this is free, you know, so you are getting your money's worth.

A lot of folks have already taken both sides to task for making exaggerated statements, so CNB is solely hitting what CNB found to be the high points (the best review, per usual, is at the soon-to-be-overwhelmed CNB's crack investigative staff found not much mention of how both candidates often seemed unable (or unwilling, more likely) to answer the question actually asked of them (and each noted his opponent's fault in doing so). An official transcript may be found here.


  1. "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11." Are you kidding? You referred to Iraq as "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, BUT MOST ESPECIALLY ON 9/11." (emphasis added). For further help, see a prior CNB.
  2. Directing folks to Factcheck. com rather than was priceless, especially because it has the headline of "Why we must not re-elect President Bush" (is Cheney trying to tell us something??). By the way, the reason you sent folks to (to say that charges against Halliburton are false) was incorrect - the article says that you don't benefit personally from Halliburton/KBR's work in Iraq. Still good for you, but not your point.
  3. "[T]here's no indication at all that John Kerry has the conviction to successfully carry through on the war on terror." This from the guy whose boss felt it necessary to make clear that he knew who attacked us on 9-11 -- a fact of which you may wish to take note, Mr. VP (see #1, above).
  4. "What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action. " Showing conviction is one thing, but that seems a bit bull-headed, especially in light of the comments of Bremer, Lugar, and Hagel.
  5. "And Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that's not very distinguished." A bit harsh, though you are Dick Cheney. Not quite "You're no Jack Kennedy" but you got your point across to the first-term Senator.


  1. Switch to decaf. Really. You tend to gesticulate as if you are on fire.
  2. Don't use the $200 billion number for Iraq after Kerry gets called for using it last week. I know you guys read polls, but don't you flip to the editorial section also?
  3. "While they were on the ground fighting, they lobbied the Congress to cut their combat pay." This is like the VA benefits issue -- not giving as much an increase as some would like does not equal cutting. Be careful with stuff like that.
  4. "There are Republican leaders, like John McCain, like Richard Lugar, like Chuck Hagel, who have said Iraq is a mess and it's getting worse. " Nice shot. You reading the CNB? Somebody has to. Leave a comment next time.
  5. "He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King."Ouch.

All in all, this one was a draw. Cheney kept his cool, and was able to articulate his position much better than his boss [although what he thought would be his best shot -- "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight" -- was proven false, even on FoxNews]. Edwards was more amiable, if a bit filled with nervous energy, and personable. Frankly, both had good and bad points.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Jesus as political candidate

This is partisan, but goes to show how politics can turn even Jesus into a bad political candidate.
Click here.