Saturday, October 09, 2004


Last time, we got grouchy, grimacing Bush. This time we got querulous, high-strung Bush, at least for the first half-hour, at which point the Ritalin kicked in. This qualifies as an improvement.

A few highlights:

- Bush referencing the Dred Scott decision as an example of justices "making law."
"Another example [of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process, as opposed to strict interpretation of the Constitution] would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges years ago said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights. That's personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all - you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America."

No, the Dred Scott decision was based upon an "original intent" interpretation of the Constitution. Nice try, though, to put conservatism on the right side of history. Unfortunately, we keep records.

- Bush on the environment:
"I guess you'd say I'm a good steward of the land. The quality of the air is cleaner since I've been the president."

Yes, the air is cleaner during your presidency because of regulations which have been in place for the last thirty years, which your party has consistently opposed, and which your administration has specifically tried to weaken.

-Bush on why he blocked the reimportation of inexpensive drugs from Canada:
"When a drug comes in from Canada I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you. And that's why the F.D.A. and that's why the surgeon general are looking very carefully to make sure it can be done in a safe way. I've got an obligation to make sure our government does everything we can to protect you. And my worry is, is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada and it might be from a Third World."

I actually heard the Baby Jesus starting to cry when Bush floated this biscuit. He did this to protect us, not to protect Big Pharma, because, you know, there's been a rash of deaths across Canada from poisonous third world drugs. Right. Could he at least respect us enough to come up with slightly believable lies? (Also, a Third World? Is this something one finds on the internets? Additionally, it's possible that when Bush was talking about third world drugs, he was thinking of coke.)

Although Bush clearly did better this time, it's still quite obvious that he has only a tenuous grasp on the details of his own policies. He continues to spout words like "freedom" and "liberty" without giving any indication whatever that he understands the processes involved in securing those things, other than that it's "hard work."

Kerry rightly perceived that the onus was on Bush to improve from last time, and I think Kerry was correct to dial down somewhat the stridency of his attacks, while still maintaining the offensive. It wasn't as clear a win as last time, but my feeling is that Kerry came out on top.

p.s. I must recommend Wonkette's Cliff's Notes version of the debate.

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