Wednesday, October 06, 2004

VP Debate Thoughts

First, a moment of silence for Rodney. You may think this is just a cheap trick to generate comments, which it is, but I also feel genuine remorse.

Second, how 'bout them Twins. Yeah, I know, they took the first one from the Yanks last year and dropped the next three. But this year feels different, especially with Carlos Santana on the mound. I knew the guy could play guitar, but who knew he could pitch so well? I predict the Twins in 4. You heard it here first.

Now, onto the debate:

Dick Cheney: "I'd like to respond to that, Gwen, but it will take more than 30 seconds."

Gwen iffil: "That's all you've got."

Voice Inside Gwen iffil's head: "Unless your John Edwards. He is sooo dreamy. It's hard to keep my heart in my chest while he's talking with that melodious voice. Maybe I should have worn the black dress instead of this outfit - he would have taken notice of that. Hey, what is that red light reflecting in his eye - very disturbing - like when someone takes a picture of me and I've got that red-eye thing going on. Oh no! Maybe someone from Halliburton is beaming a laser from outer space right now at John John's eyes to throw him off his game. Oh, wait a minute, my mistake, that is the red light that I am supposed to enforce under the highly unfair rules of the debate. I mean, Cheney and Bush have the right wing press do their bidding for four years, and then they are supposed to get equal time during this thing? Not if I can help it."

I watched a half hour of the debate. Here are some observations, highly partisan of course:

1) Cheney had command of his facts, and delivered them very logically, and at times forcefully. Edwards was well-spoken, but he comes off to me as the self-righteous son to Cheney's more wise role as dad; whereas Cheney was "misleading" the American people - a charge to his character, Edwards simply "had his facts wrong", I reminder from the dad that 17 year olds tend to think they know more than they do.

2) I just find Cheney impressive - the guy never gets rattled. Dems like to hang the CEO charge of Halliburton on him like it is equivalent to joining up Al Queda, but the fact of the matter is that companies don't choose people who aren't good leaders with judgment to head operations. If Halliburton wanted to choose someone for political influence only, why choose Cheney during a Democratic administration? You could have much more influence with Clinton by choosing some reversion-to-the-mean Kennedy. The no-bid contract for Halliburton, by the way, was similar to the one they got for Bosnia under Clinton; it seems that when no other company can do the work, there is no need for a bidding war.

3) I am only going to say this once. Neither Cheney, nor Bush, nor anyone in their administration, nor anyone in Karl Rove's vast right wing conspiracy, has ever ever ever ever said that Saddam was directly involved in planning 9-11. Simple fact - it is a straw man. As Cheney said last night, post 9-11, the administration viewed the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on WMDs as the biggest threat facing the US. Iraq was a very likely source for them getting their hands on such material. Ergo, given the fact that Iraq has flaunted nearly every UN mandate for 12 years, and continues to kick out inspectors unless US troops are lined on their borders, it might seem a tad logical that Saddam has been busy outsourcing his WMD disposal to his friendly neighborhood terrorist organization. To Kerry and Edwards, lacking a picture of Saddam handing a brief case over-stuffed with money and small missiles to Osama bin Laden, with a schematic picture of the WTC in flames behind them, Saddam is considered off limits. Except if the political tide makes it seem like the right thing to do, in which case you cast your Senate vote in favor of the war.

But we are supposed to believe that Kerry will pre-emptively go after Iran? Maybe that is what is necessary, but if these guys cannot support a war against a guy with a track record like Saddam, it is hard to imagine they will make any tougher decisions.

4) North Korea - OK, so North Korea is Bush's fault? Clinton sends Carter to North Korea 10 years ago in a perfect example of the reason why diplomacy gets you nothing with third world thugs - Carter gets the "visionary" (his word) leader of NK to sign some piece of paper saying he won't develop nukes and the NYT hails it as diplomacy at its best. Clinton goes back to his full time job, which consisted of round the clock meetings with Carter's terrorist friend Arafat, interrupted ocassionally for a pizza delivery, and forgets about N. Korea. Meanwhile moments after Jimmy Carter leaves the tarmac in Korea, Kim Jong Il is taking the signed agreement down to laboratory in the basement of his palace, and handing it to the mad nuclear scientist suggesting that he use it for kindling the nuclear cocktail. But this is Bush's fault!

5) Here is what I think may happen should Kerry and Edwards get elected. They might just be as tough as Bush and Cheney, although there is more than ample reason to think that they won't given Kerry's record in the Senate. But suppose for a moment the leopard change his spots. If he does the same thing, the press will nevertheless treat it very differently - very favorably in fact, which makes it easier to make bold moves. Rather than every story being about a quagmire, suddenly we'll have personal interest stories about little girls going to school for the first time in Iraq, etc etc.

Think about the "decade of greed" that was the Reagan 1980s, which were followed by additional prosperous years in the 90s under Clinton - Clinton instituted welfare reform, presided over a huge stock market bubble, saw income inequality increase in the US as it did in the 80s, and had a Ken Lay or Bernie Ebbers for every Michael Milken from the 80s. So why aren't the 90s the "decade of greed"? If Halliburton really wants to make some money, they might be better off voting for Kerry, who can send them everywhere while the NYT does stories about how Halliburton does the tough gritty work that no one else will do.

5) But then I come to my senses. Kerry, in my eyes, looks to a dying Europe (France and Germany) for approval, which he'll never get. He'll have summits and signed agreements and lots of people involved but no rogue nation will be confronted unless they directly attack us, which they will never do, as they can outsource the war to terrorist organizations they support.

6) As I said, I left the debate after a half hour, but while channel surfing, came across Edwards talking about healthcare, and how consumers are being pinched partially through doctor's passing on expensive malpractice fees in their rates to patients. He says they have a plan to reduce malpractice costs by eliminating frivolous suits. Yeah, that is why the trial lawyers are all lined up right behind him - too many frivolous suits in their eyes!

One of the big cases that Edwards won was precisely that - a frivolous claim of negligence on the part of an OB/GYN who delivered a baby that turned out to have cerebral paulsy. No science to link the difficulty of the birth and the actions of a doctor to the condition of the baby, but who needs science when John Edwards could channel the thoughts of the baby in his closing argument. "I am having trouble now, it is difficult to breathe, you have to get me out of here." That sort of thing, all, we are told, falling on the deaf ears of a callous doctor. But if that doctor had been performing a partial birth abortion? Let's hear you channel that kid's thoughts you sleazy prick!

12 Comments:

Blogger Arnie said...

If the administration's fear was that terrorists would get there hands on Iraq's WMD, you'd think they would have had a plan to actually find those WMD when the US got to Iraq. The big knock on Bush's Iraq policy isn't that he lied about Iraq having WMD, it's that his post-war plan was so incompetent that those WMD may have fallen into the hands of terrorists.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Hatcher said...

What Arnie, no comment on the Twins? I threw that out there to distract you. But if there were no WMDs to beging with, how could alleged lack of post-war planning have lead to invisible WMDs falling into the wrong hands? So which is it - did he have 'em and we just failed to see the guys smuggling biological warheads under their tunics into Syria? Should our plan have included showing our troops that guys walking to the border who look like they are happy to see you in actuality have a rocket in their pants? Maybe you should consider the more likely possibility - in the eight months of lead time where the UN contemplated how it could prolong its oil for food scandal by keeping the US from rushing to war, Saddam used that time to ship them off to Syria.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

Kerry's current line seems to be that 'the President was right in removing Saddam, but has bungled the post-war plan'. But what exactly would Kerry & the other Bush critics do differently? Just send more troops? Pull out altogether? Kerry claims to have a plan, but neither he nor his people ever seem to elaborate, not even a little bit. Maybe he'll magically recruit France & Germany to help out! That'll make Everything ok!

8:41 AM  
Blogger pbryon said...

Geez Jack, you've seen all these CSI shows, right? If there were WMD being made there, there would be some telltale signs, even if they were shipped off beforehand.

I can buy the "go for the weak leg of the table" rationale for the war. But I can't buy the lack of coordination afterwards. The lack of support services, the lack of protection of oil and other economic infrastructure, the disbanding of the army, etc.--all of these things have set the effort back years.

I realize the fog of war, and that nothing goes according to plan. But to continue to say that things are "well in hand" and going swimmingly is insulting.

Now does this mean that Kerry will do a better job? Certainly not. But does it mean that the men currently in charge certainly deserve some constructive criticism--which many individuals think is unfair or unpatriotic to give them.

And you left the debate early? You missed all the fun smirks, glares, grins, and nudity...

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last paragraph on Edwards is a tour-de-force! Email that to our commie aunts and uncles and all the other "practicing Catholics" who are considering voting for these a-holes. I hope there's a confessional set-up outside the voting booth.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Arnie said...

I'm living the grad student life for the next two days, so I have all the free time I need to comment. I'll go back to reading passively next week.

Rumsfield, Powell, Cheney and Bush made the case that they KNEW that Iraq had WMD and that they knew EXACTLY where they were. They made this case all the way up to the point of going into Iraq. So we are left with two disturbing possibilities. They all lied when they said they KNEW EXACTLY where the WMD were or, more disturbingly, the were telling the truth and didn't have a competent plan to capture the WMD before terrorists could get them.

If it was predictable that the WMD had been spirited off to Syria, then it was pointless to kill 1000 Americans and 10,000's Iraqis to stop terrorists from getting WMD.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

Bush & company never said they knew exactly where the WMDs were.

Suppose you are president. Your nation has just been attacked, & 3,000 people were killed. You have intelligence that another dictator is developing WMDs, & British & Russian intelligence backs that up. In addition, this dictator has violated 17 UN resolutions, kicked out UN weapons inspectors, & used biological weapons on his own people. And he has made it know that he hates your country. Are you going to wait for him to attack you? If you could prevent another 9/11, wouldn't you have to do it?

I think Tony Blair said it best: 'We're sorry the intelligence about WMDs proved to be wrong, but we are definitely not sorry that we removed Saddam.'

8:20 AM  
Blogger Professor Vic said...

First of all, I wholely support the tribute to Rodney and the Twins. Yankee comeback in the 12th is killing me.

Just a couple of comments. With all due respect to increidble dirigible, he is simply factually wrong on this one. In the eve of the war, Rumfield said something very close to, "We know they have them and we know where they are." Don't quibble on the exact words, but he assured us that we knew exactly where the weapons were hiding. He was either wrong, intentionally lying/exaggerating, or let the weapons get away. (My guess is a combination of about 90% wrong, 10% lying, and 0% let them get away.)

Next, while I will agree that the administration has never directly linked 9/11 to Iraq, they have consistently attempted to link Iraq and Al-Qaeda. As recently as this week, Rumsfield said that there were no links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda and then flip-flopped back to saying there were links. (Who can't get their story straight?) I think that it has been pretty much verified that at least one significant Al-Qaeda leader did visit Iraq prior to 9/11, to my knowledge there is no evidence of any coordination of any type between the two organizations. As said by Edwards in the debate, we have very firm evidence of Al-Qaeda operatives in at least thirty countries around the world including Canada and Germany. Should we invade all of those countries? Just because two bad guys are in the same place doens't mean any cooperation is occurring. The Bloods and the Crypts are both in L.A. but hardly allies. Calling Iraq an ally to Al-Qaeda is a little like calling Canada an Al-Qaeda ally. That doesn't take Iraq off the hook on the war on terror, but apparently Saddam was pretty much content on kill his own people or his neighbors and not export terror to the west.

It is perfectly consistent for Kerry to say, "I was in favor of the war, but that it has been run very badly." While freeing Iraq might be worth 1,000 American lives, if it could have been done with the loss of 100 American lives, then the blood of 900 soldiers is on the hands of those who made the errors. I will completely agree that Kerry has no better plan than Bush to deal with the mess in Iraq (and it is a terrible mess). The question is whether you want to keep the guys who made the mess in the first place in office for 4 more years.

Regardless of whether you were in favor of the war or not at the beginning, you are either blind or completely biased if you think the war has been run well.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

Well, Professor Vic, I don't expect to change your mind, & I don't know where you read or heard that Rumsfeld line before the war. But I do get my info from a variety of sources, & not only have I never heard any of the Bush people imply that they knew *exactly where* the WMDs were, but this is the first I've heard anyone Accuse them of saying that! I didn't even hear Michael Moore say that.

Apparently there was *no* Iraq-9/11 link, & there was *some* Iraq-Al Quaeda link. How tight the link, well, I don't know if we'll ever know.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Professor Vic. It was the wrong war at the wrong time. But we CAN make things right in Iraq and fix all of our errors to make good with the Arab street and France. I have a modest proposal (my apologies to Swift)- let's put Saddam back in charge! He's still sitting in prison finding Allah. He's well rested, fed and clean shaven, dare I say dapper. We can free him, and apologize to the UN and France for our indescretion, help the Baathists' reorganize, and do our best to return Iraq to the peaceful place it was before American agression. We can even re-broker the UN oil for food program so that Kofi, Jacque, and the gang can recoop all their losses in this fine humanitarian effort. While we unfortunately can't return Saddam's sons to their prestigious pre-war positions, we can allow John Edward's law firm to sue our government for lost wages and pain and suffering. Maybe he can channel Uday's thoughts as the American dogs were closing in (I want my 70 virgins.....) Given the performance of the Iraqi soccer team in the olympics, it might have been time for a change anyway. We can have all of our troops out by Christmas so they can be available to hand out food in Bolivia or someplace which is what they are really trained to do anyway. They can even where the cute powder blue UN hat. President Kerry can than declare a new era of world peace at his inauguration, and we can get back to the real work of government - socializing entire industries "for the children". We can than make sure that Iraq obtains nuclear weapons as soon as possible to offset Iran's stash. (On second thought, that might actually work as the 2 would most likely obliterate each other.) However, sec of state Albright will ensure that they all get along. Ambassador Carter, fresh off of validating Kerry's 35 point win in Florida, will refuse to certify Afganistans' recent election because the Taliban wasn't given equal ballot access. Chief Justice Clinton (Hillary) will attend Bill's succession ceremony as he takes over for Kofi at the UN..... All of this can be ours.

Of course, no one on the left is brave enough to suggest it. Bunch of pussies if you ask me.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Edward channels thoughts.

Not John Edwards..... or am I wrong?

Might there be a Vice-Presidential "Crossing Over with John Edwards"?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the Hatcher for putting an essay out there that elicited more than 10 comments (not including his own). Undoubtedly it was the closing language -- "you sleazy prick!" that did the job.

Has anyone considered the possibility that the war HAS been well managed? Perhaps we do not know the whole truth, because the many positive aspects of the war do not make entertaining news. Can anyone imagine Dan Rather reporting on the progress of utility restoration and civility on a nightly basis?

Off to court -- got a big malpractice suit pillage to finish off. Go Red Sox!

2:32 PM  

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