Watching these debates has been rough going, hasn't it? About halfway through, I feel a knot forming in my stomach and I need to leave the room. Bush makes me angry and ashamed as always, and Kerry (and Edwards)'s attempt to water down their liberal views for the moderate types is very frustrating. Lies and deceptions detonate like firecrackers in the night; labyryithian rhetoric flows like the Mississippi. Not to mention that these things are too long. After 45 minutes, it starts to sound like a volley of verbal retreads (especially from Bush, who seems incapable of synthesising original dialogue).
But I think Kerry is winning. He at least understands composure and dignity. It's what they call being "presidential." He appears firm but not inflexible, while Bush looks naive and, paradoxically, fabulously arrogant. It has been good to see these two operate side by side, as much as it makes me queasy.
We should vote for Kerry just to get our country back from the man who stole it from us in 2000. I hope you all get out and vote in November.
PS -- MoveOn.org identified just a few of the more outrageous lies Dick Cheney told during the Vice Presidential Debate:
CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11"
THE TRUTH: As the Washington Post reports today, Cheney has repeatedly insinuated and "strongly suggested" that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on September 11th. And in its fact check column today, the Boston Globe says "Cheney has consistently asserted strong prewar links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, even after the 9/11 Commission definitively concluded that there had not been a collaborative relationship between the two. In a radio interview in January 2004, Cheney said: 'I think there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.'"
On December 9, 2001, Cheney went on "Meet the Press" to perpetuate the now entirely debunked theory that one of the 9/11 hijackers met with an Iraqi official. He went back on a year ago to describe Iraq as part of ""the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
Most recently, Cheney has claimed that Iraq harbored the terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and said Zarqawi "is an al Qaeda associate who took refuge in Baghdad, found sanctuary and safe harbor there before we ever launched into Iraq." But yesterday, a report Cheney himself requested found that there is no conclusive evidence to support that claim. An administration official said, "The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything."
CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "900,000 small businesses will be hit" by the Kerry-Edwards plan to roll back tax cuts for people in the top income bracket.
THE TRUTH: As the Washington Post writes this morning: "This is misleading. Under Cheney's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who includes some income from a small business investment, partnership, limited liability corporation or trust. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent small businesses. According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business "S-corporations" earn enough profits to be in the top two tax brackets. Most are in the bottom two brackets."
CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "We have added 1.7 million jobs to the economy."
THE TRUTH: On November 2nd, George Bush will be the first president in 70 years to lose jobs. There will be about a million fewer jobs than there were when Bush took office -- and about 7 million fewer than Bush's own post-9/11 estimate. Cheney's using fuzzy math: 1.7 million jobs have been added, but millions more have been lost.
CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."
THE TRUTH: This one-liner was one of Cheney's best zingers of the night, but even it isn't true: Cheney and Edwards have met in public at least twice. They met when Edwards escorted Elizabeth Dole to be sworn in by Cheney as Senator and at the National Prayer Breakfast. At the Breakfast, he even called Edwards out by name, starting his remarks with the words, "Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I are honored to be with you all this morning." You can actually watch video of the two of them shaking hands at www.democrats.org.