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Friday, October 08, 2004

Debate thoughts

Ah, someone fed Bush his drugs. He was much better at the wide-eyed naif act that's served him so well in the past. I didn't expect so much of the debate to center so much on the war in Iraq--clearly, this is going to be the big issue. (Should have expected it considering all the attention paid to the Iraq stand-in--Vietnam--this election cycle.)

Kerry scored a couple of good points that will play well later on, particularly in his easy ability to make nuanced points in straightforward language. I saw people in the audience flinch when Bush pretended that fairly straightforward points made by Kerry were just too complicated for us ordinary dumbasses.

When the debate turned to abortion, the Supreme Court, and stem cell research, I shot up in my chair. I was worried about this, but John Kerry articulated perfectly the way a huge number of people feel about abortion--namely, I don't believe in it but I don't believe in forcing my beliefs on others. What's hard to understand?

When Bush mocked him, I growled. I hope that the significance of that hits home for most people--Kerry said that he doesn't believe in forcing his religious convictions on others. Bush said that didn't make sense. Now I know that he was pandering to his evangelical base that believes that they aren't standing up for their religion unless they are shoving it down the throats of the unwilling. But in order to do so, he has to stand up for the belief that it's perfectly alright for a religious person to shove their beliefs on another without regard for the Constitution.

In fact, he repeatedly was unable to refrain from showing his contempt for the Constitution. He thought he had scored a great point by bringing up a case from 1847 to show that he would appoint a judge who would stand firmly against slavery, which the Constitution forbids in an amendment written many years after the Dred Scott case and the Civil War that eventually brought an end to it. And even then, he stumbled. I guess reaching into as recent a decision as Brown v the Board of Education would do too much damage to the Southern strategy.

The stem cell thing was a mortal blow. Kerry made it very, very clear that no stem cells are harvested from abortion. None. I guarantee you half the people who are against stem cell research would change their minds if they found out that you don't collect them from abortions. Bush tipped his hat to the fact that the anti-stem cell research opposition is built on a lie about abortions in his rebuttal when he brought up the dreaded word.

Kerry gave him another whammy when he pointed out that federal funding of family planning reduced instead of increased abortion. Bush spluttered and made noises about how if you want something to go away you just ban it. He really, truly thinks that most people have simple opinions on the subject. But last I checked, something like 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime, which means that all of us probably have someone in our lives who's had one. More importantly, most of us use contraceptives so we don't have to have one. That kind of simplistic rhetoric works best when talking about stuff the audience doesn't understand, like tax law or intricate diplomacy. But abortion and contraception we understand and we know it's not simple.

Kerry's introduction of his faith into the discussion affected me, and I'm sure it resonated with the more faithful in the audience even more. While there are plenty who have a black and white view of faith, or think they do, most faithful people are like Kerry--they have their beliefs, but they know that they don't have all the answers. That bit of honesty was heart-rending. In contrast, Bush's groping psuedo-religion just doesn't seem appealing at all. Let's just hope I'm right.

Anyway, I don't think I've heard as many lies and bullshit packed into one hour and a half ever in my life as I heard come out of Bush's mouth.

Anyway, when I checked, Kerry was up on Fox News by 70-30%. At CNN he was up 83-17%. From Blondesense, a list of other places you can vote at. Don't forget to write some letters to the editor this weekend and if at all possible, call into local talk radio shows and say that Kerry handed Bush his ass. The nice thing about all this is unlike the wingnuts, you aren't lying.

Edited to add: The LA Times has a particularly interesting poll. Check it out.

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