I just finished watching a tape of the second presidential debate held in St. Louis last Friday evening.
One word: (said with just a tad of sarcasm) WHOOPEE!
I found the format boring, the moderator INCREDIBLY boring, and the people asking the questions in the audience robot-like. I've attended Vespers that were more exciting than this debate was.
John Kerry was uneventful, lacking the vigor that he showed in the first debate, and had two moments that puzzled me. First, did he slam the Red Sox? He made a quip about the President living in a dream world and not being realistic, and then said that was unlike a Red Sox fan. I know that Massachusetts couldn't be any bluer, but do you really want to mess with 86 years of complete frustration? If the Red Sox lose to the Yankees in a typical Red Sox way, enough people may be still be too stunned to vote on November 2.
Second, what was with the reference to the President owning a timber company? I know it isn't too difficult to confuse GW, but this made no sense to me at all. And it lead to one of the more uncomfortable moments of my life, hearing the President ask Charles Gibson (and what the hell was he doing moderating a presidential debate? Was Pat O'Brien booked? ) if he "wanted any wood." It's never a good thing to see a president giggle. George W. Bush giggles like he's been trying to inflate a kiddy pool for the last two hours.
Ah, the President. He's America's pork chop. That just came to me, and I don't know why. I listen to W speak and that is what comes to my mind, a pork chop.
He was better this time than he was in the first debate, when he had that nausea-heartburn-indigestion-upset stomach-diarrhea face going for ninety minutes. And aside from his wood comment he was doing all right and even had me going for just a little while that perhaps, just perhaps, he was going to pull this off and come across as competent. But towards the end of the debate, he wandered back into W World, where all he does is pander to his core conservative base and presents himself as the most arrogant man on the planet.
For example, he still called John Kerry "my opponent" every opportunity he could, which still floors me. Again, call him Senator. What is the problem with this? Call him "Liberal Senator" if you must, but call him something. He makes it sound like he's debating a robot. I just don't get this. And yes, I realize that this is incredibly insignificant. It just bugs the hell out of me!
GW hit the trifecta for me at the end. First was his inane reference to the Dred Scott case when he was asked what kind of judges he would appoint to the Supreme Court. In typical W speak, he didn't answer the question, instead telling us who he would not appoint. He said an example of a judge that he would not name to the court would be one that believed in the Dred Scott case, which essentially gave people the continued right to own slaves before the Civil War on the basis that slaves were considered property. I had heard about this before I watched the tape of the debate, and I have been thinking about it for a while. Obviously, he was trying to say that he doesn't want judges on the court that rule based on personal opinion, and I am wondering if this was a thinly veiled reference to abortion rights. But then I remember that this is W, and that there is no way he is smart enough to create an analogy that links slavery to abortion.
What is more troubling about this reference is that he is wrong about it. At the time of this court decision, the right to personal property was part of the Constitution, and slaves fell into that category. It was later that the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments were added to the Constitution that abolished slavery and guaranteed the rights of African-Americans, i.e. that they could not be considered "personal property" anymore.
The second hit on the trifecta was his comments about abortion, and I realize that I am letting personal feeling enter into this judgment. I just find it incredibly arrogant that anyone, let alone the President, will refuse to consider the possibility that an abortion could be performed to save the life of a mother. I am not a practicing abortionist, obviously, and I should do some research on the subject, but really, what percentage of abortions performed are partial birth? I find it hard to believe that it makes up a significant portion. Forgive me for being crass, but is it likely that a woman says "hmm, I'm in the second trimester now and I really don't want this kid, guess it's time for a partial birth abortion. Thank God I live in America."
It's after 2 AM otherwise I would head over to Google and find somewhere to give me some numbers on this. My apologies if I am totally wrong on this. I will check it out in the future. I can feel ombudsmen cringing all over the blogosphere.
Last point of the trifecta, and by far the best, was the last question of the night, where a woman asked W to name three mistakes he has made in his administration. He broke down, fell to his knees, and screamed "the whole four years has been a national nightmare!"
Yep, really, honest he did.
And I am rooting for the Cardinals to win the World Series. Is that getting tired as a reference to satire yet?
W did not answer the question. Instead he spun it into a statement about his resolve, about how he will do things that are not popular but are the right things to do, and dammit, he doesn't really care what anyone thinks about it. I know it is not realistic to expect him to confess to any shortcomings, but he could have been just a little gracious about it. Instead he babbled. God, he makes me ill. He is truly the most arrogant man to ever hold this office, and I can't believe this country is even considering renewing his lease for four more years.
So we move to Tempe, and I will be watching that one live. After that, the gloves come off. I know Karl Rove has been locked in a cage somewhere being fed a steady diet of raw meat. The bolts get unlocked first thing Thursday. It's going to be real ugly in this country for the next twenty days.
And so to bed...