Thursday, October 21, 2004

The hug offensive

The most expensive ad buy of this obscenely expensive Presidential campaign is all about Bush hugging a girl who lost her mother in the World Trade Center attacks.

Yes, I of course agree that we should be electing a President based on whether (or perhaps how vociferously) he hugged a girl whose mother died at the WTC, based on a snapshot taken by the girl's father, a Republican marketing executive.

And yes, of course a hug from the Leader of the Free World has done more for this girl's grief than anything her family could have done. And of course, this proves he will keep Ashley and all the other little girls across this great land safe in their pink canopy beds tonight and every night.

This is Republican repudiation of reality taken to its absurdist extreme. Illegal, immoral wars don't matter. Deficits don't matter. Job losses don't matter. The most secretive administration in the modern era doesn't matter. Lying to the American public doesn't matter.

Hugs matter.

I feel in my bones that this election, however it goes, won't be close. On November 2 the American public is going to wake up, and they are going to choose. They will choose the path of this country. Reality or fantasy. Democracy or authority. Peace or war. Life or death. Truth or hugs.

We'll see. We'll see.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Why I love Jon Stewart, Part Deux

Jon Stewart went on CNN's Crossfire yesterday, and kicked ass. Here are some highlights:

TUCKER CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?

STEWART: If I think they are.

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.

Jon Stewart fucking rocks. He is both my ongoing and current hero. Media Matters has the whole transcript, which is worth a read. Amazingly, I was flipping through channels and happened to catch most of Stewart's appearance; I rarely watch CNN normally. And it was bracing and fantastic and overdue.

Friday, October 15, 2004

"How dare you point out our family's shameful secret!"

(Headline stolen from my friend Mike Benedetto)

How interesting has this Mary Cheney flap been? The hypocrisy of the Cheneys and the Bush campaign in general has been epic, and that's saying something coming from them. Plus, as usual, the media follows along like drooling lapdogs, amplifying Lynne Cheney's fake rage until she becomes some sort of mother bear in a Nancy Reagan suit.

Lynne, you didn't have a problem when your husband brought up on the campaign trail that your daughter is....what is she again? Oh, yes. A LESBIAN. Lynne, you apparently didn't have a problem when Alan Keyes said your daughter was a "selfish hedonist" simply because she's a lesbian. And Lynne? How do you feel about your husband's administration trying to amend the Constitution so your daughter can never marry her long-term partner? Not too concerned about that one, huh? How about Rick Santorum, huh, Lynne? Is he a "good man"?

And then come the yapping masses called conservative bloggers, who are just outraged at John Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney. How dare he! Well, all of them, and Lynne too, can just shove their fake outrage. They all know that the only reason this is an issue is because 1) lots and lots of people, including the Cheneys themselves, think being gay is something to be ashamed of, and 2) it just throws the Republican hypocrisy about gay issues into sharp relief.

Although I've always considered Lynne Cheney to be a particularly evil satellite of the Bush team, this latest escapade has me wondering when she's going to rip her face off and reveal the hissing reptile beneath. It can't come too soon.

Friday, October 08, 2004


How much bullshit does the American public have to swallow before they choke?

The latest:

-When Paul Bremer said we didn't have enough troops to win the peace in Iraq, he was speaking "off the record."
-We invaded Iraq because of Saddam's misuse of the Oil for Food program.
-The final weapons report, which confirms what the U.N. inspectors said before the war - that Saddam had no weapons and no ties to al Qaeda - justifies going to war.
-Public documents found in Iraq in July justify a non-specific threat warning to American schools in October.
-When Donald Rumsfeld said he knew of no real evidence linking Saddam and al Qaeda, he was "misunderstood."
-The weapons report said Saddam had no nuclear program, and his capability to start anything up again was diminishing, not gathering. But to Condi Rice, "people are still debating."

When are people going to start getting sick of being fed this stuff?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Debate Episode II: The Empire Strikes Back

Dick Cheney - slumped over, with eyes blazing and hands rubbing together in glee - did his best Darth Vader impression last night during the debate with John Edwards. And he got in some telegenic if not honest digs against Edwards and Kerry.

Too bad his best line - "I've never met you before tonight" - was a lie.

Of course they'd met before, and the helpful political bloggers wasted no time in trotting out images, news stories and video proving that.

But his biggest lie of the night, "I never suggested there was a link between Saddam and 9/11," has become so ingrained in the public consciousness that it probably didn't register outside the limited ranks of political junkies. Fact is, Cheney and his flying monkeys have been pounding home the supposed connection between Saddam and 9/11 for years, and even their denials serve to at least enter a sentence into the public record that includes both terms.

It's basic advertising - Volvos are safe. Thinking safety? Think Volvo. Safety is the most important thing for Volvo. Volvo owns "safety."

Unfortunately, Edwards wasn't strong enough to counter Cheney's Vader-like stare and obvious command of the rhetoric. Edwards got in some good jabs, like pointing out how Cheney voted against Head Start, MLK Day, Meals on Wheels, and probably, puppies. But he missed many many opportunities to counter Cheney's lies - most likely because there were just so many of them. So it's probably a wash. Luke Skywalker got his hand chopped off, but he stayed alive.

Still, I keep wondering if the voters are going to start to ask themselves, why did the VP do so much better with basic things like full sentences than the President did? Who's really in charge here?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A non-vociferous debate

(I was going to title this post "Hooray for split screen!" But that seemed too obvious.)

Voters on Thursday night saw an articulate, thoughtful, forceful man debate a petulant teenager. If that isn't enough for the electorate to decide upon, we're in deep doo-doo, as G. Bush Père would say.

Best Kerry line, when Bush tried to needle him about his comment on the $87 billion: "I made a mistake in how I talked about the war. President Bush made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?"

Best Bush line: "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us! I know that!"

Best shouting-at-the-TV moment: When Bush said "Saddam refused to disarm," I exclaimed, "What did he have to disarm?"

Best word-geek moment: When Bush said the terrorists in Iraq were fighting "vociferously." Completely the wrong word, unless he meant they shouted a lot.

Best "Did I just see that?" moment: Bush looking blankly into the camera for five long seconds. (And right after he asked for a 30-second rebuttal!) If that doesn't sound like very long, count it out for yourself while staring into a mirror.

Good stuff, Maynard.