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political quagmire

2000-10-04

feeling kinda how a girl feels

we interrupt tonight's program to bring you commentary on the first presidential debate of the 2000 campaign.

them's be fightin' words, pardner.well, if i wasn't already nauseous enough before watching last night's presidential debate, i certainly am now. what drivel. didn't learn a new damn thing, hate the touchy feely use of specific voter stories, and i still don't think bush could name the president of russia. yech.

figured that it was my responsibility as a voter to watch this little event, despite my misgivings. let's just say i didn't really go into this with an open mind: i set myself up on the couch with the basket of cat toys nearby, so it would be safe to indulge in throwing things at the TV. and the local coverage leading up to the debate didn't leave me with any warm fuzzy feelings. nader and buchanan have been shut out of the debates, according to some (pun-ily enough) debatable ground rules about minimum voter share. now, i understand not wanting every crackpot candidate from farmer joe's poultry party trying to get in on the debate stage, but i think nader and buchanan are legitimate candidates from viable parties. like them or not, they would certainly broaden the scope of topics discussed, and the spin on more familiar topics.

and anything would have been preferable to the recycled nomination speech sound bytes and campaign drivel. come on, boys - we're not idiots, we don't appreciate being condescended to, and we got the point the first 16 times you made it. acknowledge and move on.

there were some frightening phrases tucked amidst all that morass, tho. (note: while i was a good little civics student and took notes on the most egregious comments, all quotes following are, in fact, taken from the official transcript of the debate. so there.) for example: Gore stated in his first comments that we will succeed "by giving parents the tools to protect their children against cultural pollution". what? color me paranoid, but doesn't that sound a little like 'play by the rules that i just made up'? what, exactly, is cultural pollution? is there some smog cloud of uninvited influences that i missed?

moving on, next subject, next question... (note: lehrer was not, i thought, a particularly efficacious moderator.)

energy sources. i quote Mr. Bush: "I brought this [issue] up recently with Vincete Fox, who's the newly elected president. He's a man I know from Mexico. [ed. note: so... he's the president of Mexico, yes?] And I talked about how best to be able to expedite the exploration of natural gas in Mexico and transport it up to the United States, so we become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil." now, i may have slept thru that revolution, but when did Mexico become the 51st state? far as i know, it's still a foreign country. granted, one right next door, but still foreign. interesting how mexican immigrants are job-stealing immigrants and a major problem one minute, a convenient source of oil the next.

and then there was the abortion question. Dubbya made my blood boil with his answers. mind you, this is the man who introduced himself in the debate by stating that "[his] passions and [his] vision is to empower Americans to be able to make decisions for themselves in their own lives". mm hm. yeah, right. first of all, you don't have the decency to address this as a woman's issue. no, no - RU486 "will cause more people to have abortions". wrong. it will allow women an alternative method of abortion. women. your mother, your sister, your daughter, your granddaughter, your neighbor. women. there are a lot of us, and we vote, Dubbya. and i don't appreciate you insinuating, with your comment that we need to "promote a culture of life in America", that i would somehow be less a decent citizen should i choose to exercise my for-now-legally-protected right to have an abortion.

your dodge on the supreme court appointees didn't really work either, Shrub. "I don't believe in liberal, activist judges. I believe in -- I believe in strict constructionists. And those are the kind of judges I will appoint ... people who will strictly interpret the Constitution and will not use the bench to wrote social policy." rather facile comment, don't you think? like it or not, the interpretation of law is, in fact, used to write social policy. and you want to reverse some of the current rights and policies.

then there's foreign events and policies. did you notice that Dubbya stammered, then didn't refer to the Russian president by name? i was sitting there on the sofa yelling 'Putin! His name is Putin, you schmuck!' and throwing many soft cat toys at the screen.

gore's response to that was easily the most interesting part of the exchange for me; pointing out that there are more complexities to the situation than just asking the big boys to play on your side did show gore has a better grasp on current issues and diplomacy, at least in that case. and Shrub's response? "Well, obviously we wouldn't use the Russians if they didn't agree with our answer." and i'm taking my toys out of the sandbox and going home!

poor Bushie-poo seemed to be tiring towards the end of the debate; at least that's the only explanation i have for this gem of an answer to 'how would you handle a crisis?' "Well, I've been standing up to big Hollywood, big trial lawyers -- what was the question? It was about emergencies, wasn't it?". now, if i were feeling charitable, that could be classed as a rather ingenuous slam at Gore. but really, Bush just sounded dumb and lost to me.

i swear, if i heard the phrases "iron-clad lock box" or "Washington fuzzy math" one more time, i was gonna scream. you would think that our two fine candidates would have been a bit more creative, or less redundant, in the space of 90 minutes. don't tell me about your mother's medication, or swear to defend Winifred's damn poodle, or that you love your wife. ultimately, i want to know what you'll do with the economy, and arts, and education, and welfare, and foreign policy. by the end of the debate (which wasn't really set up as a debate, altho it degenerated into one when they refused to play by the rules that they set up), i just felt as if i'd been bludgeoned over the head with terrible advertisements and stupid slogans, and not that i'd heard two potential leaders of the US elucidate clearly their stand on various issues.

pardon me, while i go gargle a little mouthwash to deal with the bitterness...

and now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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