A FEW CHANGES TO THIS POST. Altered or added text is in blue.
James Wolcott describes this debate as pitting “President Pet Goat against knight of woeful countenance, John Kerry.” I am gonna so totally steal both of those names.
You don’t get to call it a town hall meeting if its members were chosen by Gallup.
Kerry says he likes the Patriot Act, just not how Ashcroft uses it. That’s not point. The powers available to the government should not be so far-reaching that it matters who the attorney general is. Ashcroft hasn’t abused the powers he was given by the Patriot Act (although he has abused others of his powers), he used them.
Bush says again we had to look at the world differently after 9/11. The other day I saw a book titled “Moral Philosophy After 9/11.” My reaction was that if it’s changed by 9/11 it’s either not philosophy or not moral (I didn’t look inside the book).
Bush: sanctions were not working, the UN not effective in removing Saddam Hussein. Kerry correctly says what I was starting to type, that the objective of the UN was removing WMDs, not removing Saddam. The UN doesn’t get to decide which national leaders are legitimate.
Bush’s tactic seems to be to say the same crap he’s said before, but more vehemently. And then to nod his head vigorously once or twice afterwards--what’s that about?
Bush says the decision to “take Saddam out” was unpopular. I think he means with Europeans. No, on reading the transcript, I can't tell who it was unpopular with, unless "taking Saddam out" mean taking him out on a date...
Also, dissing Arafat was unpopular. I think he means with Palestinians.
Kerry finally challenges the Bush line that his job in the war is to do what the generals tell him (“Of course, I listen to our generals. That's what a president does.”).
Bush called the Internet the “Internets.” Remember his father and checkout scanners?
And then he says that wars can be fought with fewer soldiers, using technology. Technology which is just sorcery to Bush.
Bush: it’s a long, long war. Now he tells us.
Bush: we’ll talk about the tax cut in a minute. Funny, I thought they didn’t know the questions in advance. Of course, what he’s saying is that he’ll talk about tax cuts no matter what the question is.
When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it won’t kill you. Oh, he means to make sure it doesn’t come from the Third World, where drugs by definition are made out of snails, rhino horns, aardvark feces and arsenic.
You can tell he’s in the South, because he just referred to the Yew-nited States Congress.
Bush says Kerry is “running for the president.” The word is presidency, moron. How could you hold the office and not know that? Also, I could swear I heard him call Kerry “Kennedy” earlier. I did.
Bush: “I don’t think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all.” Also, “I really don't think your rights are being watered down.” Yeah, they're not being watered down, they're being pissed on. And Kerry says we shouldn’t let terrorists change the Constitution. Um, ok.
On stem cells, Shrub says he made the decision to balance science and ethics. Like he thinks science is inherently unethical.
Bush says he wouldn’t appoint a Supreme Court justice who would uphold Dred Scott. Fair to say that Dred Scott won’t be coming up for reconsideration any time soon, but best to be prepared. Or ban “under God” from the pledge of allegiance. Oddly, he insists that those decisions must have derived from personal opinion rather than constitutional interpretation.
Kerry: “It’s never quite as simple as the president would have you believe.”
Asked to give three instances where he made mistakes--and calling for 3 was a wonderful touch--Bush evades. I think that’s a mistake, so to speak, because he’s demonstrated yet again his inability to acknowledge error. He does say some of his appointments were wrong, but he won’t say which ones because he doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. Oh brother.