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Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Debates, Pt 3

As many of you are aware, I don't really know anything. I tend to harp on this fact a lot when people try to get mad at me for knowing things - like, "no, really, you have to stop at crosswalks." I don't think that it's fair to expect a lot of knowledge. So when I think something is totally wrong, usually a presidential candidate should know. On the other hand, until four years ago, I was under the impression that a presidential candidate should be able to read. So a few things from the debates which bothered me:

Bob: Senator, I want to set the stage for this discussion by asking the question that I think hangs over all of our politics today and is probably on the minds of many people watching this debate tonight. And that is will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?

Correct answer: "Sweet jesus I hope not." If the world is ever on the brink of being obliterated in a rain of fire again, i would categorize that as "backsliding." The world that "we" (by which they mean "old people") grew up in was the world of Hitler, Vietnam, and the Cuban missile crisis. I think we're overstating the danger that terrorism actually poses to American life.

Mr. Bush Gosh, I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden.

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

Just sayin'.

Mr. Bush Bob, we relied upon a company out of England to provide about half of the flu vaccines for the United States citizens and it turned out that the vaccine they were producing was contaminated. And so we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country.


We have a problem with litigation in the United States of America. Vaccine manufacturers are worried about getting sued and so therefore they have backed off from providing this kind of vaccine.

If they're producing contaminated vaccines, can someone tell me why they shouldn't be sued? English companies can be sued, too, Bush. Providing more legal protection to American companies who create suspect drugs incentivizes them to... um... "skimp" on safety checks. Thanks for protecting us against Canadian drugs, but trying to undercut our right to sue our own companies!

Mr. Bush Whew! Let me start with the Pell grants. In his last litany of misstatements he said we cut Pell grants. We've increased Pell grants by a million students. That's a fact.

Let me put it in a way maybe the president can understand. Let's say you have a delicious pumpkin pie. You have a party with ten of your friends. You can: a) cut the pie into little slivers where everyone barely gets any, but everyone gets pie or b) cut it so six people get a decent slice or c) get a new pie so everyone gets pie! Yes, there are technically a million new students. But there are some things he didn't mention. Like, for example, that he froze or cut the maximum amount for the Pell grants, or that the "million" students that it was increased by were over the strong objection of the White House. Oh, and by the way, Bush invented the internet.

Then comes one of my favorite parts of the debate:
Mr. Schieffer Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

Correct answer: Of course not. Who would choose to be gay in a society where it is okay to openly ridicule their choice and call them an abomination and revoke their civil liberties?

Mr. Bush ...I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live. And that's to be honored. But as we respect someone's rights and as we profess tolerance, we shouldn't change or have to change our basic views on the sanctity of marriage.

Translation: "We should respect their right to live like any other couple, except when it comes to recognition as a valid union, or we have to pay them survivor's benefits."
I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I think it's very important that we protect marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. I proposed a constitutional amendment. The reason I did so was because I was worried that activist judges are actually defining the definition of marriage.

It would be funny if there were some article (III) and section (1) of the constitution which let them restrict courts from legislating in gay marriage. As a Scaliaphiliac, I of course fully endorse the idea that the courts shouldn't be able to do this. But I think he's missing the principle of why we don't want the courts doing it, which is that it undermines legislative processes. A constitutional amendment just makes it so that people can't provide for marriage in their states, even if they all want to. Gay marriage for some, American flags for others?

(Kerry's response to this is pretty good, by the way. Go read it somewhere else.)

Bush, on abortionWhat I'm saying is that as we promote life and promote a culture of life, surely there are ways we can work together to reduce the number of abortions. Continue to promote adoption laws - that's a great alternative to abortion. Continue to fund and promote maternity group homes. I will continue to promote abstinence programs.

Will there be... stairs... in these maternity group homes? And adoption is a great alternative, just so long as the person in question isn't in school, doesn't work, and doesn't have any preexisting medical problems. If you want to get people to give up babies for adoption, maybe you should support something crazy like maternity leave? Also, given that abstainance programs increase the number of abortions required, maybe shut the fuck up?

Mr. Bush [Kerry started his remarks with "Well two leading national news networks have both said the president's characterization of my health care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction, the other called it untrue."] In all due respect, I'm not so sure it - it's credible to quote leading news organizations about - oh, never mind.

"Damnit, why should he get to use... facts... and... news sources..."

Mr. Schieffer Mr. President I want to go back to something Senator Kerry said earlier tonight and ask a follow-up of my own. He said, and this will be a new question to you, he said that you had never said whether you would like to overturn Roe v. Wade. So I'd ask you directly would you like to?
Mr. Bush What he's asking me is will I have a litmus test for my judges. And the answer is no, I will not have a litmus test. I will pick judges who will interpret the Constitution. But I'll have no litmus tests.

Translation: Yes. I hate those grubby poor people getting abortions, and I have family connections to the coathanger industry.

Mr. SchiefferDo you see a need for affirmative action programs or have we moved far enough along that we no longer need to use race and gender as a factor in school admissions and federal and state contracts and so on?

Correct Answer: "Are you kidding me? Come far enough along? If you discount achievement gaps, wage gaps, and the fact of the mass disenfranchisement facing minorities in this country, the answer isn't less help for these groups, it's more."

Mr. Bush Well my biggest disappointment in Washington is how partisan the town is. I had a record of working with Republicans and Democrats as the governor of Texas.

"Bagwell was a staunch republican, and I gotta tell you, Biggio was a lefty liberal democrat, and I got them to play in the same infield!"

Post debate thoughts: You know, at this point, all someone would need to do to win my vote is just say, "Yea, this Social Security thing seemed like a good idea for a while, but seriously, it's gotta go." It's the biggest white elephant ever - nobody can kill it, becuase it would lose you one of the biggest swing groups out there, but you can't do anything with it, becuase it's so expensive and going to balloon out of control even more than it already has. Let's let it go.

cranked out at 8:57 AM | |

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