As today's Post so succinctly puts it, there's nothing left to say, let's have the election. Amen! We learned almost nothing new in last night's debate, although it was a good opportunity for Kerry to come across as (mostly) firm and presidential. But frankly, I just can't spend any more of my life watching the Mr. Bush Goes to Washington routine, where the President delivers incredulous comments like:
BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.
(in answer to who bears responsibility for rising health costs)
BUSH: Gosh, I sure hope it's not the administration.
and my favorite:
BUSH: In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about -- oh, never mind.
At least the President did address the very important issue of jobs, assuring Americans that there's a job waiting for everyone who has "skills for the 21st century" (which I can only assume are: defrauding investors, operating a cash register, folding boxes, or working a Friolator)
After all, President Bush knows our priorities:
"...let me talk about what's really important for the [unemployed]... And that's to make sure the education system works. It's to make sure we raise standards."
With all due respect, Mr. President, I think the average unemployed American worker is a bit more concerned with GETTING A FUCKING JOB. -Emily
I am a bit surprised to see that Kerry is emerging as the popular winner
of last night's debate. Not because I don't think he won, but because Bush seems to get people to think that he did well in debates as long as he manages to get through them without emitting streamers of drool from his mouth or falling asleep.
The first 20 minutes or so of the debate was sort of like the entirety of both of the other debates condensed into pure meaningless sound-bites, but thankfully, things picked up. And did you notice that Kerry did something that neither candidate has done for basically any of the campaign so far? HE MENTIONED THE POOR. Remember them? It might be hard for us to recall that there are actual live poor people living right here in America, since all we've been hearing about for the last year is the middle class. Middle class getting squeezed, middle class values, middle class families, middle class homeowners, college students, blah dee blah. Well, let's think about who needs government services the most. Is it the middle class? Not really. It's the poor that need the government for basic services. The social safety net - remember that?
Here's Kerry talking about issues that matter to the poor, like the minimum wage: "The minimum wage is the lowest minimum wage value it has been in our nation in 50 years. If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years, to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year. The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year. But he doesn't hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire. One percent of America got $89 billion last year in a tax cut. But people working hard, playing by the rules, trying to take care of their kids, family values that we're supposed to value so much in America - I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values and don't value families. What we need to do is raise the minimum wage... Now I think that it is a matter of fundamental right that if we raise the minimum wage 15 million Americans would be positively affected. We'd put money into the hands of people who work hard, who obey the rules, who play for the American dream. And if we did that we'd have more consumption ability in America, which is what we need right now in order to kick our economy into gear. I will fight tooth and nail to pass the minimum wage."
This was also the most Catholic that I've ever seen Kerry present himself. Kerry made a compelling argument for one of the main teachings of traditional Catholicism, the moral responsibility that people have to take care of each other, by talking about fighting for "equality and justice" and fighting poverty, and saying "Faith without works is dead" and quoting from the Bible with this one: "What does it mean my brother to say you have faith if there are no deeds?" (he has used this passage before.) If this doesn't get some Catholic voters to notice that there are other important issues besides abortion and come back to the Democratic party, I don't know what will.
Meanwhile, Bush has the nerve to say that he promotes a "culture of life." If there was a moment for God to smite Bush with the vengeful wrath of righteousness, that was it.
Here's a full transcript. -Amy
Debate by the Numbers
Number of Times Candidates Mentioned:
Al Qaida: Bush 2, Kerry 0
Terror: Bush 6, Kerry 3
Job/jobs: Bush 11, Kerry 30
Health insurance: Bush 0, Kerry 6
Lawsuit/litigation: Bush 4, Kerry 0
No Child Left Behind: Bush 4, Kerry 2
"Gosh": Bush 2, Kerry 0
"Whew!": Bush 1, Kerry 0
"Increase taxes 98 times": Bush 3, Kerry 0
Fiscal Discipline: Bush 0, Kerry 3