October 5, 2004
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The Growl vs. the Grin
I think Matt is probably too busy writing “I ♥ Veronica Mars” in puffy-paint on a sky-blue t-shirt to blog the veep candidate debate, so here I go!
6:01 p.m. PST: The CNN commentators all kinda secretly hope that either Cheney or Edwards will go crazy on air.
6:10 p.m.: Rats, I’m losing interest already.
6:21 p.m.: Cheney just tagged Edwards: you can’t substitute rhetoric for real conviction, he says. I’m getting the sense that the VP would have done a lot better against Kerry than Bush did.
6:28 p.m.: Nice election reality-check from Edwards: “You need more than 35 people to have an election in Cleveland,” he says. (Apparently that’s how many U.N. election supervisors are in Iraq today.)
6:30 p.m.: I think if Cheney could just get away with just rumbling “I have gravitas gravitas gravitas…” he would. He’s really not making arguments, just projecting authority.
6:33 p.m.: Dude, the DEATH STAR just appeared above my post! P.S. We’re not all queer.
6:38 p.m.: Just posted on the WaPo transcript:
CHENEY: Well, Gwen, the 90 percent figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they’ve taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent.
And yet, um, somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better. At all. Perhaps because it’s logically equivalent to: “Yo, but check it, Iraqis are getting mowed down, too.” Gyeahhh.
6:40 p.m.: That whole thing where John Edwards reels off all of Halliburton’s wrongdoings? Wickedly effective. Cheney says (and I paraphrase wildly, of course) “Lies, lies, all lies! Go to factcheck.com!” I think he means factcheck.org, but it’s not responding. Swamped instantly by Cheney’s referral? Is that even possible?
6:42 p.m.: Of course you can tell us a personal story, John.
6:45 p.m.: Cheney (wild paraphase): “I hang out in the Senate all the time. The first time I met you was when I walked on the stage tonight.” It was delivered really well — with a kind of disappointment and regret. Like he once had high hopes for Edwards, but alas. Cheney does that well.
6:46 p.m.: Yeah, remember that thing where Edwards reels off lists of things embarrassing to Cheney? Did I mention it’s wickedly effective?
6:48 p.m.: Cheney on poverty (w.p.): “We need jobs. And to get jobs, we need to make America the best place in the world to do business. And to do that, we need tort reform.” Wait, what?
6:49 p.m.: Ooh, they’re debating in the city with the highest poverty rate in the country. Zow. Edwards is slammin’ with the economic argument. W.p.: “Incomes are down, prices are up, and we’re in Iraq! Dang!”
6:55 p.m.: Cheney making an argument that a lot of people — almost a million — in the top personal income tax bracket are small business owners who run their businesses as sole proprietorships. Thus, a tax increase would hurt their businesses. Not sure if that’s true, but if it is, it may underscore something I’ve long suspected: Responsible fiscal policy should be more nuanced than “tax the hell out of rich people.”
6:56 p.m.: Nice counter-punch from Edwards: Kerry may have voted for tax increases 90-something times, he says, but he voted for tax cuts 600 times. That’s called context, folks.
7:00 p.m.: I’m with Matt. Edwards knows everything. He’s also purty.
7:02 p.m.: Whoah, that was weird. Cheney (w.p.): “Yeahhh I don’t really wanna talk about gay marriage. Next.”
7:05 p.m.: Not sure I’m down with Edwards’ rhetoric here (w.p.): “We’ll reform malpractice law, sure, but… what about little Valerie, who was horrifically injured by a faulty swimming pool? I’m with Valerie, not with the insurance companies.” Yeah yeah yeah. But let’s talk policy, Jo-Ed.
7:11 p.m.: This is really a classic debate: tame, elliptical, boring. I’m appreciating Kerry vs. Bush a lot more in retrospect. And mostly just ‘cause Bush was so weird.
7:14 p.m.: I also ♥ Gwen Ifill. First the veep-cans finish up their AIDS answers and she’s like, “Uh-huh. Thanks for nothing, dudes.” (She said it with her eyes.) Now a tough question to Edwards (w.p.): “Are you even qualified to be Vice President?”
7:17 p.m.: Have you noticed that J.E. keeps talking up Kerry, but D.C. has barely mentioned Bush? Seriously! It’s weird!
7:19 p.m.: Cheney: “I don’t talk about myself very much.” That scores points with a lot of people, you know. It might even score a few points with me.
7:21 p.m.: See?? Edwards just said “John Kerry” even though it was against the rules!! (Gwen asked them each to make a case for themselves without using their running mate’s name.) And he just did it again! ON PURPOSE! Dude is on-message: Kerry, Kerry, Kerry.
7:27 p.m.: Wait, are half of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans actually dropping out of high school? Sheez.
7:28 p.m.: Debates are so funny. Two incredibly powerful people, but in this context they’re like: “Ooh wait, is it my turn? Are you sure? What? Wait… yeah, okay… no, it’s not my turn? I’ll shut up. Sorry.”
7:29 p.m.: Headline out of the debate: “Cheney vows to ‘work it.’”
7:31 p.m.: To the very last minute, Edwards is campaigning. Contrast to Cheney, who hasn’t seemed particularly interested in this debate at all.
7:33 p.m.: Closing statement. Edwards is painting a picture… a picture of America… with words… I see it… I see the mill! Seriously, I know this is just politico-populo-hypnotism, but I’m still lovin’ it. “I have grown up in the bright light of America, and that light is flickering today. I see it.”
7:36 p.m.: Cheney is talking terrorism. That’s what it’s all about for him. Not terrible. But not a word-picture, either.
7:39 p.m.: Thanks for being with us tonight, Snarketeers. I’m gonna change the channel now before CNN sucks my brain out.