October 4, 2004
The BuzzFlash Mailbag
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not necessarily those of BuzzFlash. Read the BuzzFlash FAQ for info on submitting to the Mailbag.
Subject: Most W-Damaging Debate Moment
In my view, the most potentially damaging moment in the debate for Bush came after Kerry finished answering a question about what he would do differently on homeland security. Kerry listed a number of priorities: addressing exposed subway systems, tunnels, and bridges; checking airplane cargo holds and shipping containers; improving security at chemical plants, and securing loose nuclear materials in other countries that might otherwise end up in the hands of terrorists.
Here are the opening words of Bush's response (per NYT transcript): "I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap and - anyway, that's for another debate."
What is this if not an admission that Bush's fiscal priorities *tax cuts aimed overwhelmingly for the richest* are an obsession, trumping even expenditures necessary to address what security experts (including the 9/11 Commission) say are our most urgent vulnerabilities to another massive terrorist attack?
Subject: Kerry won the debate, and will win on Nov. 2nd
Kerry definitely won last night's debate. He articulated a concise plan
of action for Iraq and the war on terror. Contrast that with President
Bush's stumbles when trying to defend his record. On Bush's watch 3000
people died September 11, 2001, North Korea has developed nuclear weapons,
Iran is about to acquire nuclear weapons, and our international standing
is at an all time low. An example of Bush's disconnect from reality:
Bush mentioned Poland as a member of his "coalition" in Iraq, so he must
have forgotten when the Polish President, Aleksander Kwasniewski, said
in March of this year: ""They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction,
that's true. We were taken for a ride."
Subject: Presidential Debate
Last night's presidential debate amazed me. As someone who wouldn't normally write to the media--I feel compelled to share my thoughts after watching President Bush and Senator Kerry debate foreign policy yesterday.
John Kerry shared a stage last night with the leader of the free world--and put to rest any doubt as to whether he can be "Presidential."
I was amazed by the split-screen format--as George W. Bush appeared angry and flippant at times while Kerry was speaking. This seemed "unpresidential" to me--especially for a man whose campaign is based on his resolute, strong, leadership. President Bush struck me as amateurish last night--in his facial expressions and body language when Kerry was speaking--not like an incumbent "war president' should act.
Bush's behavior may have been OK in the debates in 2000 when Al Gore was ripping off obscure numbers about Social Security--but it was completely inappropriate last night when discussing the future of American troops and lives.
I don't see how the debate last night was anything but a net-positive for John Kerry, and I think him to be more qualified to serve as commander-in-chief than I did before watching. I also have strong doubts as to exactly what President Bush plans to do in Iraq. Repeatedly calling it "hard work" doesn't reassure me as an American that Bush knows what he's doing in this volatile situation. Well, I've given my two cents---thanks for your time and I hope my opinions are considered.
Subject: Kerry Won Debate--October Surprise Now Guaranteed
John Kerry pulverized Bush on Thursday night. This now absolutely guarantees that Osama bin Laden will be "captured" this October.
Donald P. Russo
Subject: the latest torture victim....logic...with props to Josh Marshall
(Paraphrasing Josh Marshall): The president's major attack on Kerry throughout the debate was his claim that Kerry's criticism of the president's own war policy made Kerry unfit to be president.
(The very best their fake could come up with: if you criticize me, you're letting the troops down.)
And on the structure of the president's thinking: The point isn't whether he's made mistakes or screwed things up. But saying he has is bad. Denial. Refusal to see what's happening.
Or simply a refusal to be candid with the American people, again.
The overarching result of the debate from my perspective is that John Kerry laid out very clearly that the US will not exercise any long-term military interest in Iraq, whereas the President entirely sidestepped the issue of what he intends to do in the future with respect to our military in Iraq and elsewhere. This same deception by omission, or bait and switch, is how he wound up planning to invade Iraq shortly after he was elected the last time, and well prior to 9/11, despite his last campaign slogan which went along the lines that said he eschews "nation building." ("Eschew" might be my word rather than the sprout's.) Plans were in effect since the spring of 2001 to invade Iraq. We know this.
The silence last night that suggests that he now has no further plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq, regardless of the intervening consequences to our National Security. His true aims must be guessed at between the sound bytes and spin bolstering the president's remarks, but don't think for a minute that this isn't the administration's policy and plan. They just refuse to say this plainly because they know the American people would ride them out of town on a rail. Instead we get gay marriage as the most crucial issue since the WPA. W's failure to address head on concerning how his Iraq plan may differ from the challenger's is just one more example of the arrogance and intentional scorn directed by this President at the American people and their right to be told the truth in matters as serious as war and life and death. The Rethuglicans just don't get it. Spouting the quaint phrase "mixed messages" doesn't substitute for an honest message and a clear plan of their own.
The choice is clear: Kerry acknowledges that the world views us as having invaded Iraq for the wrong reasons. The manner in which the administration has conducted the war has engendered and exacerbated this view. Simply insisting that world opinion is wrong, while maintaining that we are righteous in all our actions won't solve the problem we are now confronted with in Iraq. This is true even if it may be disheartening to the troops or anyone else. WE are seen as occupiers by everyone except radical extremists here in this country. Only irrational jingoism and hubris suggests that this somehow engenders, rather than endangers, our national security. It is only a fool that would believe that the way to be safer is to alienate as many allies and undecideds as possible. The administration's unilateral efforts have failed. They simply refuse to admit this.
Then contrast that position to the stubbornness in the other direction, leading to equally disastrous results with North Korea. Why multilateral with China, but not with France or Germany? What the hell is this logic? Could this be because the prospect of thieving oil from the Iraqis and war profiteering from the American public is not a consideration in North Korea? There is no bright democratic future for Iraq, and there never was. This was never even given as a justification for the war in the first place. That the President could stand there now justifying the war in this fashion and suggesting that Kerry is unfit to lead for criticizing for it, shows how out of touch with reality the shrub really is. Bring in the UN and further allies for a true multi national force to hold fair elections in the entire country, and then bring ALL of OUR troops home. WE ARE NOT WANTED THERE!!!!! Bush has never said this is what he'll do, and I wouldn't believe him at this late date even if he tried to rectify his failure to speak plainly up until now. Clearly, he has not even bothered to try. The shrub continues to hedge.
You're so great. I haven't even read most of your coverage yet today because I've been busy at work. But I sure look forward to it.
I'm walking on air today! I'm so proud of John Kerry. I'm so totally embarrassed that the man with no IQ is our president. If this country dares to elect him - the world will not forgive us this time - I mean never. Kerry is the debater that they all said he was. Bush behaved like an insolent/idiotic child. This is a man who absolutely cannot tolerate criticism - I mean to the point he's almost psychotic about it. Here he was for the first time before an audience who were not sworn supporters and wouldn't be cheering for his rhetoric. Welcome to the world, George. His body language was very frightening. He could barely control his temper - and this guy's running the world? Basically, he's got nothing. How many times did he repeat the phrase "you can't say it's the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place"? Why can't you say it if it's true? How many times did he stare blankly at the camera? Kerry let nothing go by. He was so intelligent, composed, presidential. He killed all of their attack lines. I guess they'll go back to the "let's just scare everyone to death with terror threats" mode. It's all they've got. Impending orange alert - want to take bets on when it will start?
By the way, does anyone else think that Bush's facial expressions were reminiscent of Church Lady from SNL? All he needed was the wig and glasses and dress. All I could think of was Dana Carvey as I watched W's mouth twist and contort.
I'll bet in the next debate (hopefully, there will be one!) that Karl Rove will threaten to end the debate if they use the cut away camera shots of the candidates. That just killed Bush. Funny, but 4 years ago they declared Gore the loser because he sweated and sighed. Yep - no more camera shots of the candidate who isn't speaking. But Kerry was just so cool and composed - it was like it was effortless for him - no sweating there! It was a cakewalk - as a famous neocon once said.
I know we haven't won the war yet, but, boy, this changed everything. I can't wait till they debate the economy and healthcare. Iraq was supposed to be Bush's strong point! Oh boy, this'll be fun.
Thanks Buzz - this is a happy day. We don't get too many of them lately. But things may be turning around.
Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I'm sure you did. So congratulations to Kerry and all of his supporters.
Barbara, smiling in NYC
On last night's debate, did anyone else but me see the back of W's suit coat... a bulge with something like a wire going up to his neck? The cameras kept showing the back of W, but not the back of Kerry.
Indian River, Mich.
Subject: Bush Unplugged -- Not a Pretty Sight
I guess the nation saw the real George Bush, without his props, and unscripted, and it was quite a pathetic performance. Finally they saw the two candidates side by side, and there was no comparision, JOHN KERRY was way, way ahead in intelligence, composure, consistency, and so quick on his feet - VERY PRESIDENTIAL. The Bush supporters will continue to be delusional and vote for their candidate, but I am sure that there will be many out there who saw John Kerry for who he really is, and be quite impressed. He did not let his supporters down, and I was really proud of him.
I was amazed at the positive reviews JK received from the media, even the commentators at Faux News grudgingly agreed that JK had done well, and even criticized Bush's weak performance. Wonder's never cease....!
The big question now is, will there be this red level terror alert, that is sure to derail John Kerry's success? I am fully expecting some distraction from the white house at this point.
Let's keep the momentum going......
Subject: George Bush and Ralph Kramden
Without his handlers and writers to provide him with what to say and how to say it, George W. Bush was helpless up there last night. Send him out there on his own, against an intelligent and masterful adversary, and it's pathetic what we see.
He reminded me of how Ralph Kramden reacted when Alice caught him trying to pull off one of his wild schemes.
Time to send these Honeymooners back to Crawford.
Subject: October Surprise?
Here we go! The Rovian Machine moves into plan B. Their Dear Leader lost the debate to Kerry and it looks like he might lose the election! Time for some terror and fear and hopefully a rally behind our pResident just in time for an election! This guy is so predictable.
Nancy Lynn Nagy
Subject: Presidential Debate
C-SPAN is rebroadcasting last night's debate with both men seen on a split screen. Look at how high they have to raise the podium to make bush appear to be at eye level. This image along with a corrected image would be good to post.
Subject: Proof That Cheney and Rove are President
With Cheney and Rove unable to fit under the podium, in last night's first debate, it only proves more and more that Bush is NOT THE PRESIDENT!! Better check Bush's ears for an earpiece in the next debate, before it starts.
Subject: Bush Diverted from War on Terror
The rush to war in Iraq took the pressure off of Bin Laden and al Qaeda.
In 2002, troops from the 5th Special Forces Group who specialize in the
Middle East were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan
to prepare for their next assignment: Iraq. The CIA, meanwhile, was stretched
badly in its capacity to collect, translate and analyze information coming
from Afghanistan. US Intelligence officials said that as much as half
of the intelligence and special forces assets in Afghanistan and Pakistan
were diverted to support the war in Iraq. [USA Today, 3/29/04; KnightRidder,
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Favorite part of debate
My favorite part of the debate is when Kerry spoke first and Bush didn't know what to do with himself. He was fixing his tie, pursing his lips, raising his eyebrows and resting weight on one leg, then the other. -- Then Bush spoke and Kerry was taking notes and smiling and listening to Bush. -- Then Kerry spoke for the second time and Bush started taking notes, copying Kerry.
By the way, I saw "Going Upriver" which was astoundingly powerful. If you want to know why John Kerry is a man of character, who knows how to speak with moral conviction, you will see where he got some of his debate experience from in the movie.
SUBJECT: Ohio Voter Disenfranchisement
I am really incensed that Ohio's Secretary of State, Blackwell, is working overtime to disenfranchise minority voters in Ohio. He's used three different tactics to achieve his objective, and, without a public call to action (which I have not seen), he will succeed.
I wrote the following letter to Ohio state and U.S. Senators and Congressmen(women) this morning. I'm sure anyone could do a better job, but the point is we all need to flood these people with email, letters, and phone calls to express our outrage before the Republicans steal Ohio. We just can't let that happen.
Subject: Some of Bush's Debate Flim Flam
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: It's hard work
During last night's debate, Bush kept saying how "It's hard work." He kept saying this over and over. It struck me this morning what really bothered me about that. It's like the manager or CEO, who while going out for an afternoon golf game, or late lunch, tells his workers that he needs them to work overtime and on weekends, and he understands the "hard work" they are putting in.
Bush lets everyone else do all the hard work (especially the soldiers in Iraq), and then he spends 40% of his time on vacation, the other 60% apparently on the campaign trail, and very little on his actual job.
It's just like a patronizing CEO to lay on the "we know it's hard work" line.
Bryan in Phoenix
Subject: The Coalition of the Diminishing -- Coalition Members Withdraw!
Thailand: 423 troops leaving early on Aug. 31 instead of Sept. 20; 20
withdrawn on Aug. 10.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Debate Summary
For those who couldn't pay attention for the full 90 minutes of the
debate, here's a summary of Bush's points:
A BuzzFlash Reader
lMSAO!!!!! I commented on this long ago. Yes, it changes color -- and with regularity. Just like Ronnie, he touches it up. That "only your hairdresser knows for sure" won't fly.
And even more amusing, he had a nose job! Honest to God, take a close look at his profile from a couple of years ago, and then look at a more recent picture. No wonder he spends so much time at the Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford. He has to let the swelling go down and the bruising go away! Tsk!
Subject: Bush Flubs Again! How Does He Love Women? Like Ob/Gyn Doctors?
What in the world did Bush mean by this in the debate last night?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Mattel's New Doll
Did anyone notice that plastic ring with the string attached on the back of Dubya in those reverse shots at the debate last night? Every time Karl Rove pulled the ring, Dubya would blurt out one of those pre-recorded sound bites: "We are winning the war on terrorism!" "We must stay the course!" "It's hard work but we're making progress!" "We must not give out mixed messages!" "I support our troops!" "The world is a better place without Saddam!" "First he voted for the 87 Billion then he voted against it." ...ad nauseum. It makes you wonder if Mattel was trying out a new prototype doll named: "Dubya the Prez"!
Michael W. Prah
Subject: There will be changes next debate.
We are going to have to write all the networks about how the split screen gave the feeling of actually being at the debate, because Bush will want to make it against the rules.
By using the split screen we get to see what other world leaders see at the G8 or any of the others. Bush has the attention span and self-control of the average 10 year old.
Kerry just has to continue interjecting things into his answers that he knows people will want Bush to respond to, but he can't.
Subject: Hard Work vs. Working Hard
Eleven times, in ninety-minutes, George W. Bush used the words "hard work" to describe what he has to deal with as President of the United States.
I believe that almost everything the President of the United States has to deal with probably really is hard work. But I think it is reasonable to question just how hard George W. Bush actually works. There is a difference between hard work and actually working hard.
As of August 2003, according to http://ask.yahoo.com, George W. Bush had spent 27% of his time on vacation as President (250 days in less than three years). As of December 1999, Bill Clinton had only taken 152 days of vacation. So, "in barely three years in office, George W. Bush has already taken more vacation than Clinton did in seven years."
In fact, in Bush's first year in office he set the all-time record for the most days on vacation by any president in our nation's history. And we should not forget that he chose to take the longest presidential vacation in 32 years, the entire month of August, right before that tragic day that he references more often than he does the words "hard work."
Ask Yahoo also points out, "George Bush Sr. took all or part of 543 vacation days at Camp David and in Kennebunkport. Ronald Reagan spent 335 days at or en route to his Santa Barbara, California, ranch during his eight years in office. Of recent presidents, Jimmy Carter took the least days off -- only 79 days, which he usually spent at his home in Georgia. That's less than three weeks a year, which is closer to the average American's paid time off of 13 days per year."
On November 2, 2004 Americans have only two choices for President. Either George Bush or John Kerry will win the Presidency -- a vote for any other candidate will be a wasted vote. The record shows that Democrats work harder than Republicans. So I would like to ask undecided voters the same question that The Daily Show 's Samantha Bee asked a group of undecided voters after the Debate. "What the f**k is it going to take for you to make up your mind?"
Brent L. Wilcox
Subject: Dad, am I able to vote? (forwarded to BuzzFlash)
true from one of our visitors (blogspot.com)
Subject: thanks buzzy!
Heading into AZ on Monday to prime the pump a little and meet with a producer from Air America. Will be posting about forty or fifty signs reading "I'm Voting for the Soldier." It'll take the typical Arizona motorist a little time to figure it out, but that's the point: make 'em think. Bush or Kerry, which one of them's the Soldier?
Freeway Free Speech day is Wednesday, October 13th. We have pledges from activists to post signs on the freeways in over fifty cities now... in a week it'll be over a hundred. We'll keep you posted. Don't know if freeway signposting will be what swings the election, but if site traffic is any indication, there'll be about 400,000 people who'll know what to do if those fuckers try to steal it again.
Peace, Thanks Again, and I'll keep you posted.
Subject: Iranian Missle Crisis
Take a close look at the debate clips when Bush talked about Iran's nuclear program. Consider that the Iranian government was watching one of the most feeble, nonsensical and incoherent performances by an American President in history.
"We have a good strategy. I hope it works." "We already put on sanctions. We can't put on any more sanctions." "Foreign ministers are carrying the message to the Mullahs."
Yeah, and the Mullahs are sending a message to Israel: so much as blink at our reactor and we'll strike first. They've publicly stated they don't fear America because we're bogged down in Iraq. And they can 'tweak' the insurgency any time they want to make things worse for us. Iran shows contempt for Bush, and he can't do anything because he blundered prematurely into a glue trap in Iraq. What message does that send to the world?
I doubt the Mullahs were impressed by Bush's squinting, drawling and banging on the podium. They think Bush is easily outmaneuvered. Post 9/11, I fear Iranian nukes more than I would fear Soviet missles in Cuba. When the Iranian crisis comes to a head, Bush will bungle it just like he bungled Iraq.
Subject: How can the Rove say those lies?
I was reading the BuzzFlash story about how Karl Rove lied about Kerry's
statements, in an effort to make Kerry look effeminate. One thing I know,
as a heterosexual woman, is that Kerry is not effeminate. I am an expert
on these things. I think Kerry and Edwards, and of course General (killer
smile) Clark are three damned good looking guys, and none of them is
effeminate, but since Karl Rove is pissing in his pants over the way
George (I keep my daughters on a leash) Bush crumbled during the debates,
Rove has no other option other than to smear Kerry with whatever lie
he can. Poor Bushie boy. He can't talk without a teleprompter in his
ear or cue cards in front of him. I am sick of Bush talking about "hard
work" in his job. He is on vacation almost half the time. What a drunken
Please do a piece on the fact that Bush said that "Free nations don't execute people," Thursday night in the debates. This coming from a man who presided over 100 executions while governor of Texas. This guy is unreal and a true danger to the world not just the USA. Thanks and keep up the great work.
[BuzzFlash Note: He said: "It is hard work. It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. It's hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off, or executed, to a place where people are free." --http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2004a.html]
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