"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Debate Club

There are many conservatives fretting today about the president's performance in the first debate last night (or "debates"; everyone I talk to seems to be using the plural).

It doesn't really matter that Bush lost on style points or that he missed opportunities to counterattack. The bottom line is that Kerry's positions on Iraq are incoherent and irreconcilable.

The debate was a big topic of conversation at work today, and my co-workers felt there were no surprises--the candidates simply presented the views that should be familiar to anyone who follows the news. I suppose it was instructive for anyone who up until now has been too busy living his life to really learn the candidates' positions on national security (I say this without disdain; I'm not one of those people who derides others for their lack of curiosity about politics).

Speaking of political conversations in the workplace, a reader contributes this (I have changed names and places to protect the guilty):

OK - now you can tell it's the final weeks of the campaign. The abuse of the sole conservative at [my office] has begun. I go into a (notoriously liberal) colleague's office to ask a completely innocuous, work-related question, and I get attacked, not by him (which was a surprise) but by another one of our (also notoriously liberal but otherwise really nice guy) colleagues, who just then walked into the office.

The second (notoriously liberal and otherwise really nice guy) colleague, named Olaf, starts ranting and raving about what an idiot Bush was last night because he kept spouting off "propagandist bullshit" and "stupid one-liners." Then he says, "It just shows how STUPID the American people are that they are going to re-elect this idiot."

I replied,"That's a heck of a statement, Olaf." Then he flipped out. "I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT ALL ALONG THAT JOE MAN-ON-THE -STREET IS AN IDIOT AND WILL RE-ELECT THAT BUSH BECAUSE OF HIS STUPID SLOGANS!" Olaf, who admits he has only lived in two places, Ann Arbor and Berkeley, got even more angry when I said that he needed to get out in the US more and meet these "idiots" that he says continue to vote for Bush.

He repeated his "I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT..." statement, to which I replied, "Well, sometimes when you're consistent, you can be flat out wrong." That didn't seem to make him settle down at all. Olaf is the same guy who jumped all over me when the Iraq war started, about how an "illegitimate" President Bush was "sending our boys off to get slaughtered" in Iraq.

I can't wait for this election to be over.

I hear ya. By the way, "That didn't seem to make him settle down at all"--priceless.

Sen. Notbush's proposals don't add up or make any sense. The problem is, as the reader's colleague demonstrates, there are plenty of people, some of them smart, who don't really understand that. Stupid slogans and one-liners? I would argue that's Kerry's forte. For example, he says he's going to bring in more allies, but Germany says not one German soldier will set foot in Iraq, and France says it will not change its policies even if Kerry is elected.

(Of course, I have a theory that they would indeed change their policies, just because they are spiteful, cheese-eating, surrender monkeys.)