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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

About Last Night

No, not the 1986 Ed Zwick film with Demi and Rob, we're talking the Veep debate. We had the privilege of having dinner with friends Karin and Brad, and so we were glued for the first hour before having some great eats. What I watched, in light of the previous Thursday Presidential debate, was a vice presidential whipper-snapper being thrashed by the seasoned, polished, and brutally sharp incumbent. Edwards played the role of the inexperienced but sincere trial-lawyer-cum-politician, delivering his lines to the audience as well as the television cameras. Many of his lines were scripted and could have been cued by anyone knowing what Edwards came to do; hammering Dick Cheney on Haliburton, manipulating the country into an unjust war, the administration's lack of honesty, encouraging voters to dump Bush. He failed. Miserably. While polls show a mixed electorate's response to last night, which is nothing but good news for Kerry/Edwards, the vice presidential pretender to the throne attempted to take on Cheney as Cheney wished him to, with the mainstream, glossed-over soundbyte topics that keep ignorant voters attentive but knowledgeable voters unsatiated. What Edwards attempted to do was challenge Jabba the Hutt to a wrestling match. Edwards emphatic claims fell way short of Cheney's calculated, evidence-based, methodical responses. Edwards failed, not because he retorted with his own solid agenda-based offerings but because he did not expose the failed and flailing ideological presuppositions of the neoconservatives that have hi-jacked the administration. What needed to occur last night was David slowly but surely plucking off the Goliath that, in falling, would have crushed George W. Bush's re-election hopes in the process. Edwards needed to address the issue of class warfare being waged by the Republicans in the White House and Congress, the frightening agenda of the right-wing of the GOP mounting an attack on Americans' civil liberties and freedoms in the form of the Patriot Act, constitutional amendments banning recognition of gay civil unions, the Supreme Court's right to rule on cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance, and the GOP's attempts to paint evangelical Christians as a bunch of ignorant tools by scaring them with the outrageous prevarications that Democrats are attempting to ban the Bible in certain states. Edwards also needed to address the issue of consistency: (the only flip-flopping going on here is this particular writer's usage of the semi-colon versus the comma, but we'll leave that to another couch session of fault-finding) the Bush administration has, in fact, never waivered from the claims that al-Qaeda and the Hussein regime were linked; that Saddam Hussein was connected to the attacks of 9/11/2001; that the majority of Americans are benefiting from Bush's tax cuts; that faith-based initiatives do not breech the church/state divide that Thomas Jefferson put in place two hundred years ago; that the U.S. has a worldwide coalition of supporting nations helping evenly handle the Iraq quagmire; that the country is truly better-off than it was before Bush's rise to power. Not only has the administration remained unwaveringly resolute on each of these points, the administration has been on the wrong side of each. These issues will be critical for historians in weighing Bush's legacy and historians will have a field-day with them. The facts are irrefutable and when viewed in light of the needs of the nation as well as the direction it needs to head in the next three generations, posterity will view the Bush administration as a colossal failure and anachronistic in guiding the nation towards further progressive health and well-being. Unfortunately, while the Bushies may succeed in the short-run, historians such as myself will have the last laugh. Loud it will be, as I have the privilege of teaching generations of young Americans just how damaging George Walker Bush was for the success, power, and image of the United States in the early twenty-first century.