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Dem Debate

Didn't see the Democratic debate Tuesday night? Yeah, me neither. But for some perverse reason I read the whole freakin' transcript. You could read it too, but I'll save you some time and just tell you that most of the Q&A goes like this:

Q: Candidate X, what do you think about apples?

A: Well, that's a good question. But another good question is, "What kind of audience reaction will I get to this unrelated but guaranteed laughter-and-applause-getting bumpersticker slogan?"

[Laughter]

[Applause]

But to address your question. The thing we all need to remember is that apples have cores. And the core issue facing Americans today is oranges. But when it comes to oranges, the Bush administration has completely failed to ... [remainder of time spent discussing oranges, apples never again mentioned]

Also, if you saw last week's debate or have seen the candidates on talk shows, you've pretty much heard everything they said during the debate. The participants were given 60 seconds to respond to questions, and, in nearly every case, they would spend the first 15 segueing from the actual question to some related issue that they already had a prepared response to, and the last 45 delivering their boilerplate rhetoric. Gephardt repeated his "miserable failure" bit a few more times; Howard Dean's closing statement was a paragraph that I'd heard almost verbatim at his rally; when asked what their favorite songs were, most candidates just picked their campaign theme. Memo to John Edwards: Dude, nobody's favorite song is John Cougar Mellencamp's, "Small Town."

(The journalist who asked the "what is your favorite song" question prefaced it by saying "this is for the Gen X crowd". Hey, nice job there, using my entire generation as justification for your industry's obsession with irrelevant and trivial hoohaw.)

Best exchange of the night:

Q: Frankly there's been some concern that because of the racial makeup of Vermont, about 0.5 percent black, that you will have a difficult time connecting and really understanding the concerns of minorities, in particular African Americans.

Dean: Well, if the percent of minorities that's in your state has anything to do with how you can connect with African American voters, then Trent Lott would be Martin Luther King.

Second best exchange of the night:
Q: [Some guy] recently said that the way that the Democratic candidates are talking about President Bush and this administration amounts to hate language. And I wonder if you would agree that this is hateful, demagogic talk about the president of the United States.

Sharpton: It doesn't matter if it is Republican or Democrat. If they're wrong, we can call them out, not out of hate but out of love for justice and what's good for the American people.

Can I get an amen? Well, I probably can't. But Sharpton sure can when he's in full-on rhetoric mode. Sharpton had a lot of great lines, actually. He has about as much a chance of becoming president as I do of becoming a gold medalist in the luge, but they should let him participate in all the debates, even the Republican ones.

Of course, these aren't really "debates" right now anyhow, not in the sense of there being any actual discussion of the issues. With nine people on stage, the best they can do it toss out broad questions and allow each person the opportunity to cough up some soundbites and catchphrases. And with some 70% of the populace unable to name a single democratic candidate, these debates are more American Idol than anything else: each contestation is belting out a few verses of a popular tune not to win, but just in the hope of making any impression whatsoever on the judges.

Posted on September 10, 2003 to Politics





Comments

One good thing about the whole California recall debacle being so widely ridiculed is that at least people can name a few of the candidates...

Posted by: Stella on September 11, 2003 10:25 AM

Typo, second paragraph from the end. Sounds like a problem Wolverine might have. Honey, be careful... I've got a sharp-on.

Posted by: the kiosk on September 11, 2003 10:28 AM

Another thing. You really need to start by setting reasonable goals. Don't go in against world-class lugers your first time out, trying to snare that gold medal before you've paid your dues. Start small -- race against a dead weight, like eight sacks of flour, or better yet, a cadaver. Once you can beat that time, you'll have conquered your primary enemy: fear. Trust me, it's a feeling like no other.

Posted by: the kiosk on September 11, 2003 10:34 AM

And really, all you can hope for is that no one will make a comment about how you look in the spandex body suit.

The analogy to a reality show is totally appropriate in this context, since we get to vote them off the island. Luckily for us, we don't have to see them naked first.

Posted by: minion on September 11, 2003 11:40 AM

Well 've seen the yeti in a spandex body suit, and let me tell ya, he looks good. Well, except for the hair...

Posted by: Windopaene on September 11, 2003 1:45 PM

I didn't see the debate you're referring to, but I did watch the whole PBS/Telemundo debate. And my conclusion is that we should just rank them all in order of how badly they can mangle the Spanish language, and then vote by that.

Wait... that would leave Bush President...

Posted by: Dugrless on September 11, 2003 2:18 PM

Beautiful example, with the oranges. Beautiful.

Posted by: Rob Cockerham on September 11, 2003 9:18 PM

I'm kinda commenting on the 9/11 thingy, but there's no comment option. this applies to politics... I'm not going on a rant though.

When the whole thing happened two years ago, I was cynical. All of my friends were cynical. I mean, we knew about past decisions made by the government that pretty much determined the event. We were also amused, in an incredibly desturbed way, by the superficiality of the media coverage. Not only this, but I live in Canada, and as much as I am truely sorry for those who lost their lives, I don't understand why my yearbook from school taht year had several pages of pictures of the two towers coming down. Maybe I'm just incredibly insensitive...

So, about a year later we had 'rememberance day', which is like veterans day, only the point of it is to remember that war is a bad thing and that we should never have war again, and our principle decided that we should have a moment of silence, not only for those who died in war, but also the 9/11 people. Fair enough. Our vice principle, who was generally regarded by students and teachers to be a noodle-brained turd, didn't have his speakers. He interrupted right in the middle of the moment of silence to call someone down to the office.

what a noodle-brained turd.

Posted by: pippi on September 11, 2003 10:24 PM

hoohaw!...
Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob'ly die in a small town
Oh, those small communities
All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity
Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic that's me
But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
Now she's small town just like me
No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who's in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that's good enough for me
Well I was born in a small town
And I can breath in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me

Posted by: riaa on September 12, 2003 6:56 AM

Tawana real president?

Posted by: Beerzie Boy on September 12, 2003 8:28 AM