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Thursday, September 30, 2004

No winner. Six billion losers.

I just watched the debate. Since I could not have gone into it with any lower expectations than I did, for either candidate, I guess I was relatively impressed. Kerry did about as well as possibly could have given the utter untenability of his "position" on Iraq, and Bush, while as always utterly wrong on everything, demonstrated more knowledge than I thought he possessed. The most impressive and depressing thing, I'd say, was the apparent sincerity of Bush--he certainly comes across as actually believing the nonsense he says. Unfortunately, that is probably enough to convince lots of voters who don't know the facts.

I'll have to review the transcript, but there were several times when I thought Kerry made great points, and actually stated them fairly clearly and concisely. Most of these, I think, were when he was attacking Bush's positions, rather than defending his own. Of course, that's a much easier job.

Still, plenty of gigantic inconsistencies from both candidates, at the very core, which should have eliminated them from contention long ago. Both are certifiably insane if they really think that they can "win" in Iraq. Hearing Bush, once again, talk about how Saddam wouldn't disarm, even though we know that he had disarmed years earlier. Hearing Kerry try to argue that we should have but shouldn't have gone into Iraq, with more troops but without diverting from Afghanistan, because it was or wasn't a mistake for Bush to do what Kerry had been calling for for years...

One promise from each candidate sure to be broken if he wins: Kerry's statement that he would commit to not retaining bases in Iraq long-term, and Bush's promise that the military will remain all volunteer (which, with stop-loss orders and ready reserve callups, it isn't even now). Bush's lie will be readily apparent sometime next year if he wins; Kerry's lie will only gradually become visible over time, as the bases in Iraq become as permanent as the bases in Okinawa and Germany and Italy. Even in the likely event of the ultimate end of most of the occupation, it seems pretty certain that the US will hold on to one or two heavily-defended bases somewhere in Iraq indefinitely.

There wasn't much funny about the debate; I guess the funniest to me from these slim pickings was when they were talking about nuclear proliferation (always a knee-slapper). Bush, of course, said "nukular," while Kerry correctly said "nuclear." Ever the modern journalist, Jim Lehrer in his follow-up seemed to say something like "newcaleer," sort of a compromise between the two.