Free-Floating Hostility

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

No pundit left behind

It's hard to resent the post debate blather-on-a-thon when it comes up with gems like this. Despite Vice President Cheney's assertion that he had never met John Edwards during the debate, the pair had actually met three times. In fact at the prayer breakfast whose picture you'll see all over the place, Cheney even mentioned Edwards by name in his remarks.

It's a crappy little thing, one that I would probably dismiss if the shoe were on the other foot. But it seems the perfect analogy for Cheney's debate performance, which seemed so strong at the time but in the light of day (a beautiful California day, no less) is acutally a piping hot pile of bullshit. Cheney spoke forcefully last night. He answered every Edwards attack by dispassionately distorting the truth at every turn. It's an effective style as you watch because there is no simultaneous fact-checking and you think, "My God, Edwards has no answer for that." This morning I can content myself in the knowledge that he wasn't prepared to debate what was happening in bizzaro Iraq rather than the real one.

Cheney's problem is that he is an ideolouge, which means he knows the answers before he hears the question. When he comes to holes in his reasoning, he just makes facts up. And even things that are objectively good like the elections in Afghanistan are tinged with Florida-like inconsistencies. The desire for good reports out of the Bush-Cheney camp outweighs the desire for true reports. I'll write more about Iraq descending into a pit of hell later.

Anyway, Cheney made one attack that might stick, the one about Howard Dean. On the other hand Edwards's refrain, that the Bush-Cheney administration failed to be "straight with the American people," will have some legs as well. Cheney beat Edwards stylistically, but he didn't score any points against John Kerry. That in the longrun means a victory for the Democrats.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger dodger at October 06, 2004 6:43 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Problem is, the media lay down in front of Cheney's lies.

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at October 06, 2004 8:55 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • You write that Cheney "answered every Edwards attack by dispassionately distorting the truth at every turn." and that's partly true, in that there was plenty of distortion. But what really struck me is how often Cheny simply ignored Edwards's attacks and criticisms--whether it was over his voting record in the House, his recommendation as Secretary of Defense to cut weapons systems, Halliburton, or the question asking specifically about Bremer's comments regarding initial troop deployment, Cheney got away with saying little or nothing in response.

    I'm sure that this was their planned strategy, and I'm afraid that it was pretty effective. By not responding to the charges and getting into a protracted debate over them (there's no debating here, this is the...), he's effectively removing them from the domain of discourse. Plus, yes, he obviously can't respond without lying or looking like an ass.

    Cheney came off as being experienced enough in comparison to Edwards that such a brush off worked; if Bush carries himself the way he did in the first debate, I don't think he'd be able to employ a similar strategy.

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