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September 30, 2004

Ah, the Debates

Debates... I don't know. You'll hear a whole lot of analysis, but if nothing else during the past four years, President Bush has helped me to learn one thing about myself, and it's something that is probably true for more people than not: I'm too eager for my guy to come out swinging, when knocking down the other guy relentlessly doesn't really win the room. The debater who lists the most unsubstantiated facts and/or who most effectively belittles his opponent may win the debate, but it just may be that the other guy is taking a broader view of the performance: not as a competition, but as a discrete, contrived event amid the rest of life.

When the President spends almost half of his allotted time answering a question about his opponent's character by complimenting him, and then the opponent tries to tiptoe around actually returning the favor without seeming like a jerk, people notice. Kerry's response was almost comical. Something like: "I, too, think very highly of... the President's daughters. And I have a great deal of respect for... the President's wife."

A politician's supporters always want the quick jibe, the killer line, but the reality is that the process of filling the presidency is less a structured intellectual match than a popularity contest. And it is this point of politics — of life — that President Bush has schooled me on again and again. In this debate, he came across as a good guy. He drew his opponent not into rants and raves, but into uncomfortable efforts to claim the good mantle without actually reciprocating goodness. He out-gooded him.

Which brings up a major disagreement that I have with the professional commentators. You'll hear repeatedly over the next hours and days that the President looked too tired and impatient, that Kerry knew how to tweek him in ways that stung, and that Bush let the sting show on his face. What I saw in those looks — and (more importantly) what drew the only comment from my non-political wife throughout the entire debate — was the difficulty of standing there and listening to the other guy say bent and spun things to put you down.

Bush's looks said to me that, with so much of importance going on in the world, he was almost pained that politics must always be politics. With a set of issues involving so many variables and life-and-death decisions, soundbite summaries of the opponent's missing context would be futile.

"That's not what a Commander in Chief does," he said over and over. He's "working hard" to strike the difficult balance — as crystallized in his comments about Vladamir Putin — between diplomacy and action. At one point he even said something to the effect of: "That's just not how the world works." You don't lead by giving those whom you would seek to lead a veto over actions that are necessary for you but perhaps less so for them.

From the other angle, you don't lead by insulting any players, large or small. One point that I, as a non-candidate, would have loved for Bush to make could have come when Kerry essentially said that diplomacy means giving reluctant parties what they want in order to get them onboard. The President could have noted that buying off allies isn't so easy when they've got billions of dollars invested in the government that you're planning to overthrow. Unfortunately, the guy who's actually in office, at the moment, must worry about how his comments in the debate will affect real-world diplomacy.

My bottom line review: Kerry did much better than I expected, particularly in asserting that his positions have been consistent. But Bush, no matter how many people say he "succeeded by not losing," won beyond the game.

(Oh, and watch for ads in the near future that draw on Kerry's performance in ways that might be unexpected. Bush also looked like a guy setting out for a particular task, and his confidence in finishing answers with time still available toward the end suggests that he thought the job done.)

ADDENDUM:
Here's Kerry's response on the character question, although the transcript doesn't convey the comedic timing of his pauses after "acknowledge" and "admiration":

KERRY: Well, first of all, I appreciate enormously the personal comments the president just made. And I share them with him. I think only if you're doing this -- and he's done it more than I have in terms of the presidency -- can you begin to get a sense of what it means to your families. And it's tough. And so I acknowledge that his daughters -- I've watched them.

KERRY: I've chuckled a few times at some of their comments.

(LAUGHTER)

And...

BUSH: I'm trying to put a leash on them.

(LAUGHTER)

KERRY: Well, I know. I've learned not to do that.

(LAUGHTER)

And I have great respect and admiration for his wife. I think she's a terrific person...

BUSH: Thank you.

KERRY: ... and a great first lady

ADDENDUM II:
The RNC's already rolling with the first reaction to something that President Bush drew out of Kerry by being so cordial.

Posted by Justin Katz at September 30, 2004 11:30 PM
Politics
Comments

The pattern I saw in Bush was that he stuck to two principles in everything he said:

First, Bush refused to be negative. Lehrer tried to lure him into attacking Kerry, but Bush wouldn't do it. This didn't seem like a debating tactic so much as a product of being president for four years. Bush seems to take his job too seriously to waste time on being mean. He sounds more like the CEO of a major corporation than a politician---which is one of his major strengths.

Kerry wasn't mean, but he was certainly negative. Granted, that's hard to avoid when you're challenging the encumbent. And Kerry tried to present his negativity as cheerfully as possible, always saying "I can do better" instead of "Bush did a bad job." But Kerry's overall despairing tone reminded me of Carter. I heard lots of Cold War defeatism.

Second, Bush refused to talk about the past, while Kerry obsessed about it. Kerry told stories about the Cuban Missile Crisis and an adventure in post-Cold War Russia. He dropped some references to Vietnam. And his major theme was how the decision to go to war was wrong, even though now we have to win it.

Bush doesn't care about the past, because the president's job is about the future. In his mind, the past is only relevant to the extent is helps determine a future course of action. That's the mindset I want in a president. When the president must make an urgent and difficult decision, I don't want him re-telling some story about Charles DeGaulle.

I got the feeling the Bush is so deeply enthralled in his job at the country's CEO that he has half-forgotten that he must play politics. He knows the job that must be done, and he knows that he'll do that job much better than Kerry. That truth is so close to him that he has trouble remembering that others don't understand it. This was especially evident in the spat over bilateral versus multilateral talks with North Korea. Bush knew beyond question that what Kerry was saying was utter nonsense, but he didn't have enough perspective to quickly see how confusing that narrow issue would be the general public, and then formulate a concise explanation.

Very few speakers could have manufactured a metaphor on the spot (and under such pressure), but a better speaker would have said: "I know from four years of diplomatic experience that bilateral talks would be a disaster, but that's a very technical issue that we don't need to dwell on right now. I'll explain in more detail on my web site, georgebush.com." Bush should have prepared a ready response for any detail-heavy wonky tar pits like that.

I'm glad Bill Clinton isn't running for president, because he could have danced circles around Bush. But Kerry is trying to hold together several contradictions, e.g.

Kerry says we need more allies, but Bush was wrong to 'outsource' the capture of OBL, our current allies aren't helping enough, and Alawi is a puppet.

Kerry has a plan, plan, plan, plan, plan for doing everything better. What's the plan? To do everything better. And to provide leadership. And credibility. And to have a plan.

Maybe a third theme: Bush's answers were more focused and conceptual, while Kerry's were more scattered and detailed. The worst of Kerry's tried to tie together a bizarre scattering of topics in a single two-minute bite of 382 words. Even a student of politics like myself had trouble following this:

Q to Kerry: What would you do better?
$500 million to Iraq for police officers
Bush is cutting the COPs program (whatever that is)
Bush is opening firehouses in Iraq
But closing firehouses in America
Firehouses are first responders
Bush gives no money at home for tunnels, bridges, and subways
This is why the subway was shut down in NY during the Republican convention
95% of containers in Florida aren't inspected.
Aircraft cargo holds are not x-rayed. Be afraid.
Bush gave a tax cut to the wealthy instead of investing in homeland security.
Kerry will fix the COPs program and our firehouses.
He will also protect nuclear and chemical plants.
Bush did something sinister involving chemical plants and safety.
Bush isn't finding loose nuclear material fast enough. Kerry will do it faster.

Looking back at the transcript, Kerry seems more and more like Carter. He's obviously a bright guy, and he thinks in masses of detail. But he's a defeatist at core; he isn't a leader. He has a very small perspective, and doesn't understand how someone with less detail mastery could do a better job.

What matters in these debates is not what political junkies think. We already know how we'll vote. What matters is how these debates affect the undecided. Bush's message was simpler, if artlessly delivered. If anybody's message stuck with the undecided, it was Bush's.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at October 1, 2004 1:52 AM

Interesting and well thought out perspectives, but clearly slanted from a bias on the right. Just as some others I have seen have reflected a biased summary on the left. The middle ground of things is that Kerry did a good job of pointing out the Bush was being disingenuous with respect to all the flip-flop characterizations. He needed to show that he could deliver straightforward answers, and for the most part he did.

Bush stuck to his message throughout and worked on the tactic of repetition, which advertisers will tell you is very important.

Each man stuck pretty well to his strategy. Neither partisan side will be able to honestly or accurately assess how well their guy appealed to the middle. As an example, on this site, you talk about Kerry trying to hold together contradictions and list things which are not contradictory when looked at under a microscope. On a left leaning site, President Bush is describe as looking "annoyed, impatient, and gassy" in the cutaways. He wanders off topic and can't even fill his time. The partisans are stuck behind their red or blue colored glasses and can't see with clarity.

The long and short of it is that most of the undecideds are that way because they don't like the status quo and are looking for some reason to feel good about switching. Last night won't make many people move out of the middle, but it will interest them enough to watch the next debate.

Posted by: Brian Weissman at October 1, 2004 2:16 PM

Brian,

Thank you for commenting.

I think you go a bit far in your concrete categorization of undecideds. For one thing, because you're discussing debates, you're already restricting the "undecided" category to "people who care enough to watch a debate." There are also undecideds who just don't (for a variety of reasons) have a full understanding of their options in this election.

Even adjusting for that, however, I think you lump too many disparate groups together by declaring that undecides are people who wish to move toward Kerry but are hesitant to do so. It is just as likely that any given undecided has been pulled from Bush by all of the rhetoric, ranging from the MSM to Michael Moore, but are willing to be persuaded that the instilled doubts are groundless. For these folks, I think last night would clearly have been a Bush victory.

Finally, I kinda resent some of your phrasing, even as I agree with much of the intended meaning. Even were my commenters and I entirely in the thrall of President Bush, why is it that we wouldn't be able to honestly assess the middle? Accurately, perhaps not, but honestly? You presume too much.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 1, 2004 3:59 PM

Brian: "[O]n this site, you talk about Kerry trying to hold together contradictions and list things which are not contradictory when looked at under a microscope."

Maybe you could explain this to me. The central contradictions I see are on the allies:

Bush made the point over and over: We have lots of allies, but Kerry is making fun of them. So Kerry's plan is to get more allies. (So he can make fun of them, too?) But Bush shouldn't have used allies to capture OBL---that was 'outsourcing,' which was wrong.

Kerry talked all about what a disaster Iraq is, how many of our men are getting killed over there, how much it's costing, etc. He also has a plan to get our troops out of there faster. His plan is also to bring in lots of allies. How does that voice mail message sound, exactly?

BEEP "Jacque, hey we're losing men constantly over there in Iraq. It looks bad. It's costing us too much money. It's eroding my political support. I really need your help here, buddy.

"I was wondering if you could send some of your voters over there to get killed for a while. You know, balance things out. Also, could you chip in some money? We've already thrown too much down that rat-hole, and we want out. I already called Gerhard, but haven't heard back from him yet. Call me and let me know what you think." BEEP

I'm not trying to be mean here. I just sincerely do not understand how this is not a mass of contradiction. Which allies should we have that we don't yet have? France and Germany have made it clear that they won't send troops if Kerry wins. They aren't stupid. Where are the tens of thousands of soldiers that Kerry expects some ally to produce? We are the largest economy on Earth with the largest military on Earth. Of course we're shouldering most of the burden!

I don't expect you to agree that these are contradictions, Brian. But can you at least see why I might think them to be contradictions? If so, please unravel them for me under your microscope. I would love to better understand the liberal position.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at October 1, 2004 4:33 PM

What about the contradiction that N.Korea needs bi-lateral talks (really meaning unilateral - US and them) but Kerry has been complaining since January that the US has been too unilatleral wrt Iraq. Not only does Kerry's NK plan seem contradictory, it sounds awfully inappropriate for someone so intent on building bridges with others to exclude the very countries (SK, China, Japan) that have most at stake w/ NK.

Posted by: c matt at October 1, 2004 5:53 PM

The dynamic is quite simple - Kerry only has negative responses. He can criticize Bush, but he doesn't offer any realistic or concrete alternatives. Brian makes the point that there are people who aren't satisfied with the status quo. There are plenty of Republicans that are uneasy with Bush, or with the status quo, but they aren't going to vote for Kerry, because he has nothing to offer but negativity and defeatism, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

Many people have pointed out that when Bill Clinton won in 1992, he attacked Bush's record, but he also offered an optimistic vision of his own (plus he had a lot more charisma than Kerry does). Kerry simply cannot win by solely saying that Bush has made mistakes. The only way he can significantly change the dynamic of the race is if he clearly outperforms Bush in the other two debates (whether you think he 'won' this one or not, its obvious it wasn't a knockout). Probably even then he would need Bush to make some major mistakes, and/or have Iraq turn very sour very quickly.

I also would like to make the comment, which others have made, that I think this overemphasis on 'undecideds' is a little ridiculous. If you're undecided, you haven't been paying attention, and if you haven't been paying attention, I don't put much credence in your judgement. This idea that fence-sitting, or vacillating, while striking a pose of considered judgement, is somehow morally or intellectually superior is a crock. It may be human nature, but that doesn't mean we should lionize it.

Posted by: Mike S. at October 1, 2004 9:39 PM

Mike:

You're so right about "undecideds", that overly-washed demographic with the pose of neutrality and discrimination.

I think, also, that polls tap into this conceit, and cannot be adjusted for the urge to give the "right" answer, the one that flatters the subject.

The concept and mechanism of a Secret Ballot is one of the most direct (and also cynical, in a Madisonian kind of way) features of a democracy. Your vote isn't only protected from outside influences, it's protected from the dishonesty of your Public Self. Polls undermine this.

Posted by: Rhod at October 2, 2004 8:50 AM

Had a quick opportunity to check-in and decided to comment.

Regarding ‘the liberal view’ on the war that Ben wants to understand, John Kerry’s position does not represent the liberal view; it represents the opposing view.

Tony Blair represents the most liberal party in Britain. Many of the allies supporting the US in Iraq is led my more liberal governments than the Bush administration. Patrick Buchanan is very conservative and against the war. The bottom line is that the decision whether or not to go to war with Iraq is not based on any straight forward conservative vs. liberal ideology. I still contend that if circumstances were the same and a Democrat were in the White House, that Republican leaders and pundits would be counting up the costs in lives and dollars just as the Democrats are now. What we are seeing in the Kerry campaign is not ideological, it is oppositional.

Having said that, I do agree with Ben that Kerry’s position is not tenable. He wants to oppose the Iraq in each and every way – apparently hoping to gain the support of everyone who opposes Bush. He wants to win he support of the Deaniacs – to bring the troops home now. He wants to win the support of those who feel we should increase the number of troops (that’d be me). He wants to win the support of those who felt we should not have gone to war without more allies. As Ben said, he wants to have it not both ways but in every way and has proven that he’ll say anything to be elected. He refuses to concede one vote

All Kerry is doing is attacking the current state of the war but has yet to deliver a coherent statement as to what he would have done differently. The allies argument only is effective assuming Bush made no effort to appeal to other countries – and anyone following this at all knows that is false.

Ben also said that if Bill Clinton were in that debate, he would have devoured Bush. I agree with that completely and I bet we’d agree that that is a very sad statement on the state of political culture in this country. It is more about style than substance.

Posted by: Mark Miller at October 2, 2004 11:52 AM

Sorry to post and not stick around for the replies earlier. Let me see if I can address the questions posed to me.

Justin wrote:
"Finally, I kinda resent some of your phrasing, even as I agree with much of the intended meaning. Even were my commenters and I entirely in the thrall of President Bush, why is it that we wouldn't be able to honestly assess the middle? Accurately, perhaps not, but honestly? You presume too much."

A fair statement. I was a little too careless with my phrasing. I did not mean that anyone who had espoused a point of view would be unable to be honest. When I wrote, I was thinking more of the extreme ideologues on either side. And I do think it is fair to say that these people would be unable to be honest, as they cannot be honest with themselves.

I don't presume to know th readership of this blog. This was my first visit and I sought to present an alternative viewpoint.

With respect to my comments on the undecideds, it's probably true that some of them were pulled away from Bush by things they have seen in the news or from left slanted attacks. Can we agree that anyone in the undecided camp has an uneasiness about both of the major candidates? That being the case, I'm not sure how you can say that Bush leaning people in the middle would be able to call their fears groundless just from seeing that debate.

Additionally, I don't lump all undecideds into people who care enought to watch the debates. There has also been extensive news coverage of the debates. I'm assuming that a subset of the undecideds who did not watch the debate will have read news about the debate. And they will be influenced by accounts of each man's performance. A subset of these will be influenced enough to watch the next debate. That is what I was trying to suggest the impact would be.

Posted by: Brian Weissman at October 3, 2004 12:45 PM

Ben,

Let me see if I can explain why I don't see these stances as contradictions.

However, in your statement:

"I don't expect you to agree that these are contradictions, Brian. But can you at least see why I might think them to be contradictions? If so, please unravel them for me under your microscope. I would love to better understand the liberal position."

I can see where they could appear as contradictions and will do my best to unravel them. That said, you will have to look elsewhere for the liberal POV. I'm a moderate and don't specifically vote on party lines. In fact, I frequently find myself agreeing with a friend who is a self-avowed conservative. I'd say he is slightly right of center and I am slightly left of center. I will disclose that I am no fan of President Bush's, but I am also not excited about the prospect of voting for Kerry.

First point from Ben:
"Bush made the point over and over: We have lots of allies, but Kerry is making fun of them. So Kerry's plan is to get more allies. (So he can make fun of them, too?) But Bush shouldn't have used allies to capture OBL---that was 'outsourcing,' which was wrong."

Kerry did not make fun of the allies. He pointed out that, with respect to Iraq, the alliances are often little more than token support. It is a coalition in name only. He even listed the troop counts of the countries that came after the U.S. and Britain to show the sharp contrast. He pointed out that we have shouldered 90% of the casualties and 90% of the cost. That is not mocking an ally. That is trying to present the reality of the situation.

My take on Kerry's stance is that he wants to have a larger coalition of countries and greater representation from each. He would also allow these countries greater input into the process.

This does not contradict the outsourcing comment about OBL because of how he described who the task was outsourced to. Here are Kerry's words:

"With the American military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best trained troops in the world to go kill the world's number one criminal and terrorist.

They outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, who only a week earlier had been on the other side fighting against us, neither of whom trusted each other."

A contradiction would be that he wants more countries to help in Iraq but doesn't want other countries to helf in Afghanistan. He wants help in both places, but thought it a bad idea that we handed off the capture of public enemy number one to a group with questionable allegiances. I'm not saying I agree. I'm just explaining the position.

Second point from Ben:
"Kerry talked all about what a disaster Iraq is, how many of our men are getting killed over there, how much it's costing, etc. He also has a plan to get our troops out of there faster. His plan is also to bring in lots of allies."

I didn't quote the voice mail bit because I took that as tongue-in-cheek. As to bringing in more allies, Germany, France, Russia, and China would all be big boosts to the effort. Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt and Jordan would also be beneficial. He'd also be looking for greater contributions from current coalition members.

All of the above would be a tough sell, but it would be easier for a new administration versus and administration that has already strained alliances. And France and Germany may refuse to aid a U.S. reconstruction, but go along with an U.N. led one. Kerry has talked about getting the U.N. involved in the reconstruction efforts.

So, they aren't contradictions, but they aren't slam dunk predictions either. But neither man is really making slam dunk predictions, so I don't think we can fault Kerry for that.

Posted by: Brian Weissman at October 3, 2004 1:44 PM

Mark,

Kerry has said what he would have done differently. He said he would not have gone to war without a stronger coalition. He also said he would have listened to the adivce of his generals prior to the war regarding troop requirements. And he would have made sure he had a plan for winning the peace before going to war. That said, what he would have done differently doesn't matter at this point because he can't go back and do it differently. What matters is what the two of them would do going forward.

Kerry has made some proposals about what he would do, but there is no evidence pro or con as to how effective these would be. President Bush wants to stay the course. There is no evidence pro or con on whether this will work, but the news from the ground is not encouraging.

I agree with you on the whole style versus substance issue, but I don't think Kerry has the style market cornered. Bush has a carefully crafted "plain folks" image. That's his style. And it works for him. After the debate, I heard an undecided voter being interviewed. I don't have the exact quote, so this is a paraphrase. "Kerry did a better job, but he's still not the kind of guy you invite to a barbeque." So, this voter felt Kerry came out on top in the debate, but sounds to be leaning toward Bush, because he's a more regular guy. He acknowledged Kerry's substance, but liked Bush's style.

BTW - I'm really not a liberal. Throw some far left positions up so I can knock them down! :)

Posted by: Brian Weissman at October 3, 2004 1:55 PM

"As to bringing in more allies, Germany, France, Russia, and China would all be big boosts to the effort. Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt and Jordan would also be beneficial."

This depends entirely on precisely what these countries would do. I see no evidence that the simple act of having them support the war effort would be beneficial. It would only be helpful if all the countries were roughly on the same page - but the more countries you involve, the more unlikely it is that everyone will be on the same page.

Also, FWIW, Jordan is being moderately helpful already.

"All of the above would be a tough sell, but it would be easier for a new administration versus and administration that has already strained alliances. And France and Germany may refuse to aid a U.S. reconstruction, but go along with an U.N. led one. Kerry has talked about getting the U.N. involved in the reconstruction efforts."

This is the common liberal cant, but it defies reality (if not gravity). The idea that governments make major decisions about foreign policy based upon their personal like/dislike of the administration of other countries is ludicrous. They base their decisions on their perceived national interests, just like the U.S. does. Nobody has ever argued that it would not be better if everyone was supportive of a particular action. The question is, what do you do when everyone is not supportive? What if our national interests diverge from France and Germany's? Then what? Kerry's attitude is that he will talk and talk and talk until all our interests are in harmony, then take action. Guess what? The situations where our interests are in complete harmony with other nations, especially where military action is required, are extremely rare.

If you can provide evidence that having the UN involved in any activity, let alone a military one, is beneficial, I'd like to see it.

Posted by: Mike S. at October 4, 2004 10:50 AM

"My take on Kerry's stance is that he wants to have a larger coalition of countries and greater representation from each. He would also allow these countries greater input into the process."

That take is 9/10 - we are living in a post-9/11 world now. You're welcome to join us anytime.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/10/03/do0301.xml

"A contradiction would be that he wants more countries to help in Iraq but doesn't want other countries to helf in Afghanistan. He wants help in both places, but thought it a bad idea that we handed off the capture of public enemy number one to a group with questionable allegiances."

This whole claim is bogus - we didn't have enough troops their to go after bin Laden with only U.S. troops. We only had SO forces, whose purpose was to organize and support local forces, and airpower. The reason this is so is because Bush decided that we would be much better off if we acted quickly, rather than waiting months to stage a traditional land invasion.

Posted by: Mike S. at October 4, 2004 12:19 PM

Brian,

Good to see a more moderate voice here. (I know I'll be ripped for that ...)

But I'm going to quickly defend Ben here.

I don't believe Kerry has ever clearly said that we should not have gone to war with Iraq because of a lack of allied support. He has pointed out that we are shouldering much of the cost and casualties, which is true. He has said that Bush failed in getting more allies. Also true. But all that is pointing out realities without taking a stand. The reality is that the number of allies would be no different regardless of who was President. The contention that Bush made no effort to get allied support is false. So the question is what would Kerry have done. If he would have not attacked Iraq without full support of the UN, then he should come out and be clear about that. If you think he has, I respectively disagree.

He also said he would have listened to the advice of his generals prior to the war regarding troop requirements.
------ This a another example of using hindsight to make an argument. The reality is that, at the time, most military leaders agreed on the amount of troops needed in Iraq. Your are contending that the military told Bush we needed more troops and Bush said 'no'. I don't buy that. It is true that the administration underestimated the insurgency in Iraq but so did the generals that the administration consulted with.

And he would have made sure he had a plan for winning the peace before going to war.
------ A plan for winning the peace ... what exactly does that mean ? You hear this every time something goes wrong. Like a football game where a team loses you hear "they didn't have a plan". And the leaders who got us into Vietnam didn't have a plan. The reality is that everyone has a plan until something goes wrong. Bush did have a plan assuming everything went according to it. Obviously, it hasn't gone that way. That in no way implies that there was no plan.

Kerry has made some proposals about what he would do.
------ Other than getting more allies (which is not a reality), I have not heard any.

Finally, I didn't mean to say that Kerry had style whereas Bush did not. It was more of a rip on his rhetoric that when looked at closely, does not really mean anything. Of course all people of all ideologies and/or political affiliation have been guilty of that - for the simple reason that it's effective. And that is what is sad to me.

BTW - I'm really not a liberal. Throw some far left positions up so I can knock them down!
---- Here's my recent favorite: You can only change the world with love, not bombs.

Posted by: Mark Miller at October 4, 2004 12:20 PM

Brian,

Here is a far left position you can knock down -
pick any major thesis from Fahrenheit 911, or really, any that Michael Moore has stated.

Posted by: smmtheory at October 4, 2004 1:22 PM

Awww, and I was so looking forward to seeing Brian Weissman bashing Fahrenheit 711 or Michael Moore(on).

Posted by: smmtheory at October 8, 2004 2:01 PM