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September 29, 2004 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Al Gore on tomorrow's Bush-Kerry duel: The debate tomorrow should not seek to discover which candidate would be more fun to have a beer with. As Jon Stewart of the "The Daily Show'' nicely put in 2000, "I want my president to be the designated driver.''
posted by CunningLinguist (37 comments total)

 
Reminds me of ... "This election the decision is especially difficult because it pits a sitting president who started a war in order to find things that don't exist, versus an ugly guy. I don't think I'm alone in saying I'm not totally comfortable with either choice. " (From here)
posted by seanyboy at 5:46 AM on September 29, 2004


Having a beer with GW would be hilarious.. "Hey George, beer? What? You're an alcoholic and you don't drink anymore? Come on, don't try and fool me with that line, no grown man falls off a bike face first like that. Come on , bottoms up, I want to hear what you really think of your dad."
posted by Space Coyote at 5:47 AM on September 29, 2004


Anyone know of any way to view/listen online? I'd be willing to stay up until (or get up at) silly o'clock GMT to listen. Not just so I can play the Presidential Debate drinking game, either (Chicago Tribune log-in: drgwandsp; passwerd: calzephyr).
posted by nthdegx at 5:57 AM on September 29, 2004


I imagine Mr. Bush is a bipolar drunk : sometimes a gregarious, amusing frat boy and sometimes an avatar of that vicious, punitive God which arises with the assumed prerogatives of power.

Do Americans want a designated driver ? - Yes, some do : many though, perhaps from a lack of true adventure and joy in their lives, may be inclining towards a careening, exhilarating one way joyride to hell.
posted by troutfishing at 5:58 AM on September 29, 2004


Dunno how the debate will be , but apparently..

A 32-page document approved by the campaigns of President Bush and Sen. John Kerry stipulates the rules of the presidential debates, including the places, times and topics.

A coin toss will determine who answers first; candidates are not to approach each other except to shake hands at the start; each candidate can use his own makeup artist; and no props, notes, charts, diagrams or other writings can be used during the debates. Candidates may, however, take notes -- on the type of paper of their choosing. The agreement also includes how the candidates will be told that the response time is up. Timing lights will flash when there are 30 seconds, 15 seconds and five seconds remaining. An audible cue will then sound, and the moderator will step in.

So if anybody got a link to the debate rules document, it would be interesting..I'm looking around, but so far only controversy by networks saying they wanna do what damn pleases them, expecially when it comes to cameras.
posted by elpapacito at 6:04 AM on September 29, 2004


Try cspan.org for live debate coverage.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:06 AM on September 29, 2004


Thanks cunning , here's the debate rules [PDF]
posted by elpapacito at 6:10 AM on September 29, 2004


Thanks, CunningLinguist.
posted by nthdegx at 6:14 AM on September 29, 2004


It's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh.
posted by acrobat at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2004




If the "who's the best drinking buddy" debate runs out of gas, you could always debate who looks best in drag.
posted by orange swan at 6:30 AM on September 29, 2004


Can't they just arm wrestle instead? Then Kerry would definitely win.
posted by jonmc at 6:46 AM on September 29, 2004


orange swan, this is great! I'd go for Edwards anytime!
posted by acrobat at 6:49 AM on September 29, 2004


orange swan: cathy and kathie '04!
posted by pxe2000 at 6:52 AM on September 29, 2004


Oooo, the awesome James Fallows piece from the Atlantic about Bush and Kerry's debating history is now online for free. It's very long but fascinating.

Darnit, this is what should be on the front page.

I barely recognized Cheney!
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:56 AM on September 29, 2004


this is what should be on the front page.
posted by dhoyt at 7:20 AM on September 29, 2004


I saw an interesting review of some of the other presidential debates, Gore sighing, Bush Sr. checking his watch, Nixon looking like a ghoul while Kennedy was shiny and pretty.

Bush's team knows that the debate is just the background noise for getting more soundbites out there and pulling some stunt to make Kerry look inept.

I hope, beyond hope, that the Democrats are prepared on all fronts for this battle. And I hope Kerry wipes the mat with Bush's crushed soul afterwards.

Oh yeah, and Kerry needs to maybe just mention once the Vietnam stuff and then leave it alone and keep to current events. And smile!
posted by fenriq at 7:35 AM on September 29, 2004


Interesting article CunningLinguist - thanks for posting it.
posted by rks404 at 8:04 AM on September 29, 2004


One of the points Fallows makes is that, barring Ford and Poland, no recent presidential debate has been won on the substance of what was said, but on how it was said.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:05 AM on September 29, 2004


My predictions:

Kerry will come out swinging.

Bush will be competant.

The next day people will say that Kerry was too aggresive and, because of lowered expectations, people will say Bush did great.

Outcome: No change in the polls or Kerry loses votes to Nader.
posted by Mick at 8:15 AM on September 29, 2004


The bush campaign strategy is to say they won no matter what, and to load the cable news broadcasts with so many pundits repeating that Bush won that it will sound like a concensus. No one in 2000 said decisively that Bush had won the first debate, that only creeped into the background noise after a couple of days.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:21 AM on September 29, 2004


The sooner people stop calling these dual press conferences "debates", the sooner they may actually have one.
posted by RavinDave at 8:41 AM on September 29, 2004


Even if Kerry cleans Bush's clock in the debates, would it really matter? People who listened to the Kennedy-Nixon debate on the radio, as opposed to those who watched it on TV, said that Nixon mopped up the floor with that young upstart from Massachusetts. I recall a Mondale-Reagan debate which, to my surprise at the time, Mondale seemed to come off better. But is debating skill really any way to pick a president?
posted by alumshubby at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2004


The bush campaign strategy is to say they won no matter what, and to load the cable news broadcasts with so many pundits repeating that Bush won that it will sound like a concensus.

That exact statement fits the kerry campaign just as well as the bush campaign. That's how it works. That's the strategy for both camps. No difference. Le's not pretend there is one.
posted by justgary at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2004


they should do debate like I did debate: long speeches of positions, followed by several minutes of candidate-to-candidate cross examination, followed by rebuttals. What we'll see tomorrow is just soundbite following soundbite, and it will accomplish nothing unless Bush melts down completely.
posted by norm at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2004


Unfortunately, with pre-determined scripted questions, no chance for follow up, and instructions to cut the mic of the questioner who deviates from the script, all we are going to get are the same soundbites we've been hearing for the last year.
posted by archimago at 9:10 AM on September 29, 2004


justgary: Except Bush is already president, and the media always reports what the administration says as something near truth as long they don't express any uncertainty about it, because to disagree would be calling a standing president a liar. There's a book from Spinsanity.com called "All the President's Spin" that's all about that.
posted by abcde at 9:27 AM on September 29, 2004


Just as the Kennedy/Nixon debates were overshadowed by Nixon's beard stubble, lip sweat and bad lighting, I'm afraid we're gonna be hearing endless teasing about Kerry's new orange hue.

Hope they can pancake that out.
posted by RavinDave at 9:43 AM on September 29, 2004


Al Gore? This Op-Ed should be entitled "How to Lose a Debate to George Bush." Gore's plan for an "honest contest of ideas" without rhetorical trickery is noble, but he should know Bush better than that. Besides, hasn't the Kerry campaign already demonstrated that undecided voters have no interest in ideas? They want strength of character, cult of personality, and -- umm -- free handjobs.

Here's what Kerry needs to do. Hear me out; hear me out. He has to draw on the wisdom he learned in the hockey rink instead of the coaching he got in debate club. He should be looking for the first opportunity to take a "good penalty." With Bush's tendency to lose his cool when he's directly confronted (recall the meltdown in the 2000 S. Carolina GOP debate), Kerry should be looking for one well-timed opportunity to break the non-confrontation rule of the debate.

Or maybe when Bush is delivering his closing speech ("Iraq is the battleground of Freedom, America is safer now, the world is safer now, but the terrorists are all around us, we must keep fighting, they hate our Freedom, yadda yadda."), Kerry could just give him a hard crosscheck into the podium.

Damn NHL lockout. Politics just isn't dirty enough for me.
posted by eatitlive at 10:04 AM on September 29, 2004


i think mick and space coyote nailed it. bush has already won the debates. they were showing some footage of the bush-ann richards debate on tv this morning (news 8 austin), and bush was doing some of the same things gore did in the 2000 debate: sighing, smirking and rolling his eyes while his opponent spoke. but the news anchor was presenting this as evidence of bush's strength in debates. gore does it, and he gets ripped to shreds.

similarly, if bush is aggressive tomorrow, it'll be presented as evidence of how strong and resolute he is. if kerry is aggressive, he's being pushy. if bush is not aggressive, it'll be evidence of how he's respectful, calm, and assured. if kerry is not aggressive, it's evidence of how soft, meek, and weak he is. if bush fails to answer questions, it'll be evidence of his ability to control the conversation. if kerry fails to answer questions, it'll be proof of how he's a flip flopper or some shit like that.

i expect we'll hear a lot from bush about how saddam was a threat and how he won't hesitate to defend this country or ask for permission from the u.n. kerry will talk about the economy and the lack of a plan in iraq. immediately following the debates, the pundits will marvel over bush's ability to stay on message and deride kerry for "being all over the place and not presenting a clear message to america about who he is."

gotta love american politics! and this is what we want to export to -- or force upon -- the rest of the world?...
posted by lord_wolf at 10:21 AM on September 29, 2004


Those he imagine Kerry will waltz over Bush should really read "The Note" today -- particularly the part where Kerry stumbles and stammers over a predictable question from Diane Sawyer. He can't afford to drone on six parantheticals deep in his usual style, qualifying each statement with an escape clause if he expects to shake that "flip-flop" meme.
posted by RavinDave at 10:45 AM on September 29, 2004


Anybody see Jon Stewart last night? Ralph Reed (Bush campaign's southeast coordinator) sat down in the guest chair and Jon Stewart's first words to him were: "Lower my expectations." And RR took a deep breath and began to recite a highly scripted disparagement of Bush's debating skills, followed by a worshipful evaluation of Kerry's. While Jon Steward smirked.

I used to feel sorry for the people who got all their public affairs info from the Daily Show. Now I'm thinking it's reasonable. Everybody but JS just plays along...
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:58 AM on September 29, 2004


I think the moral of the debate restrictions is that Bush is a big, stupid chicken.


Buh-KAWK!

(/campaign ad I'd like to see.)
posted by norm at 11:49 AM on September 29, 2004


gotta love american politics! and this is what we want to export to -- or force upon -- the rest of the world?...

Actually, there's plenty of places around the world with far worse political situations than we have.

The nation is basically cut down the middle, and Kerry can win. This whole "we can't win because the media and pundits are against us" is laughable.
posted by justgary at 11:54 AM on September 29, 2004


This whole "we can't win because the media and pundits are against us" is laughable.

i can't speak for other people in this "we," but that's not what i was saying. i was saying that bush has already won the debates, not the election. in any event, it's just as unwise to ignore the effect of media and pundit bias as it is to hold that it's the whole enchilada.

Actually, there's plenty of places around the world with far worse political situations than we have.

and there are some places with better political situations and there are places where people get fed far less bullshit from their politicians and their media. i don't understand why you seem to have interpreted my head-shaking at the state of things in america as evidence of ignorance of worse situations in the world on my part.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:14 PM on September 29, 2004


i was saying that bush has already won the debates, not the election. in any event, it's just as unwise to ignore the effect of media and pundit bias as it is to hold that it's the whole enchilada.

And I'm disagreeing. Sure, the media and pundits have an effect, but to ignore that there are media/pundits who lean left is a little near sighted. I just don't subscribe to this whole right leaning conspiracy.

i don't understand why you seem to have interpreted my head-shaking at the state of things in america as evidence of ignorance of worse situations in the world on my part.

Never said you were ignorant, just pointing out it could be worse.
posted by justgary at 2:44 PM on September 29, 2004


The sooner people stop calling these dual press conferences "debates", the sooner they may actually have one.

Wait a minute. Are you saying that I'm not going to be able to get out my legal pad and flow-diagram this thing?

Or, in other words, yer darn tootin'.
posted by weston at 8:16 PM on September 29, 2004


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