Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Don't blame me for your hangover

Tomorrow night, we will have the first of three Presidential debates. I use the term loosely, because they are orchestrated from start to finish to actually prevent any actual debating from going on. Candidates will actually be prohibited from asking each other questions. So this will be less of a give-and-take of ideas, and more of a joint press conference with preprepared speeches.

In that vein, I give you the Presidential Debate Drinking Game:

  • Whenever "terrorism" or "terror" is mentioned, drink.
No, strike that. We don't want any alcoholic comas. Start over.
  • If the War in Iraq is conflated with the "War on Terror," drink.
  • If Saddam Hussein is mentioned, drink.
  • If Saddam Hussein is refered to as a "dictator," "terrorist," or we are told America is safer without him in power, drink twice.
  • If Bush implies that 9/11 is related to Iraq, drink three times.
  • Someone remembers that Afghanistan exists, drink.
  • Either candidate avoids directly answering the question, drink.
  • Bush mispronouces "nuclear," drink.
  • Kerry gets longwinded, drink.
  • FOX annouces Bush as the winner before the night is over, finish your drink.

That's all I can think of right now.

This debate is about foreign policy and international issues, which means it will be wholly about Iraq. Not about Afghanistan, which basically did attack us, but Iraq. That worries me. Paul Krugman wrote an editorial in the NYT not long ago talking about a book that suggested people are unwilling to believe a wartime leader is weak, regardless of what the facts say. (I have had a blog entry on this topic forming in my head for some time now. I'll get around to it eventually.) And that's what worries me. If he's right , I'm not sure Bush really can "lose" this debate. He will just have to act tough, mouth some strong-sounding platitudes and he's got it made. Unless Kerry has photographs of Bush, himself, sodmomizing prisoners in Abu Ghraib or maybe Cheney accepting envelopes of money from someone in a Halliburton T-shirt, I think Bush has this one already wrapped up.

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