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Lessons From A Loser

29 Sep 2004 by Matthew Linderman

Al Gore’s advice on how to debate W (NY Times). One of the lines of attack he recommends: “…if the Bush administration has been so thoroughly wrong on absolutely everything it predicted about Iraq, with the horrible consequences that have followed, should it be trusted with another four years?”

51 comments so far (Post a Comment)

29 Sep 2004 | Darrel said...

Who else is not looking forward to the debates?

29 Sep 2004 | Realish said...

Color me masochist, but I'm actually looking forward to the debates. What I'm not looking forward too is the mind-bendingly trivial post-debate analysis by pundits (he was sweating! he sighed! he looked at his watch!) and the aggressive spinning sure to follow.

In 2000, immediately after the debates, majorities in every poll tought Gore had won (and really, wasn't that obvious?). Chris Matthews said he thought Gore "cleaned the other guy's clock." But then, after several days of Republican spinning, there's Matthews, obsessively rerunning the tape and analyzing Gore's allegedly heavy make-up. Soon enough, the conventional wisdom was that Bush won. In other words, the right didn't win the debate, they won the post-debate spin -- which is sadly more important these days.

Read about the process here.

29 Sep 2004 | Darrel said...

In other words, the right didn't win the debate, they won the post-debate spin -- which is sadly more important these days.

What's frustrating is that I don't see Kerry's side understanding this fact. They constantly try and rebutt Bush's comments, when that doesn't can't effectively rebutt spin. Kerry needs to simply ignore Bush during the debate and simply talk to those of us he wants to vote for him.

But I know that won't happen. *sigh*

29 Sep 2004 | pb said...

The real problem is that Kerry is not a very inspiring candidate.

29 Sep 2004 | Darrel said...

There are a lot of real problems this election. ;o)

29 Sep 2004 | indi said...

Well at least Kerry is tanned ready and rested. I guess he's going for the no makeup look of natural virility.

Actually Kerry is supposed to be a good debater, but the rules both sides have agreed to are so restrictive as to make the debates more like simultaneous press conferences. I suspect if Bush just doesn't screw up he'll be depicted as having won the debates no matter what Kerry does.

And yeah, I'll be watching too :-)

30 Sep 2004 | Jake Walker said...

I thought Gore won the last election?

30 Sep 2004 | indi said...

Sure Gore won ... keep telling yourself that.

Feel better now?

30 Sep 2004 | lisa said...

i look forward to seeing kerry's orange tan!

30 Sep 2004 | David Erwin said...

Gore did win the election, he just lost the post-election spin.

30 Sep 2004 | p8 said...

So the tan thing is pre-debate spin?

30 Sep 2004 | Paperhead said...

Gore did win the election, he just lost the post-election spin.


30 Sep 2004 | Paperhead said...

BTW, about those debates.

30 Sep 2004 | Don Schenck said...

I like what Rush Limbaugh is calling this so-called debate: "Joint press conference".

About right. *sigh*

30 Sep 2004 | Gene said...

If Bush wins I'm moving to Canada...

30 Sep 2004 | RMCox said...

Wait, another thread where a guy who used cocaine is arguing with a guy who's a flip-flopper?!

It's obvious that these debates have had the life sucked out of them. Everything to spin has been spun, and it will again. There's good bits in there for Kerry, good bits for Bush. The same media that can be used to manipulate our desires to choose one product over another is being used here too. Coke or Pepsi. Mac or PC. Maybe instead of debates they should do a taste-test. On sheets of paper write out each candidates record and proposed future plans without a name attached, then have the people pick based on that.

30 Sep 2004 | Paperhead said...


They already did.


BTW, about that flip-flopping

30 Sep 2004 | JOhn KErry said...

John Kerry, August 9th:
On Friday, Bush challenged Kerry to answer whether he would support the war "knowing what we know now" about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction that U.S. and British officials were certain were there. In response, Kerry said: "Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have."

John Kerry, September 29th:
"We should not have gone into Iraq knowing today what we know," Kerry told ABC. "Knowing there was no imminent threat to America, knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction, knowing there was no connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, I would not have voted to support war."

30 Sep 2004 | Paperhead said...

I really wonder where the clarity is around here these days you know.

In the first quote from August, Kerry is clearly talking about the vote to give the president the power to take the country to war. This is NOT the same thing as Kerry voting to go to war. Here, I'll give you the quote from Kerry in the Senate

"Let there be no doubt or confusion...I will support a multilateral effort to disarm [Hussein] by force, if we ever exhaust those other options as the president has promised. But I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible."

In the second quote he states that he thinks the USA should not have gone into Iraq, not that the President shouldn't have had the authority.

Essentially it hinges on this: Bush promised to exhaust all other possibilities before engaging in a multilateral invasion of Iraq, but 1) he didn't exhaust all of the options, and 2) he engaged in a unilateral invasion of Iraq.

Bush lied.

30 Sep 2004 | Eamon said...

You do know there's a difference between giving the authority to go to war and supporting the move to go war, right?

Anyway, this flip-flop charge is the silliest thing ever. All politicians flip-flop. It's not like President Bush is Mr. Rock Steady.

Back on topic, I'm looking forward to the joint press conference. I'd rather a true town-hall debate, but I'll take what I can get.

30 Sep 2004 | Darrel said...

I like what Rush Limbaugh is calling this so-called debate: "Joint press conference".

Whoa. I'm pretty sure Rush didn't coin that, but what the hell? I'm agreeing with something he said? Yikes. ;o)

Paperhead, people like 'JOhn KErry' are the very people that Bush knows are incredibly easy to influence with soundbites. What bothers me about Kerry is that he seems to be competing with Bush to target those same folks. Which he simply can not do.

I guess I already said this, but I wish Kerry would talk to the other half of the voters directly and just ignore Bush's club.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that joint press releases is actually the way to go. Have the Fox News camera pointed a Bush and some other network pointed at Kerry. I want to hear Kerry without him wasting his breath on silly rebuttals regarding Vietnam or his ability to change his opinions on things as the facts and circumstances surrounding them change.

30 Sep 2004 | creamcitian said...

did he lose?

30 Sep 2004 | tstone said...

How is it that whenever an election comes around liberals by the droves (especially actors) state that they are going to move out of the U.S. if the Republican canidate wins.

But they never do...they stick around. I say go already!

01 Oct 2004 | Gene said...

Hey, I'm neither a liberal or an actor... And you mean to tell me your not afraid of what might happen in or to our country if Bush is re-elected? C'mon, do you really want the government reading your email and checking which books you take home from the public library? We all saw what happens in a pre-cognitive goverment (thanks to Hollywood) and it aint pretty... I say, where's my flippin plane ticket, oh wait, it's still not safe to fly... shoot, maybe i'll just walk my ass to Canada... GRRRRRR..... At least they got Neil Young....

01 Oct 2004 | Gene said...

And if this is what Liberal means:

1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

Then hell yes, I guess i'm liberal...

And for contrast:

1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.


01 Oct 2004 | indi said...

Well let me be the first to comment that Kerry had a great showing while Bush was a bit defensive and repetitive. Kerry did a good job of making stretches and distortions sound like the truth while Bush did a poor job of seizing the many opportunities Kerry handed him. If Bush was prepared, it was probably for a different John Kerry.

01 Oct 2004 | JH said...

"Joint press conference" is straight out of series 4 of 'The West Wing'. I only mention it since we got it on DVD in the UK and I saw it last night...

01 Oct 2004 | Paperhead said...

*waits for complaints about the left-wing bias of dictionaries*

01 Oct 2004 | Darrel said...

This is what I got out of the debate:

Bush thinks war is good and Poland is a great buddy country.

Kerry thinks war is bad and that Pottery Barn makes you buy something if you break it.

They both think that voters are that simplistic in forming their opinions on who to vote for.

They're probably right.


02 Oct 2004 | Don Schenck said...

Here's what I got:

Kerry, near the end, stated "The President and I both love this country very much ...".

I believe him. I like to believe that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats want to harm this country. Both sides have children, and they, as good parents and good human beings, want nothing but good for their country.

I take heart in that. I won't flee the country, no matter who is elected. If it gets that bad, I'll stay and fight.

Thomas Jefferson would be proud of me.

07 Oct 2004 | Lawrence said...

Well, there's the problem - Bush nor Kerry want to harm the US but Bush is having a good go at other parts of the world. It's a shame non-US citizens can't vote as it's not about the US any longer with the approach Bush takes. No one is safe, especially when he attacks other countries without the support of a UN - regardless of how BAD they are. Who is the global sheriff - Bush?

Hussein was bad person, but there are lots of them - many in countries that dont have oil. It was wrong, immoral and arrogant for Bush to think he could clean up Iraq and it didnt work. We dont feel safe with a lunatic in position of power of the (currently) most powerful country in the world.

So, its very frustrating looking at the US situation. The culture of fear has been very successfully fostered by the Bush Administration be afraid - the terrorists will get you well protect you. But he cant terrorists arent conventional armies. They are like the Internet a network of people instead of computers. As one node fails another takes over. The only way to fix the problem is to fix the problem of America. Bush is harming America he is breeding armies of terrorists who (rightly so probably) despise what he and global corporations stand for. What he needs to do is work WITH other cultures and counties, learn about them and cooperate rather than ride roughshod over them and try to impose his will.

I think Kerry would do a much better job he is a diplomat, not a cowboy.

07 Oct 2004 | indi said...

Lawrence, do you not understand the concept of what the islamic jihadists would like to turn this world into? This is not just Bush lying about the terrorists, this is what they proclaim openly on their puppet media outlets and web sites. It's all about death to the infidel -- and anybody who doesn't believe precisely what they believe is the infidel. If we don't stop them now we are looking at the end of life as we know it. No kidding. Maybe the US should not have to be the world's police force, but if other countries can't or, more likely, won't step up to the plate then we will. Remeber the terrorists aren't just moving against the US and Israel. They are also moving against the Phillipines, Russia, Spain, France and more. What before was a slowly growing cancer metastacised and spread with 9/11.

Who knows, maybe I'm living in a fantasy world of paranoia and patriotic delusions of grandeur, but based on the American record last century of turning the tide against tyranny I'd still rather trust us to do the right thing in the long run.

07 Oct 2004 | G. I. said...

Hehe indi, nice try. You just forgot the beginning of the story...

07 Oct 2004 | Phil said...


You are living in a fantasy world. Do you really think the rest of the free world sits around staring at the wall, oblivious of the threat of islamic extremists? Europe has a much longer history in dealing with terrorists than we do. George Bush fights terrorism like an immature teenager, go in with guns blazing and shoot anything that moves. Fighting terrror is more about intelligence than a shootout at high noon. The way to do it is to cut off the terrorists funding, cut off their channels for getting weapons, extinguish small cells and recruitment centers all over the world. The invasion of Iraq accomplished none of this. I'd way rather have the international intelligence community covertly track down Osama and publicly execute him on television than the mess we have in Iraq.

I truly don't understand why people like you insist that the US and only the US has the answers to these problems. Trust me, there are very smart people outside of this country who can help us fight the terrorists. We can not take on the world alone. This war has proved that. We can't even straighten out Iraq by ourselves, let alone North Korea, Iran and the rest of the crazies out there.

07 Oct 2004 | Phil said...

Oh, and one more thing. Remember WWII? It was "the axis" vs "the allies". THE ALLIES! Get it? I think John Kerry mentioned something about allies, while Cheney and Co. spit on them.

It wasn't 90% USA and 10% everyone else that defeated Hitler.

07 Oct 2004 | Brian said...

And Indu you say, "Maybe the US should not have to be the world's police force, but if other countries can't or, more likely, won't step up to the plate then we will."

In 'We' do you include yourself? Are you ready to enlist and be shipped off to Iraq or something other nation to fight? Are you personally ready to step up to the plate?

07 Oct 2004 | Don Schenck said...

You can fight terrorism by working for The Company. Yeah!

07 Oct 2004 | indi said...

Yeah right, like the US isn't also covertly working with other countries' security forces to track down cells and cut funding. I'm not naive enough to think that the only actions taking place are what I read in the news and see on televison. are you? Sure other countries are working on the problem ... but the pace needed to be kicked up a few notches after earlier terrorist attacks and it apparently wasn't. The 9/11 attack brought it home in a big way that couldn't be ignored by the world. Even though Saddam's regime was not the prime instigator of that attack he was still a locus of terrorist activity. It was better to take him out sooner than later when he wore down the sanctions and resumed his WMD efforts.

And Phil you have it exactly backwards when you say Bush/Cheney spit on the allies, the allies spit on us when they dealt with Iraq secretly going against the sanctions and refused to help get the UN into the picture. Kerry/Edwards are still spitting at the alllies that did go with us into Iraq.

In both WW's the US coming into the picture when it did basically bailed out the floundering allies. In fact we probably waited too long due to protectionist attitudes. Who knows, maybe that's what we should do now. Just close the borders and stick our heads in the sand and wait it out.

07 Oct 2004 | Phil said...

Your callous insult to the countries who fought Hitler is astounding. They couldn't defeat Hitler without us, but we couldn't have done it alone either. More importantly we had to fight those wars. Millions of people died because there was no other choice. Our european allies made extreme sacrifices to fight evil and to suggest they were a bunch of "floundering" idiots who can't function without us is beyond reproach.

Refresh my memory, what allies went to war with us in Iraq? Poland? No wait, they just backed out. Besides that idiot Tony Blair, I believe the next biggest world power was Belize. I'll gladly spit in Tony Blair's face.

BTW, which one of our allies broke sanctions with Iraq? Which ones fought the UN? I truly have not heard any of this. I do know that Cheney's company Halliburton defied sanctions with Iran, a much bigger threat to the US.

It's very simple. We need to fight the war on terror, but George Bush sucks at it. Attacking Iraq set us back in our effort in the fight against terror. I am not some tree hugging liberal afraid to fight. I just think you need to figure out who to fight and Iraq wasn't the right target.

07 Oct 2004 | indi said...

It's OK Phil, never mind.

07 Oct 2004 | Phil said...

What's OK? Never mind what?

07 Oct 2004 | indi said...

I mean I'm not going to discuss this anymore right now. I find that when I write something with passion on the spur of the moment I say things that can be construed other than I intended. For example, I didn't say that the other countries fighting Hitler were floundering idiots, I just said that they were floundering and the US came in and turned the tide. No "callous insult" was intended. But for you to assume I was being insulting just shows me I am not effectively communicating. And then someone like G.I. pipes in with "nice try, you forgot the beginning of the story". So what does that mean? The US is being attacked because we are evil and the jihadists are righteous?


07 Oct 2004 | Phil said...

That's cool. I say things a little too harshly when I get worked up. I hear so much misinformation out there from the right that I get all fired up.

By criticizing this country doesn't mean I'm saying the jihadists are righteous. There is no logic to that at all. This the kind of stuff I am talking about. Some idiot like Sean Hannity says this all the time, like not supporting the war is the same thing as supporting the terrorists. Who supports terrorists? That's ridiculous. I'd gladly kill a terrorist with my own two hands, but I am also vehemently against the invasion of Iraq. This doesn't mean I like Sadaam or support what he was doing. All it means is that invading his country was a stupid thing to do. It serves no purpose at all and in fact hampers our real efforts to fight terror. I guess that's what the conservatives derogatorily call "nuance", distinguishing between Afghantistan and Iraq or distinguishing between one of the millions of normal Islamic people and the terrorist jihadists.

07 Oct 2004 | Don Schenck said...

When you shoot someone (two to the chest, then one to the head), it's not the bullets that stop them. It's the sudden state of shock produced by their Central Nervous System.

Just in case, Phil, you ever need to kill a terrorist.


13 Oct 2004 | Jose Rui Fernandes said...

"It's all about death to the infidel"
Indi, I think you're the one not understanding this concept. It was Bush who said "you're with us or you're with the terrorists", but the sane people of this world are with neither. Bush is insane and a complete disgrace fighting terrorism. The US lost precious time and resources in Iraq (not to mention lives), instead of search and destroy the terrorists where they really are. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism, it was clear then and now is clear as water. In the meanwhile the Osamas are reorganizing and preparing the next attacks.
Besides, Bush don't know what to do with the Iraq problem now. Nobody liked Saddam, but he were more or less like Tito in Yugoslavia, keeping the country together. Looking at the region, Iraq was probably the only country that could turn into an ally (again) -- with time and negotiations. Iran is a real treat and beware Saudi Arabia.
Did Bush also told God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did.? So, there's infidels everywhere, right? I mean in the insane factions of both sides.

14 Oct 2004 | indi said...

Jose, where are you getting the "God told me" quotes you are ascribing to Bush? And no it's not the same thing at all. It's not the fact that the terrorists are Muslim that's the issue, it the fact that they are terrorists. But as I've alluded to before, I am educable.

15 Oct 2004 | Jose Rui Fernandes said...

Haaretz (near the end).
I don't know if it's true or not -- I feel it is. Nowadays disinformation rules (and it's the rule). At some point I think I remember something about a "crusade". Anyway, saying it or not, the results are pretty much the same -- a senseless war, leading to nothing.

15 Oct 2004 | Jose Rui Fernandes said...

This one is also interesting.

30 Jan 2005 | compatelius said...

bocigalingus must be something funny.

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