Friday, October 01, 2004

bush debate2

Talk Is Cheap

I like George Bush. I like all his certainty and odd facial expressions. I like what little swagger I get to see. I like that he sees the world of constantly changing set of challenges in a timeless and unchanging human context. There are actions and approaches that elevate humanity and others that drag it back toward barbarity.

John Kerry was fairly forthright about what he believes are elevating responses to barbarity. More consensus, more dialogue, more deliberation. That’s certainly an easy way to deal with difficult issues. But dialogue only provides a forum for changing behavior. It doesn’t provide the incentive. That’s why focusing on treaties rather than the reasons nations enter into treaties is myopic.

It’s been said that Kerry would rather have a broad coalition doing nothing than a small band of allies taking action. I saw plenty of validation of that during last night’s debate.

The morning after criticism of Bush is that he looked annoyed and impatient. The DNC even collected a reel of grimaces. I love the grimaces. I feel the same frustration. I think the visible annoyance Bush had with Kerry’s absurd proposals to enlist the French to fight in Iraq or convene a summit meeting of Islamic nations or impose sanctions on someone is widely reflected around the country.

In words and in body language Bush expressed his profound impatience with inaction, equivocation, and nuance. Kerry looked authoritative but his words were elliptical . . . filled with buts and exceptions. That plays well with his supporters who generally don’t want to be prosecuting a war under any circumstances. To them, Kerry was convincing.

To the rest Bush is a man just like them who didn’t want war but had war thrust on him. And now he means to finish it. No plan for the peace? There never is. No exit strategy? You only need an exit strategy if you plan to lose. As Bush said, this is a fight we cannot afford to lose. If that offends the enlightened, then don’t vote for him.

Look at that face. I know what he’s thinking. Talk is cheap and looks are superficial. Let’s stop talking and get something done

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