Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What's a truth standard?

It seems like this debate has been going on for 10 hours. Bob Schieffer (sp?) is a horrible moderator, asking loaded and/or softball questions. Neither candidate is turning in a great performance. George Bush gave a strong answer on abortion. Kerry did a good job defending his health care plan. Bush surprisingly seemed to concede the point to Kerry on raising the minimum wage, and Kerry would have us believe that rolling back the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans will produce a bottomless pool of money that will pay for everything he proposes. Bush got in a nice shot by finally reminding Americans that John Kerry voted against the first Gulf War, despite praising the president's father for raising an international coalition to fight it.

This campaign is exhausting. Is it Nov. 2 yet?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most priceless moment of the night was when Kerry, looking like a well-tailored mortician, gravely announced that the vice president's daughter was "a lesbian woman."

Now, despite the obvious redundancy of the phrase (and the idea that, most likely, you won't find many "lesbians for bush," except, well, never mind), it struck me as odd that both Edwards and Kerry would go out of their way on two debates to mention this fact.

I know Sullivan sees it one way, and defends it, but maybe I side a bit more with Kaus. It was gratuitious, and appeared to be a way to smear the president's running mate for having a gay daughter. Talk about coded language: Kerry telling the bigot vote that one of yours isn't, well, really like one of you.

Maybe you can tell me what else Kerry was trying to say, and why, but I think I'm on solid ground here.

12:43 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

As far as Edwards, I seem to recall that Cheney himself alluded to his daughter in his answer to the gay marriage question, and that he answered the question first. So I didn't see any problem with Edwards' response.

But Kerry's reference was slimey. The only possible defense you could mount is that Kerry was trying to show that Bush, by extension, is a hypocrite who probably doesn't even believe in his own position. I think that's true--the gay marriage amendment is pure red meat for social conservatives that has no chance of passing.

A better response from Kerry to Bush's answer would have been something like "Look, even Vice President Cheney doesn't believe in the president's position on this one," and let it go at that. That way, he would have left it to the pundits to remind everyone that Cheney has a gay daughter.

1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why keep bashing our president?

2:20 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.

2:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


IFILL: The next question goes to you, Mr. Vice President.

I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks.

Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?

CHENEY: Gwen, you're right, four years ago in this debate, the subject came up. And I said then and I believe today that freedom does mean freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business.

That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships.

Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.

In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.

And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that's the wrong way to go, as far as he's concerned.

Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president.

IFILL: Senator Edwards, 90 seconds.

EDWARDS: Yes. Let me say first, on an issue that the vice president said in his last answer before we got to this question, talking about tax policy, the country needs to know that under what they have put in place and want to put in place, a millionaire sitting by their swimming pool, collecting their statements to see how much money they're making, make their money from dividends, pays a lower tax rate than the men and women who are receiving paychecks for serving on the ground in Iraq.

Now, they may think that's right. John Kerry and I do not.

We don't just value wealth, which they do. We value work in this country. And it is a fundamental value difference between them and us.

Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.

And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry.

I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships.

But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country.

No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage.

This is using the Constitution as a political tool, and it's wrong.

3:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The odd thing is that Ifill sort of alluded to it, but didn't really out his daughter on the program. Cheney did NOT mention that he had a family member who was gay. Then John Edwards simply blurts out, 'Hey, everyone, Dick's daughter is a lesbian, but I'm sure he loves her. Wink, wink.'

Kerry creepily brings it up again, in Debate III:

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian woman, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.

I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice. I've met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it.

And I've met wives who are supportive of their husbands or vice versa when they finally sort of broke out and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them.

I think we have to respect that.

The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we're a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can't discriminate in the workplace. You can't discriminate in the rights that you afford people.

You can't disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I'm for partnership rights and so forth.

Now, with respect to DOMA and the marriage laws, the states have always been able to manage those laws. And they're proving today, every state, that they can manage them adequately.

3:46 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I still think, given the wording of the question and the publicity Cheney received when he announced that he differed with the president on this issue (and he did so by publicly mentioning his daughter) that Edwards was justified, if rhetorically clumsy, in referring to Cheney's daughter. She is after all openly gay, which the Cheneys have acknowledged.

What Kerry did was much more gratitutious. Again, he could have exposed both Cheney and Bush as hypocrites without mentioning Mary Cheney.

4:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other weird thing was Kerry going on about men he's known who have come out of the closet and they've been supported by their wives.

Now, Kerry might not the most typical marriage in the world, and he was a bachelor for a very long time after his first divorce, but I doubt he's alluding to himself.

Although he did lurch to give W a long, lingering hug, and, well, he was a navy man, and, ahem, the other John is the handsome one, and...

Well, don't ask, don't tell.

5:35 PM


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