George W. Bush is a speed freak. The only explanation for his performance in the second debate tonight is amphetamines. He showed all the symptoms: the twitchy aggressiveness, the excitement, jumping to his feet all the time, speaking much more quickly than he usually does, almost shouting some of his replies… You even saw the moment, about 2/3rds of the way through the debate, when he started to crash — he faltered for a moment, then went on but without quite the same level of energy. The drugs also released his inhibitions, so that we saw the return of his frat boy smirk and his self-congratulatory nods and winks.
Well, I guess that’s one way to overcome the confusion, the lack of focus, and the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look that Dubya exhibited in the first debate.
I’d worry that this would impair the President’s judgment, much more severely than the alcohol he used to consume in great quantities did; but since Dubya lacks all judgment even when sober, there isn’t anything to impair.
As for Kerry, he did an OK job as Mr. Facts-and-Figures; too bad American voters don’t really care about that. I very much fear that the polling figures will swing back to Bush in the next few days, now that he has proved that he can (with the suitable chemical enhancement) “perform.” Why, speed for Dubya is just like Viagra for Bob Dole; it gives him the macho potency that Americans want in their Commander in Chief, and it probably even raised his IQ a few points.
Seriously, you know there’s a problem when Kerry can’t even bring himself to say that he’s pro-choice without a lot of mealy-mouthed evasions. This means that the game is fixed: according to the rules Kerry can only say he will do Bush’s policies better than Bush himself does. Any actual alternative is considered out-of-bounds from the get-go.
You wouldn’t know, from watching this debate, that things are completely and radically going to hell: that scores of people are being blown up every day in Iraq, while at home civil liberties are being slowly but surely abolished, democracy is being transformed into theocracy, millions of people are being shorn of their medical coverage and old age pensions (not to mention the large numbers who don’t have these things in the first place), and a gang of rapacious good old boys is bleeding the country dry, redistributing nearly all the remaining wealth from the other 98% of the population to themselves. Kerry certainly isn’t addressing these issues. He’s arguing from a position in which Bush’s near-psychotic reality-distortions are taken for granted as a starting point — and that’s an argument he cannot hope to win.
You’d also think, if this debate were your only source of information, that America is almost entirely white. In the debate’s “town meeting” format, all the questions but one were asked by white people.