Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The fundamental difference

In class this morning, several students around me, all Donks, celebrated what they believed to be a victory for the Kerry-Edwards team. One girl summed it up: “I thought they were about even until the closing statements. Edwards was soooooo much better; Cheney was terrible. Edwards was all hope and sunshine, clearly talking to the jury; Cheney was all war and death.”

No and yes.

First – Cheney was incisive, cogent, articulate, and calm. His closing statement, I thought, was brilliant, presenting himself as a serious man for serious times. Edwards, on the other hand, was at times slick and quick, but more often seemed to searching for substance. (This effect was especially apparent when he would draw out certain conjunctions, like “aaaaaaaand…,” “buuuuuuuuuuuuut…”, and so forth.) I thought Edwards’ closing statement, with the story about his father blah blah, was a terrible attempt to analogize personal experience to the current circumstances. It seemed obvious to me that he even knew it was a tremendous stretch.

Now that we have that out of the way…

The closing statements should tell the American people all they need to know about these two tickets. One ticket is the September 10th ticket. The other is the September 12th ticket.

John Edwards is the perfect September 10th politician, and his selection as Kerry’s running mate a perfect September 10th political decision: young, good-looking, hopeful, pain-feeling, and possibly able to deliver a state otherwise not in play (won’t happen, of course). His selection, just like his position on Iraq, was based entirely on electoral expediency, certainly not on Edwards’ fitness to serve as commander in chief. Theme song: “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” or perhaps “Imagine.” Maybe “Carolina in my Mind.”

Dick Cheney, and the president, are September 12th leaders, and although the decision was made prior to 9/11, Bush’s selection of Cheney as his running mate reflected September 12th thinking: substance over style, reality over fantasy, guts over glamour. Theme song: “Enter Sandman,” or most appropriately, “Head Like a Hole” by Nine Inch Nails:

“Head like a hole,Black as your soul!I'd rather die,Than give you control!... ”Bow down before the one you serve,You're going to get what you deserve...”

This election really is that simple. One ticket recognizes the true nature of our enemy. The other promises to “hunt down and kill the terrorists,” but one senses that they mean this in a retributive sense – the terrorists from 9/11, dummy! – rather than in a pre-emptive and strategic sense.

And this, in my opinion, is the way Bush should frame the election: is the war on terror simply about trying to round up terrorists, or are we engaged in a war against islamofascism? The people’s answer to that question should decide this election.


At 2:45 PM, Blogger Bo said...

Never in my life did I expect to see Nathan Ryan quoting Nine Inch Nails. Remarkable.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger MSR said...

Nathan only knew the "bow down before the one you serve; you're going to get what you deserve" line because that's what Nelson used to recite when he and Nate were doing "research."


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