President told the debate audience, "You cannot
lead if you send mexxed missiges." I certainly
that's exactly what we got. You watch our President,
the nervous hand-hiding, the compulsive water-glass-fondling,
the panicked I-wish-I-had-a-whiskey look, and
you think, "My god, this is the guy who's supposed
to save us from al Qaeda."
how are we going to win the War on Terror, Mr.
President? "First of all, of course I know Osama
bin Laden attacked us. I know that," he said.
Well, that's a start, I suppose.
it doesn't have to stay this way. This is America,
home of the brave and where, I remember from school,
we could vote for president and the votes would
count. So we looked to the tall man next to him
to show us the way out.
Iraq, "We don't have enough troops there," said
the tall one. Really, Senator? We should send
MORE? Not exactly: Mr. Tall's got a plan to get
our troops out. He'll have a big meeting of "allies,"
and after he talks with them, they will all jump
up and volunteer to send THEIR kids to Fallujah.
France and Indonesia and Kuwait can't wait to
ship in soldiers and extra body bags. Right. We
love you, John, but there’s no band of Hobbits
coming to the rescue -- that's just a movie.
he looked kind of "presidential." But given the
line-up includes Nixon, Ford and two Bushes, that's
not a big trick.
sorry. I know I'm supposed to stand up and cheer
that John Kerry didn't get Gored. In fact, if
you look at presidential debates the way the media
plays it, as something akin to Olympic figure
skating, where you score for the competitor’s
style, you could say Kerry won.
I don't feel WE won anything.
mean, when Jim Lehrer asked how the candidates
would make America safe from terrorists, Mr. Tall
said he'd hire more firemen. And add more cops.
Maybe he thought he was running for mayor.
It was disappointing, but then Mr. Small's answer
was downright frightening. We have to "stay on
the offensive," and "stay on the offense," and
"I repeat, stay on the offense." We have no doubt
that Mr. Small can be extraordinarily offensive,
but even he can't take his offensiveness to the
bad guys if he doesn't know where they are. And
on that point, he's clueless.
were two words I was hoping to hear from Mr. Tall:
"Saudi" and "Arabia." Imagine if he laid it on
the line, "The terrorists didn't put the hijackings
on a credit card, Mr. President. Their Saudi sponsors
are fattening on the bloated war-driven price
of oil. But you can't touch your buck-buddies
in the Gulf, can you, Mr. President?. As Commander-in-Chief,
I'd cut'm off at the spigots, beginning with the
release of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
And then I'd seize their fat assets in the USA
to compensate the victims of terror attacks."
Mr. Tall was asked what whoppers the President
has told us, surely there was something a bit
more memorable than Mr. Small's failing to win
over allies for his whacky crusade.
what Mr. Tall said -- in my dreams:
"Beginning in March 2001, your Administration
began a series of meetings with oil company executives
to map the conquest of Iraq and its oil, a plan
Americans would pay for in blood. You originally
called this scheme, 'Operation Iraqi Liberation'
-- O.I.L. We don't appreciate your little joke,
"One month after seizing Baghdad you fired General
Jay Garner, the man you put in charge of Iraq,
after he called for rapid elections in Najaf;
after he refused to impose your plans to sell
off Iraq's oil fields. In Najaf, citizens denied
ballots, turned to bullets. And then, as General
Garner predicted, the seizure of Iraq's assets
resulted in the type of war one expects -- when
seeking to impose colonial control."
"Mr. Small, you claim we've given a thousand lives
to bring democracy to the Mid-east. But so far,
your democracy, Mr. Small, comes down to a puppet
prime minister, we've installed in Iraq and a
puppet government, the Saudis have installed in
I can't expect all that in a presidential debate,
where the message has to fit through a tube. But
still, Mr. Tall could have won my vote with two
words. It's the two-word answer John Kerry gave
three decades ago when asked the same question
-- "How can we get our troops out of a disastrous
the clear-minded, tall young men said, "In
Posted: October 1, 2004