Preposterous Universe

Sunday, October 03, 2004
Come lately

I just got back from a jaunt to the University of Arizona, so I missed out on the happy blogospherical wallowing in the aftermath of the Presidential debate. By now the consensus has hardened into a permanent shape -- Bush was scared and slouchy, but did manage to repeat his three talking points over and over with eerie consistency, while Kerry was straight-backed and Presidential, and managed to say some very clear things about why the war in Iraq was a bad idea, coming out the overall winner. And I basically agree.

Still, far be it from me to deprive the Kerry campaign of my insights, especially as I understand they are running low on free advice from bloggers. So here are a couple of quotes I would love to see Kerry use in the debates:
"The President has asked what kind of message my positions send to our troops. Let me just say this: the troops know what is going on. Don't underestimate the men and women of our armed forces. They know when a military operation is a boondoggle, and when the situation on the ground has become a quagmire. They also know when a statesman is standing up for their rights, and when a politician is just blowing smoke. They understand that we live in a free country, and that there is a difference between criticizing the troops and criticizing the failed policies of this Administration."

"For a long time, Republicans have had a reputation as the party of small government. But this administration has changed all that. The new slogan of the Republican party is 'Trust us -- we're the government, we know what's best for you.' Under this administration, the government has increased spending, made it a policy to violate our personal privacy, inserted itself into bedrooms and private lives, and given itself the right to arrest and detain American citizens without any right to talk to a personal lawyer. If you believe in getting the government off of people's backs, you must vote Democratic this November."

"Harry Truman had a motto -- 'The Buck Stops Here.' George W. Bush also has a motto -- 'Don't Blame Me.' No matter what goes wrong with our policies, there is always a senior member of the Bush administration ready to step up and say 'Not our fault.' This administration has been in total control -- the Republican-dominated congress hasn't passed a single bill the President has wanted to veto. Yet, in the face of any problem, from the economy to the prisons of Iraq, they feel completely free of blame. It's time we had a President who will take responsibility for his actions."

"The President likes to tell us that his job is hard work, and that he never expected that he would have to send troops into combat. Of course it's hard work, and sending troops into combat is part of the job description. It's time we had someone in the Oval Office who has a better grasp on what it really means to be the President."

"A lot of detailed negotiations went into setting up the format of these debates. One of the things that the President's negotiator insisted on was that we couldn't use charts and graphs as visual aids. Why not? Because if I could show you a simple chart of the budget deficit, you would be shocked and scared. This administration has turned a record surplus into a record deficit in record time. George W. Bush is the first President to have a degree in business administration, but it's hard to know what he learned at Harvard Business School. As a businessman he drove companies into the ground, and now he's doing the same for the Federal treasury. Because of his mismanagement, important programs are going to have to be cut, but he won't tell us which ones -- will it be Social Security? Medicare? Education? National defense? Homeland security? Right now, the nation can't afford to be governed by someone who doesn't know how to balance the books."
These are gems, people! Free of charge! Normally I wouldn't give away wisdom like this so cheaply, but these are desperate times.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

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