Friday, October 01, 2004

mexed missages

Here's why I am afraid that spin of this ilk:
Polls crown Kerry winner of first debate
is both wrong and irrelevant.

Enter the President, stage fright:
"but the enemy attacked us, Jim" - delivered by George W. Bush in the breathy, heart-pained voice of a sincere militiaman, hell-bent on doing the Lord's work in a cruel, cruel world.
I listened to most of the debate on radio while driving. Undistracted by visuals, I heard persistent, weird emotional notes in Bush's voice that, I suspect, registered with a large portion of his followers. Spell out the notes and they sing, "I pathologically care."

Anyone who thinks Kerry won the debate is forgetting about folks who don't regard debates as being about finding truth (given the media's accommodation of political cosmeticians, they have a point). They're ignoring people who have long since abandoned any effort to distinguish truth from lie for themselves, preferring to put their hopes in the strong hands of a leader who has exactly that note of straining care in his voice, the misericordia of Blind Faith up against Ultimate Evil in a World o' Pain.

Kerry issues logical discourse. Bush emits the keening of country music suffering that knows no logic. Kerry thinks he can win by being correct. Bush knows that the more Wrong he is, the more his leadership will tighten its noose around his faith-stricken followers:

K: Iraq was a diversion.

B: How can you say to those who follow you, who put their trust in you, that their cause is unjust?
In the heartland, what matters is not who is right, but who is loyal. Not what is true, but who is true, to me and you. I am the Lord of your fathers, I will not fail you. Kerry's effort to conduct a discussion of options and judgments in a post-Enlightenment world doesn't hold a candle to Bush's rapt true grit fool in an absurd and magical universe. "Nothing makes sense," is the sense behind Bush's tone. "Follow me even unto the ends of the Earth, I will be true to ye even in my error, and my truth shall set ye free."

Of course I hope I'm all wet. After it's all over, we'll know whether the pivot of this election is not, indeed, what the USian soul does when the lights go out.


Blogger Inspector Lohmann said...

Tom, that's the most insightful and succinct analysis of the debates I've come across.

Thank you.

10/14/2004 3:43 PM  

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