Thursday, October 14, 2004

Master Debaters

I've got two things to relate from last night, both tangentially related to one another. First things first, I went to my first local political meeting. The Cranford Democratic Committee had a young lawyer named Michael Shapiro come in to speak. He's a lawyer for the Kerry campaign, and Johan, Oliver and I had seen the event advertised in the newspaper, so we decided to check it out. The glimpse that I gained into politics, both local and national, was amazing. But more than the insight into either the local or the national level was the insight into the cooperation and friction between the two, at least within the Democratic party.

Shapiro didn't really have very much to say, aside from, "Yay Kerry, vote Kerry, get your friends to vote Kerry!" He was well-spoken, but there was not much more than that. The other man to speak was George MacDonough, long-time Cranford resident, who's running for town council (he was defeated by 16 votes last time). He was well-spoken and articulate, and he got my vote, at least. But the fascinating thing relates to the fact that Jersey's not a swing state anymore. What I learned last night is that the Kerry campaign has put all of its money into the swing states, and none anywhere else. None. That's right, a lawyer for the Kerry campaign had to buy his Kerry/Edwards pin from the internet. Lots of the people at the meeting were indignant about the lack of lawn signs and bumper stickers, but there's literally a couple of thousand dollars in the Democratic campaign in Jersey, all in the form of contributions from elected officials in the state. For a state where the polls were showing a dead heat just a few weeks ago, the campaign doesn't seem (to my mind, anyway) to be paying nearly enough attention.

The other thing that's been infuriating me lately can be seen here. It's insane for Lynne Cheney to react as ridiculously as she has to Kerry's mention of her daughter in last night's debate. Mary Cheney is an out-of-the-closet lesbian. That's a well-known fact, and she's been active in politics concerning that fact. Kerry's point was not meant as a dig. Kerry's point was that we cannot all think of this as an issue that does not involve us. This is not a faceless issue. This is an issue that involves the immediate family of the running mate of the man who's trying to discriminate so readily against the homosexuals in the population. Thing is, the homosexuals can't be seen as "them" when they're part of our family.

The Republicans seem to be getting more than a little desperate here. Desperate to distract from the war in Iraq, desperate to distract from domestic issues, desperate to distract from their own plans. The only thing that they seem to be entirely resolute on is the fact that John Kerry is an insensitive liar who extended the stays of POWs in Vietnam and would give up our security to other countries in a global test to fight the more sensitive war on terror to reduce it to a nuisance. The debates have shown clearly, if nothing else, that John Kerry is not the man that they've made him out to be. He's strong, he's resolute, and most importantly, he's presidential. He has a bearing that Bush could never hope to have. Bush's folksy charm worked in 2000 because he was running against a boring, self-righteous, supercilious, smug-looking jackoff (pardon my language, for all the Gore fans, but let's just face it). When he's running against a guy with good speaking skills, a good bearing, and a good control of the facts, simple charm can only get him so far. I think that's been Kerry's real victory in these debates. People have gotten to see him as he really is, not just as the Republicans have portrayed him.

More later, I'm sure.