Monday, October 04, 2004
Memes for the Democrats
Here are my suggested talking points for the Kerry supporters. Each is based on something that Bush actually said in the debate. All bolds are mine:
1.. Bush: I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap and - anyway, that's for another debate.
(a response to Kerry talking about his plans for increasing homeland security)
Suggested talking point: Why does Bush hate America so much that he won't spend money on our security?
2.Mr. Lehrer: New question, Mr. President. Two minutes. You have said there was a "miscalculation'' of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation? And how did it happen?
Mr. Bush: No, what I said was that because we achieved such a rapid victory more of the Saddam loyalists were around. Other words, we thought we'd whip more of them going in.
But because Tommy Franks did such a great job in planning the operations, we moved rapidly. And a lot of the Baathists and Saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. I thought we would, they would stay and fight. But they didn't. And now we're fighting them now.
Suggested talking point: And this guy is supposed to be in command of the military?
3. Mr. Lehrer: New question, Mr. President. Two minutes. Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost in American lives: 1,052 as of today?
Mr. Bush: Every life is precious. Every life matters. You know my hardest, the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm's way and then do the best I can to provide comfort for the loves ones who lost a son or a daughter or husband and wife.
And, you know, I think about Missy Johnson, fantastic young lady I met in Charlotte, N.C., she and her son, Brian. They came to see me. Her husband, P.J., got killed-been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq. You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can knowing full well that the decision I made caused her, her loved one to be in harm's way.
Suggested talking point: What do the women voters think about a president who "loves" women this way?
4. Mr. Kerry: I couldn't agree more that the Iraqis want to be free and that they could be free. But I think the president, again, still hasn't shown how he's going to go about it the right way. He has more of the same.
Now, Prime Minister Allawi came here and he said the terrorists are pouring over the border. That's Allawi's assessment. The national intelligence assessment that was given to the president in July said: Best-case scenario, more of the same of what we see today; worst-case scenario, civil war.
I can do better.
Mr. Bush: Yeah, let me -
Mr. Lehrer: Yes, 30 seconds.
Mr. Bush: The reason why Prime Minister Allawi said they're coming across the border is because he recognizes that this is a central part of the war on terror. They're fighting us because they're fighting freedom. They understand that a free Afghanistan or a free Iraq will be a major defeat for them. And those are the stakes. And that's why it is essential we not leave. That's why it's essential we hold the line. That's why essential we win. And we will under my leadership. We're going to win this war in Iraq.
Suggested talking-point: Terrorists coming into Iraq NOW, rather than being the reason for our attacking the country in the first place? Bush is admitting it here.
5. Mr. Lehrer: Mr. President, new question, two minutes. Does the Iraq experience make it more likely or less likely that you would take the United States into another pre-emptive military action?
Mr. Bush: I would hope I never have to. Understand how hard it is to commit troops. I never wanted to commit troops. I never - when I was running - when we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I'd be doing that, but the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us.
I think that by speaking clearly and doing what we say and not sending mixed messages, it is less likely we'll ever to use troops. But a president must always be willing to use troops, as a last resort. I was hopeful diplomacy would work in Iraq. It was falling apart. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was hoping that the world would turn a blind eye. And if he had been in power - in other - we just said, let's the inspectors work or let's - you know, hope to talk him out, maybe the 18th resolution would work, he'd have been stronger and tougher and the world would have been a lot worse off. There's just no doubt in my mind. We would rue the day had we - if Saddam Hussein been in power.
Suggested talking-point: Bush is not really sure who attacked us. Should we have a president who can't distinguish between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
And so on.