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Thursday, October 07, 2004

"I thank you, Gwen...'

So, after Senator John Edwards warmly thanked Vice-President Dick Cheney for being at the debate - like the VP had something better to do - Cheney had to go out like that, hmm? Wow - he does contempt real good. Apparently, there's a remaining bit of drama we've overlooked under this whole dramatic campaign. Kerry and Bush are representative of a single generation, which contributes to the unusually primal nature of their foreign policy disagreements. But Edwards and Cheney - their contest remained beauty versus age, despite Edward's desire for a contest between experience and 'judgment'.

Edwards was dead on the bumpus in one area,
that of medical malpractice reform. Cheney gave a business response - cap the awards that juries give to the plaintiffs, limit the amount of the awards that lawyers can take. The Veep-presumptive, by contrast, suggested that the better path was to hold the cases themselves to a higher level of pre-trial scrutiny. As litigious as U.S. society is held to be, not every case can get a day in court. Why shouldn't malpractice plaintiffs offer compelling levels of proof to justify a jurist's time? A good, suggestive take on this subject, and there should be more discussions on this before the whole subject vanishes into the future.

But the candidates' discussion of the economy...
...uncovered one little moment that was telling of this campaign's whole approach to economic discussions: after Edwards pointed out 1.6 million net job loss in the private sector through 2003, Cheney responded with the 1.7 million jobs created through the first half of this year. Edwards then narrowed his eyes, held out his hands in pure supplicant form, and pled 'millions of people have lost their jobs.' HAH?? How did he add a 1.6 million net private sector job loss to a 1.7 million priv. sec gain and come up with 'Millions of people have lost their jobs'?

Yes yes, the jobs had to be lost to be gained again. Yes yes yes, I'm making a 'technical' point, because Edwards also mentioned 2.7 million manufacturing jobs lost. But numbers change for better as well as for worse even in the Bush
administration, and it's in moments like this were you can see the inflexibility of Edwards' campaign. Both he and Kerry should update their stats.

Here's another idea to update:
Edwards: "And what the most striking and startling thing is, they are the first presidency in 70 years -- and I'm talking Democrats, Republican, presidents who led us through World War, through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Cold War -- every one of them created jobs until this president."
A statement that won't stand up under literal scrutiny. You can bet every president within my and Edwards' lifetime have been accused of losing people their jobs. Because they probably did. And then jobs came up again. If they hadn't, we'd be approaching way over 70% unemployment. As of today, U.S. unemployment rate is holding at approximately 5.4%, the lowest since October 2001. It's been around that number for a while now. Is it asking too much to synthesize this into your argument and see how it fits?

The above argument gets on my nerves the same way that arguments against raising the minimum wage do: in arguing that a change in the min. wage throws beaucoup people out of work, opponents use a temporary, if painful, statistic as if it's a permanent state of being.

I think Cheney made a mistake...
...when he telescoped the bulk of his response to Edwards' assaults on Haliburton connections into a recommedation for viewers to check out www.factchecker.org , tho' he said 'factcheck.com' on the air - a neat little idea, and a great bit of advertising for a website. But there was really no point in Cheney's assertion that www.factchecke.org is non-partisan. At this stage of the game, 'non-partisan' from the mouth of a Republican is seen as a codeword for 'so partisan it eats peanuts with its' trunk'. Only repeated visits to the site, and repeated examinations of content, can supplant such an impression.

This is what Cheney should've said: 'I can't convince anyone that www.factcheck.org is non-partisan. You shouldn't take my or my opponent's word for this. Just read www.factcheck.org's Haliburton material and make your decision.' Anyway, Cheney sounded evasive about Haliburton and still, with no real proof offered by Edwards that there's much for Cheney to evade.

Of course, hearing Haliburton's name probably does get under Cheney's skin when it's said over and over with such strong accusations to no real political effect in 2000 and probably in 2004.
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