April 28, 2004

Kerry on Hardball. I'm watching Kerry on Hardball. This is billed as an "exclusive" interview with Kerry. What does that mean? Any time one person interviews another it's "exclusive"? (No two snowflakes are alike.) It's only exclusive, I'd say, if it's a person who hasn't given any interviews in a long time. That's not Kerry.

Comment on Kerry's face: Whoa! It's re-Botoxing time! He's re-craggifying. Especially, on the right side of the face. Yikes! This Botox stuff wears off unevenly? That's pretty embarrassing.

It's on and on about the medals and ribbons. This is incredibly irritating. I agree with Kerry that it's pointless to quibble about whatever it was he threw away when he was an young man with an issue to fight for. But let's make a deal then: stop using Vietnam as an argument for why you should be President. The whole issue is a waste of time. I'm willing to accept that both Bush and Kerry are good people with good character. Now, get on with it! Give me some substance!

After the first commercial break, Kerry is smiling--with teeth showing oddly. Someone told him to smile, so he's taking stage directions. Oh, I'm so hopelessly tired of Kerry. If he would only take a strong stand about following through in Iraq now, looking forward and not backward! But he is in robotic mode: "The fact is that, uh, to PEEL it away, I think it comes down to this larger ideological, neocon concept of fundamental change in the region and who knows whether there are other motives with respect Saddam Hussein, but they did it because they thought they could." That lack of a "to" after "respect" is in the original. And before he launched into that he seemed to get a weary, okay-I'll-have-to-run-the-neocon-ideology-tape-loop look on his deBotoxifying face. Ugh!

I'm distracted by this news, which puts everything in a new light, but I make it through the final moments of the Hardball interview, as Kerry plugs in the domestic-economy-working-people-tax-cut-for-the-wealthy loop. Then Chris Matthews, sounding like an idiot, complains about calling a technical help line, getting a person with an Indian accent, and saying "Forget about it!" to that person. Why isn't that offensive? Someone answering the phone in an Indian accent justifies some sort of outrage? Meanwhile, Kerry is laughing, showing his teeth awkwardly again. Are we supposed to have contempt for the people of India? How does that relate to the idea that we need to cooperate better with the people of the world, which is what Kerry seems to be talking about half of the time? He's so manipulated and machined-tooled into his candidacy, there doesn't seem to be a real person there to think about putting your trust in.

UPDATE: Strange Doctrines criticizes me for asking for substance while being insufficiently substantive myself, but I'm not the one running for President. I keep asking for a substantive plan for what Kerry would do in the future in Iraq (here and here and here and here and I'll stop there, but that's just April). Without that, I cannot begin to think about him as a replacement for the person who is currently seriously trying to deal with the situation, however imperfectly. Do I need to have my own plan for how to wind down the conflict in Iraq? Kerry is robotically repeating fragments of stump speeches, almost incoherently, as quoted here. How can you understand what he's blabbering about (e.g., re neocons) unless you remember the point from before? As for Matthews, I was truly offended by his prejudice toward people with Indian accents, and Kerry just laughed when Matthews ranted about hanging up on such a person. Kerry is coming across as an empty shell of man.

FURTHER UPDATE: Strange Doctrines responded to that update, but none too coherently. I never said Bush had a more substantive plan for Iraq in the sense of a verbal expression of a plan. What Bush is doing, I can see in the news. Kerry has to tell me what he will do, because he isn't in the position to be actually doing anything yet. I have wasted untold hours of my life listening to Kerry and trying to detect an answer. I waste little time listening to Bush, because I can see what he's doing. I think they are both bad at speaking, if it's any consolation, and I have the complaint about lack of substance with respect to virtually every sort of political debate, speech, or event from Kerry, Bush, and everyone else. Why do I say anything about Kerry's face? One: because he calls attention to it by doing things to it. Two: because I am so bored waiting for an answer to the one obvious question that he never answers that I have to grope for things to do with my mind. Three: because physical appearance is a valid and interesting topic, generally, and even specifically, with respect to the Presidency. It has a lot to do with how people respond to a candidate (e.g., Nixon vs. Kennedy) and matters of style have something to do with how a President is able to persuade and influence.

THIS IS THE LAST ONE: Strange Doctrines still thinks I'm being unfair to Kerry because I'm only asking for a "future" plan for Kerry and not for Bush. Only Kerry's presidency is in the future. I just want to know what he'll do if and when he's President.

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