Thursday, July 26, 2007

How George W. Bush Gave Me Hope

The year was 2000, a Presidential election was going on. And I didn't think it mattered who won.

I followed it, sure. I made big lists of reasons to support each candidate, even though I couldn't vote. I was well informed on the general positions of each candidate. In the end, I decided Gore was the better pick, if only because George W. Bush was so utterly and flagrantly stupid. I lamented, and still lament, the death of the McCain campaign.

But in the end, I didn't really think it would matter. I didn't think either president would enact substantial change. Having had the same president for all of my adolescences, I didn't get how much the President mattered.

So all I can say is, George W. Bush, thank you. You have proven that one man CAN make a difference in the highest political office in this country. That by shear force of will, you CAN change things, even when your approval ratings are the lowest in history. You showed me the president has power.

And oh sure, you used this power entirely to fuck up the country. Granted. But without you to show us all just how much damage one man can do, these little presidential elections wouldn't have nearly the urgency.

Some other political thoughts while we're here:

Watched the CNN YouTube debates on CNN's website. Some observations:

- If nothing else, this debate narrowed the field for me nicely. This really is a three man race between Clinton, Obama and... Joe Biden. Edwards killed himself for me. This guy always feels like a used car salesman. I don't want a used car salesman to be president. There was not ONE question that he answered head on in that debate. Not one. It was always, "I think what you're really asking" and "I think this brings us to a larger point." Gag.

- Biden meanwhile managed to be engaging and straightforward in all cases. He was realistic about Iraq, and said what we were all thinking about that gun video - namely that the guy in the video was a nutjob. I'm not a fan of his "Where America can, America must!" talk, and I don't think that'll play well after 8 years of Bush, but if you must vote for a white male in this election, this is the guy!

- There wasn't nearly enough screentime for Gravel. And boy did he let us know it. It's not that I think he could be President, or that I think he has anything interesting to say, or really that I think he adds anything at all to the debate. But man is he fun to watch. There is a man who can rile himself up. Can we make him press secretary or something? Then we could see him on the Daily Show every night. We need more Mike Gravel in our lives.

- According to Dennis Kucinich, we can get out of Iraq by sending text messages. What a let down. After an impressive showing on Maher, I thought this guy could be cool - but he looked like such an idiot last night. He gave me that "I'm embarrassed for you" feeling whenever he was onscreen.

- Goddamit, but I'm starting to like Hilary Clinton. She's just so fucking competent. She's the smartest person in either race. Almost all of her answers on substantive matters last night were honest and well thought out. Very little soundbite speak. Plus, how awesome would Bill Clinton: First Man be? Unfortunately, she'll probably get creamed in a general election.

- If I had to lay odds on it, the next president of the United States is going to be a black man. When did you ever think you'd hear yourself thinking that?

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