(Comments are closed on this post, and all times are Mountain.)
6:55. Half a martini in me, and about ten minutes before the games begin. However, I do have an observation to share with you already: Tacos go suprisingly well with vodka. Who knew?
7:03. Once again, no alpha dog games. Quick handshake, smile, and wave.
7:05. “Will our children and g-children ever grow up in a world as safe as the one where we grew up?” What a lousy question. The ever-present threat of nuclear war was safe? Bad premise, but it’s also a softball. It amounts to, “Tell me again how you and only you can make everything just like it used to be.”
7:06. Didn’t Clinton’s COPS program have a built-in shelf life?
7:07. Did Kerry just call Reagan an “alliance-builder?” Somebody track down some Kerry quotes from the 1980s, please.
7:08. Domestic politics? And both guys are talking Afghanistan? And Bob won’t take them to task? Lousy moderator so far.
7:10. Bob asks Bush how we ran out of flu vaccine. Kerry got a softball for the first question, Bush got asked, “How did you screw up so badly that people are dying?”
7:12. Kerry is a debating machine. But I don’t mean it as a compliment. Talk radio is going to have fun with his promise to bring Eurohealthcare to our shores.
7:14. Another softball question for Kerry. “Please explain your tax plan again please.” Bush is handling himself well, but this is getting frustrating.
7:16. Point to Kerry. Congress’s recent tax bill WAS filled with business giveaways. (Not that I expect any Congress or President to do anything else.)
7:17. “Fiscal sanity in the halls of Congress,” Bush says. “Phooey,” I say.
7:20. Give him credit. Agree or not, Bush always sounds passionate when he’s talking education.
7:21. Kerry’s good complaining about jobs, and education and medical expenses. What can a President do to solve these problems? Uh. . . I need a another martini. Be right back.
7:24. Hey, Dan Drezner, how you think Kerry’s gonna “level the playing field” in international trade? Bush is bad on free trade. Kerry would be worse.
7:26. Do we really need three debates? There’s not much here we haven’t seen in the first two, or on CNN, or on C-SPAN.
7:27. Bush should have had a nice zinger calling Kennedy “the conservative senator” from Massachussetts, but he flubbed it.
7:28. Did Bush really just come out in favor of gays living together? How far we’ve come in just my adult lifetime – the topic used to be fit for sneers and giggles. He still annoys the hell out of me on gay marriage, but still — progress has been made, and historically very rapidly.
7:30. Kerry just won over every undecided gay in the country. Although I find it odd that both he and Edwards have mentioned Cheney’s gay daughter in two of the four debates. Why?
7:32. Talking about religion, Kerry sounds all-too Catholic. All the deep-think of an Aquinas, but none of the deep heart. Or at least that’s how this atheist-who-grew-up-around-Catholics reads it.
7:33. I’m making too much sense and committing too few typos. Need to up the vodka intake.
7:34. I take it back. Not the part about needing another drink, but rather the reason why. This debate sucks.
7:37. Drinking faster now, but it’s too soon to tell if it’s helping.
So. How about a Presidential Candidate Debate Drinking Game? Every time a candidate repeats a line from a prior debate, or repeats a line from earlier in the same night, he does a shot of tequila. I’d be seriously entertained. And the Game could reduce the need for candidates to raise money, by putting the debates on pay-per-view and splitting the cash. I’d pay to see that.
7:39. Right now, I wish Melissa had bad enough taste to watch this train wreck with me. We could get drunk and make fun of everybody’s hair. Instead, she’s watching Smallville or something, and I’m missing a couple great baseball games.
7:40. This time, Kerry said, “I’ve got a better plan.” That’s worth finishing off the rest of my drink in one, big gulp. Back after a refill.
7:43. Look, I promised to blog this debate. And I’m going to stick it out, the whole way through. But, if after this thing is over, I’m sober enough to walk upstairs to bed, it’s only because I fell asleep before the fourth martini.
7:47. What the hell is Bob Schieffer thinking? Doesn’t he know that, when the show is going badly, you have to change the script? Doesn’t he have backup questions, ones designed to provoke something, anything, out of these guys?
Personally, I’m not that interested in domestic politics, because usually the best anyone can do is try not to screw things up. (Which is why I loved the first four years of Clinton.) But I can’t be the only one who thinks this debate is unwatchably bad. And for that, I have to place a lot of the blame on the moderator.
7:49. I’m refilling my drink. If Kerry is still sounding like Carl Sagan (“billions and billions”) when I get back, I’ll down the whole thing at once.
7:53. Bob Schieffer reads email! Can you believe it? Do you care? Why is he telling us that his jillions of readers have a question? He’s the moderator. He asks the questions, period. He is not the star of this show – but he doesn’t seem to understand that. Is he angling for Dan Rather’s job at CBS?
7:54. Glenn’s “pajamas” look suspciously like tasteful LL Bean autumn wear – and I should know. Is he blogging dressed?
7:56. Not convinced John kerry sucks tonight? He just said, and I quote, “It’s illegal in the United States to hire people illegally.”
7:57. Another idea. Let’s get some funny-ass Colorado bloggers in the same room together, four years from tonight. Jeff Goldstein, Andy of World Wide Rant, and maybe myself. Hire a typist to do a transcript. And do Mystery Science Theater 3000-inspired debate coverage.
7:59. “I will fight tooth and nail to pass the minimum wage.” Try Metamuscil, Senator.
8:02. This thing is, mercifully, two-thirds over. Kerry is doing what Bush did in the first debate. He’s smirking “off” camera, he’s droning, he’s dull. Bush, no matter how boring I find the material, at least sounds passionate. Problem is, other than intoxicated political junkies like me, who the hell is still watching?
8:05. Another Candidate Drinking Game Rule: Wear a spotted red tie, take a bong hit. Then maybe play some Parliament Funkadelic.
8:07. “I have never suggested a test where we turn over our security of our nation. . . but.” I hate this guy. I just freakin’ hate him.
Now, finally, Bush is nailing Kerry on his 1991 vote against the Gulf War. Such a shame the line was delivered with a smile, rather than with righteous indignation.
8:10. I’d like to hear Bush say, “I’m going to nuke the next motherf’er who even looks at our country sidewise – twice if he’s in the French cabinet.” And I’d like to hear Kerry say, “I’m going to tax you bastards back to the Stone Age.” Something, anything, to generate some sparks.
8:13. “Bush hates blacks!” Well, except for Condi and Colin and all those other “house niggers.” Kerry is shameless on race. Shameless.
8:15. Glenn thinks things have “improved since the very lame first half-hour.” Maybe Bush has — slightly. But Kerry’s endless sonorations make me want to shoot the TV. (Yes, I did just coin the word “sonorations,” I think.)
8:18. “Everything is a gift from the Almighty,” Kerry just said. Now, I know every politician panders. But when Bush talks religion, much as it usually annoys me, I buy it. When Kerry says something like he just did, it makes me wish a thunderbolt would hit him, emblazoned with the words, “Take THIS gift, sucker.” Because he’s treating me like a sucker – and I’m not even religious.
8:21. Again, Kerry is playing the John McCain card. Has he not seen him shilling for Bush? When your bipartisanship is limited to one guy who doesn’t like you, then don’t play that card. (Not that I’m saying Bush is any better. His bipartisan efforts remind me of the box office reciepts for “Titanic” — anything that popular must be crap. Except Star Wars, of course.)
8:24: “We come, gentlemen, to our last question.” That’s the first thing Schieffer has said all night that I enjoyed.
Seriously — I am serious. But Bush cracked another honest joke, and got the audience on his side with it. Let’s wait to hear what Kerry says.
8:26. “Well, I guess, uh… the preisdent… and, uh, you and I…” followed by a joke at Teresa’s (ahem) expense. That was cute. And generated the first genuine smile I’ve seen from Kerry all night. I liked it.
But the a deathbed story about his mother? Followed by a mini-lecture? Quite simply, Kerry doesn’t seem human enough to be President.
I take it back — Kerry turned it back around at the end. Very sweet.
8:28. We’re listening to the closing statement, which nobody cares about, and which make for lousy soundbites the next day. So I’m closing out the Drunkblog post and getting on to the post-debate stuff.
Final thoughts after two shots of espresso and a little quality time with my pipe.