I Don't Like To Watch

Part of me thinks I should apologize for preferring not to watch or listen to political speeches, but few of my acquaintances watch them, either.  I occasionally read transcripts, and I always read post-speech analysis and spin because, for better or worse, I am much more interested in how a speech is received and spun than the actual content.  Even acquaintances who do watch political speeches and share their opinions with me cannot help setting their review in the context of "how it will play;" no one I know expects political oratory to effect themselves.

Nevertheless, while I am ultimately more interested in the debates’ effect upon the electorate, I expect to (record and) watch the debates over the next few weeks.  Like many Democrats, I am dreading another rendition of Goofus and Gallant.  During the negotiations on the debate ground rules, I secretly half-wished the two campaigns would fail to agree and there would be no debates at all.  Bush is unabashedly incurious, anti-intellectual, and inarticulate, but by highlighting these...attributes (I wish I could call them shortcomings), the Kerry campaign has fatally lowered expectations for Bush.  Given that The Narrative has been established, there’s no reason for anyone who’s not paid to do so to watch the debates, right?  I mean, no one’s going to change their vote just because Bush claims to have captured "Osama bin Hussein" or because Kerry challenges a moderator’s definition of "war," are they?

Yet I have to watch.  This has been the most disastrous administration since Harding’s, and if it is somehow permitted to endure beyond 20 January 2005, I will be compelled to seek an explanation in whatever minutiae of political discourse and theater as are available to me.  If Kerry is able to persuade enough voters that George W. Bush poses a generational threat (in multiple senses) to the Republic, I will need to know how he managed it.  One way or another, to one end or another, it will be inspirational.

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