October 01, 2004

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by This Liar? (Special Debate Edition)

Think of it. George W. Bush opens his mouth last night, and every two minutes and fifteen seconds that he is talking something very wrong comes out of his mouth. At this point, I don't care whether he does not know that A.Q. Khan has not been "brought to justice" but has been pardoned by Pervez Musharraf, or whether he knows but is confident the press won't call him on it:

Seventy-five percent of known Al Qaida leaders have been brought to justice. [1. What Bush means is that 75% of known Al Qaeda leaders as of September 10, 2001 have been accounted for. But we know that Al Qaeda has new leaders--so this is simply false.]

Ten million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election. [2. It's not a good thing when you have more registered voters than you have people of voting age in the country.]

In Iraq, we saw a threat, and we realized that after September the 11th, we must take threats seriously, before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell. America and the world are safer for it. [3. Middle East leaders disagree, and say that the world is definitely not safer as a result of Bush's invasion of Iraq.]

The A.Q. Khan network has been brought to justice. [4. A.Q. Khan is not in jail. In what sense has he been "brought to justice"?]

That's kind of a pre-September 10th mentality, the hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place. [5. But we now know that the inspections in Iraq were remarkably successful.]

LEHRER: What about Senator Kerry's point, the comparison he drew between the priorities of going after Osama bin Laden and going after Saddam Hussein?

BUSH: Jim, we've got the capability of doing both. [6. But we don't--as we learned at Tora Bora.]

Of course we're after Saddam Hussein -- I mean bin Laden. He's isolated. Seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice. [7. Once again, nobody but Bush believes that Al Qaeda has been scotched.] The killer -- the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, is in prison.

What my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place. [8. Grants of power do not give the grantee the right to be stupid in using the power.]

I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap. [9. Bush has just said he would rather have his tax cuts for the rich than spend money on homeland security.]

And that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 [Iraqis] trained now, [10. But we don't have 100,000 trained now.]

My opponent says we didn't have any allies in this war.... What's he say to Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland? [11. President Kwasniewski says that he was taken for a ride by Bush with Bush's false claims about WMDs.]

My opponent just said something amazing. He said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. [12. That's not amazing: that's true. The entire strategy of the War on Terror is--or should be--to unite moderate Muslims with us against Al Qaeda. The attack on Iraq has made that next to impossible.]

There are 100,000 troops trained, police, guard, special units, border patrol. [13. Once again, Bush shouldn't be saying this. It isn't true.]

But the enemy attacked us, Jim, [14. Iraq, however, did not attack us.]

And secondly, to think that another round of resolutions would have caused Saddam Hussein to disarm, [15. After he says "disarm", Bush realizes he's made a mistake and shifts to "disclose".]

We worked very closely with the foreign ministers of France, [16. Once again, Bush shouldn't be saying this: he hasn't been working closely with France.]

I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. [17. That's not what Kerry said: he said nuclear proliferation--which Bush has not taken to be a highest priority problem.]

I'll tell you another way to help protect America in the long run is to continue with missile defenses. And we've got a robust research and development program that has been ongoing during my administration. We'll be implementing a missile-defense system relatively quickly. [18. He shouldn't be saying this: the system he's about to deploy isn't tested. There's no reason to think it will work.]

Posted by DeLong at October 1, 2004 07:48 AM | TrackBack
Comments

The missile defense system Bush wants to deploy is worse than useless. It will cost untold billions of dollars (better spent on other national needs) and likely will lull the American public into a false sense of security. The system can be defeated by other nations at a fraction of the cost of building the damned thing. It will, however, enrichen the defense contractors who build the system and who donate handsomely to the Republican party.

Posted by: Mushinronsha at October 1, 2004 08:07 AM

The stock market is up over 1% today so far. One news article says that the market is reacting to a dip in oil prices and a pair of upgrades in the semiconductor industry. I wonder if the market is also reacting to Kerry's strong performance last night. I certainly will feel more optimistic about the economy when we have a competent president. Kerry's poise and coherence last night should improve his chances in November. He acted like a strong, informed leader. Bush looked confused and ignorant about the state of the world.
Thanks, Brad, for pulling out many of the false statements Bush made last night.

Posted by: Tedb at October 1, 2004 08:13 AM

Why, oh why, doesn't the Kerry campaign, or one of our vaunted 527's, take a half dozen of Bush's deceptions and put them in a national television commmercial?

P.S. Does anyone realize that Bush WANTS North Korea to have nukes plus ballistic missiles, so that there is an excuse to build that stupid missile shield? The positive desire of this Administration to make nuclear war possible makes their mistakes in Iraq seem the penmanship errors of a first grader. bunker-busters and other "tactical" nukes. stripping verification out of anti-proliferation agreements. It is a very, very scary pattern.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder at October 1, 2004 08:22 AM

My cynicism knows no bounds.

I think that within 10 days the polls will show that Bush won the first debate. Further, that all of Bush's false statements were factual. Also, that any market advance is confirmation of Bush's strength and any market weakness is confirmation that Wall Street is scared crapless that they will actually have to pay for the debacle in Iraq with years of higher taxes under John Kerry.

Further, Bush and the Republican Party could convince 50.1% (well, 49%; the other 1.1% being stolen) of the electorate that a cardboard silo, a paper mache missile and a little private contractor dressed like a character from "Sleeper" will protect them. One hundred billion dollar cost? Hell no, they're not going to pay for it.

We aren't just living in Orwellian times. Orwell's
writings have become the world, subsumed reality, and we are their very tissue.

I repeat: we are in danger.

Posted by: John Thullen at October 1, 2004 08:34 AM

Make sure to read William Saletan on Slate today. While DeLong joyously "fact checks" Bush -- amounting to little more than "hurrah for our side" antics -- Saletan passes by such trivialities and gets immediately to the heart of the matter.

Until it really hits the fan, most Americans need to believe that US troops in Iraq are heroic and noble and doing good and that everything will come out right in the end. And Saletan is exactly right that Kerry cannot come out and say that Iraq not only was but is a mistake because by that he would be denying the vast majority of the American people a dream they demand to hold.

This, of course, is not unusual, either, for us or for any country. Wars aren't defined as "mistakes" until defeat is imminent -- and sometimes not even then. And that is what Bush really has going for him: the need to believe, combined with that classic American refusal to admit failure.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2107517/

Posted by: General Glut at October 1, 2004 08:38 AM

On May 4, 2004, in Lebanon Ohio, Bush said that "two-thirds of known al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice." See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040504-6.html. On September 10, 2004, in Portsmouth Ohio, and again last night at the debate, he said that "75% of known al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice." See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/09/20040910-16.html.

How can we find out: (1) What is the total number of known al-Qaeda leaders? and (2) What known al-Qaeda leaders were brought to justice between May 4, 2004 and September 10, 2004?

Posted by: VinnyD at October 1, 2004 08:52 AM

Subj: Reflections on First Debate Date: 10/01/2004 5:55:34 AM Eastern Daylight Time From: BushCheney04@GeorgeWBush.com (Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman) To: xxxxxxx.com

Ken Mehlman Campaign Manager

Dear xxxxxxx.com,

Over the next few days, at the office, at your children's football or soccer games, and in your homes, people will be talking about last night's debate. Here are some important facts to keep in mind as you're talking with friends and neighbors about the exchange.

www.GeorgeWBush.com/DebateFacts

President Bush spoke clearly and from the heart last night about the path forward - toward victory and security - in the War on Terror. The President spoke candidly about the difficulties facing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as these countries prepare for their first free elections. The terrorists will continue to fight these steps toward freedom because they fear the optimism and hope of democracy. They fear the prospects for their ideology of hate in a free and democratic Middle East.

President Bush detailed a path forward in the War on Terror - a plan that will ensure that America fights the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan - not in America's cities.

John Kerry failed the one test he had to pass last night: he failed to close the credibility gap he has with the American people as his record of troubling contradiction and vacillation spiraled down to incoherence.

People have a clear choice between President Bush's clarity and strength to fight and win the War on Terror and John Kerry's attacks and reversals - born out of political calculation, not a vision for winning the War on Terror. People saw for themselves last night where John Kerry would lead our military, our allies and the world in the War on Terror - down a bumpy road paved with indecision, vacillation and cynicism. John Kerry has a record of wavering in the face of real challenges.

www.GeorgeWBush.com/DebateFacts

Truth and optimism are not competing ideals. The War on Terror is difficult - there will be good days and bad days, but the war is essential to our safety at home and victory is the only option.

Sincerely,

Ken Mehlman

Posted by: Ken at October 1, 2004 09:05 AM

This weekend will be a major bitching match between the center-right and center-left blogs. A bunch of right-wingers keep saying that Bush won on substance, but I'm not sure how they can make that statement. He simply repeated a bunch of tired campaign slogans.

Posted by: Brian at October 1, 2004 09:09 AM

I feel great about the debate! Kerry went above and beyond in Vietnam, he stepped up to the plate at the convention. Last night, when there couldn't have been more pressure on him, with a hostile media frothing at the mouth to catch him in a flip-flop or a sweat, he came through again.
When the chips are down and I want someone to make the best, most intelligent choice in my behalf. Kerry proved he is that man. Bush proved his image, a stubborn, narrow-minded, arrogant, wanna-be cowboy. Bush flip-flopped from smirky to cocky to angry and back to smirky. Kerry smoothly went from competent to knowledgeable to presidential. The only thing that scares me is wondering how John Edwards will survive the prince of darkness. If I were him, I would hang a garland of garlic on my podium and wear a big shiny cross around my neck. I hope Edwards just tells the truth, makes his point and leaves Cheney sneering,growling,cursing,and ...sweating, looking at his watch and sighing out loud.

Posted by: alwayshope at October 1, 2004 09:17 AM

Pet Goat Moments: The look on a politician's face when he realizes his country is under attack by terrorists or that he can't remember anything except his talking points during a debate. Also the effect of chemically-induced dementia due to long-term chronic alcohol and drug abuse. Example usage: "George Bush had a few pet goat moments during last night's debate."

The Flaming Moderate's Political Dictionary

Posted by: Flaming Moderate at October 1, 2004 09:19 AM

The Onion (a=www.theonion.com) {Hey, I've forgotten my html, I must be getting human again!} has the best take on Bush.

When the monster 15-ton MOAB ("Mother of All Bombs"), a thing so large that we didn't have a bomber that could drop it, you had to attach a parachute, not to make it land softly but to drag the damn thing out of the back door of a C5A, was brought on line, The Onion's take was "A Bomb So Effective It Creates 5,000 Terrorists At A single Blast."

This condenses the many reasons why America -- and civilization as we know it so far -- are in worse shape through the Bush Presidency: I used to think he was a simple sleepwalker, and I still think that in my charitable moments. (These are few.) On the other hand it is possible he is on the Wrong Side, he is not sleepwalking at random but is using every bit of his limited wit to do things in opposition to the other six billion of us.

-dlj.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones at October 1, 2004 09:40 AM

The main reason I think bush will win the election is because the Dems just miss to many opportunities to administer the death-blow. Kerry demonstrated this last night. Yeah we trained 100,000 cops in Iraq (Then paid off 30,000 to go home cause they were too corrupt/treasonous/unreliable)

I think it is a question of lacking killer instincts. Through pure zealousness conservatives can get a major News corporation to issue a formal apology because they couldn't recognize MS Word typefaces. Lets see if the Dems can even get a single primetime story on the "A.Q. Kahn brought to justice" whopper.

Posted by: Michael Carroll at October 1, 2004 09:51 AM

Har. The MOAB is funny. We have all these engineers who are designing ever more awesome nuclear weapons, which are at the cutting edge of destructive technology. We go up to them and say "yeah, we want this bomb, right? It's a big pallet full of fuel-air explosive. You drop it by shoving it out the back of a cargo plane. Excited yet?"

Posted by: perianwyr at October 1, 2004 09:57 AM

I've written a Kerry post-debate speech that hits a lot of these themes...take a look at:

http://worldonfire.typepad.com/world_on_fire/2004/10/kerrys_postdeba.html

Posted by: rick freedman at October 1, 2004 09:58 AM

I've written a Kerry post-debate speech that hits a lot of these themes...take a look at:

http://worldonfire.typepad.com/world_on_fire/2004/10/kerrys_postdeba.html

Posted by: rick freedman at October 1, 2004 09:59 AM

I believe this two-fer was left off the list:

BUSH: "Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming. Why should he? He had 16 other resolutions and nothing took place. As a matter of fact, my opponent talks about inspectors. The facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors."

Of course, it's hard to disarm if you don't have the arms in the first place. And those inspectors kept discovering that Saddam had no WMDs, just as we have discovered that he had no WMDs. So where's the deception?


Posted by: Jim Meyer at October 1, 2004 10:05 AM

I've written a Kerry post-debate speech that hits a lot of these themes...take a look at:

http://worldonfire.typepad.com/world_on_fire/2004/10/kerrys_postdeba.html

Posted by: rick freedman at October 1, 2004 10:11 AM

The reply from Ken is none other than Ken Mehlman and allows one to send an email directly to Bush-Cheney. Please do so and tell these pathetic folks what one really thinks about their brazen dishonesty.

Posted by: PGL at October 1, 2004 11:56 AM

The reply from Ken is none other than Ken Mehlman and allows one to send an email directly to Bush-Cheney. Please do so and tell these pathetic folks what one really thinks about their brazen dishonesty.

Posted by: PGL at October 1, 2004 11:58 AM

For Spam prevention you can place easy graphic verification. It's all.You can generate
small picture.

Posted by: HappyAgency at October 1, 2004 12:27 PM

The most interesting aspect of debate No. 1 is the fact that people said Bush has a nasty temper, and that Kerry should "goat" him to get this temper on display
There were many instances where Kerry attacked Bush on purpose just to get the ire out of him.

It worked.
That is why Bush was seen wincing, fuming almost red color on certain Kerry statement, thus demanding a 30-second rebuttal. His staff knew why they wanted no split-screen coverage, we would all see him bristling as he does to his staff all day, and that cannot be seen.
sorry, Gotcha
What was score for each candidate asking for the 30-second ("wait-a-second-I-can't-let-you-get-the-last-word-one-that-one, dammit")
Bush needed to get in last word, fuming
We all saw his real ugly side as he fumed, and almost stomped, like it is unfair his wisdon should be questioned, they should make Kerry sign a loyalty agreement in order to debate the President. It was like George 11 was raised a spoiled brat, who stammers when his ice cream drops on pavement, and he demands another cone, immediately.

Posted by: Dave S. at October 1, 2004 12:37 PM

Brad, what's your source for the assertion that there are fewer than ten million Afghanis of voting age? ("Ten million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election. [2. It's not a good thing when you have more registered voters than you have people of voting age in the country.])

I've seen this factoid on numerous blogs, and have even repeated it myself, but after last night I went and checked the data. Most estimates say that there are between 26 and 28 million people in Afghanistan. It seems completely implausible that of those 28 million, only 35% are over 18.

The CIA Factbook http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html says 55% of the population is 15 or older. Again, I can't see how you can get from that to only 35% of the population being over 18.

If you can direct me to a reliable source to back up your claim, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: Steve Carr at October 1, 2004 12:56 PM

Brad, what's your source for the assertion that there are fewer than ten million Afghanis of voting age? ("Ten million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election. [2. It's not a good thing when you have more registered voters than you have people of voting age in the country.])

I've seen this factoid on numerous blogs, and have even repeated it myself, but after last night I went and checked the data. Most estimates say that there are between 26 and 28 million people in Afghanistan. It seems completely implausible that of those 28 million, only 35% are over 18.

The CIA Factbook http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html says 55% of the population is 15 or older. Again, I can't see how you can get from that to only 35% of the population being over 18.

If you can direct me to a reliable source to back up your claim, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: Steve Carr at October 1, 2004 01:03 PM

Steve --> I remember Krugman referencing this in his latest column. Does the New York Times fact check editorials?

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/01/opinion/01krugman.html?hp

Posted by: trevelyan at October 1, 2004 02:14 PM

I just liked seeing bush try and drink from a glass that was already empty.
wow that sounds way closer to his political excuses.
that and all the little funny faces he makes.
kerry did impress me w/ the way talked last night. but to be honest they are both coke snorting skull and crossbones from yale,who do everything to keep the income gap growing. bush's ignorance is an act, while not being a smart guy in the first place, it helps him land all the conservative southern states.
there is 1 HUGE reason not to vote for him.... the loss of american's right to freedom. ie john walker lindh. yeah sure he's guilty, but he does have rights.
but what do I care I leaving the country for 2 years to chill in japan.

Posted by: scrwthem2yales&k's at October 1, 2004 02:17 PM

Again with the Bush is a liar stuff. Look at your first point, this is ridiculous.

1) Seventy-five percent of known Al Qaida leaders have been brought to justice. [1. What Bush means is that 75% of known Al Qaeda leaders as of September 10, 2001 have been accounted for...

NO CRAP. You repeated the EXACT same thing Bush said. How is that a lie? He didn't say 75% of ALL leaders, known or unknown, have been captured. Are you smoking something of the illegal kind? Too bad Al Qaida doesn't put out a Company Report so we know who the leaders are.

I know liberals are scrapping for stuff to pin on Bush, but this is a joke.

Posted by: Nathan at October 1, 2004 04:20 PM

Trevelyan, no, the NYT does not fact-check its columnists. It doesn't fact-check its articles, either.

Posted by: Steve Carr at October 1, 2004 05:28 PM

Which is why the GOP was able to get away with so many lies about Clinton.

Posted by: Barry at October 1, 2004 05:39 PM

People talk like Kerry did really well in the debate but he had an unfair advantage.

He had the facts on his side.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 1, 2004 06:42 PM

Did anybody else notice that when the camera shifted to a face-on shot of Jim Lehrer, with Bush's back to the camera, you could see some kind of odd shape in the middle of his back underneath his suit coat.

You don't think that was Karl Rove's hand, do you?

Posted by: Uncle Jeffy at October 1, 2004 09:25 PM

"Brad, what's your source for the assertion that there are fewer than ten million Afghanis of voting age? ("Ten million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election. [2. It's not a good thing when you have more registered voters than you have people of voting age in the country.])"

Apparently, the number of 9.5 million is an official estimate of the eligible voting population by the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), see

http://www.un.org/apps/news/storyAr.asp?NewsID=11288&Cr=afghan&Cr1=

All web sources on allegations of fraud in the elections in Afghanistan seem to refer more or less directly to an article in the Toronto Star that can be found at

http://www.afghanistan.org/news_detail.asp?17076

I am not sure whether there are any reliable population figures for Afghanistan - the only census ever held in Afghanistan was back in 1979, and there had been around 3m Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan probably nobody really knows how many of which have already returned to Afghanistan.

Posted by: Konrad at October 1, 2004 11:50 PM

Mark Kleiman has at several points obsessed (but in a good way) about the fact that nobody uses "brought to justice" correctly. To him, it means "arrested and tried"; to plenty of other people, it means "killed if guilty". Apparently in this case, it also means "we got him to stop committing his crimes, probably".

Posted by: DonBoy at October 2, 2004 02:33 PM