Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sitting in the car because you cannot bear to get out and miss a word of what's on the radio.

This is what happened tonight listening to Tom Ashbrook's interview with Howeard Dean on "On Point."

I've sat in the car many a time listening to a good song -- even one I've heard eleventy jillion times and have copies of in the car or in the house -- but it's the rare occasion that a radio program is substantive enough to keep me rooted, especially in our current "news" climate.

And, yes, it was, of course, what Howard Dean was saying, but it was the way he said it, too. I used to wish that John Kerry were getting Bill Clinton lessons, but after this interview, I'm hoping beyond hope that Kerry is getting Howard Dean lessons. So succint! So smart and to the point and confident and reasonable! Now, this guy is plain spoken. "Plain spoken" as applied to the Thief in Chief is just, well, more propaganda. They figure if they say it enough, we'll forget what it actually means. (I hate them, but I digress.)

Gov. Dean showed me again tonight what it is that I love about him so: his conviction; his straight-shooting, un-self-conscious analysis; his sincerity and big-mindedness. Is that a word? I mean the opposite of small-mindedness; i.e. Gov. Dean is doing right by his country, by his party, and by his own guiding principles in service of future promise. He is faithful to a vision to better our lives, and oh Lord it sounds hokey, but it's important. We've been so overrun by this band of ruthless pirates w/ their endless jingoism and empty flag-waving rituals that we've forgotten -- or at least I've forgotten -- what actually giving a shit about one's country means. I'm sick of being embarrassed and sickened and appalled. Can we imagine again an administration that acts in the interest of the people, an administration whose every action does not result in subpeonas and criminal action, an administration that transacts its business openly and honestly--or at least as open and honest as we ever got? Can we have high-mindedness again?

This said, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Kerry tomorrow night, and though I am nervous, I have hope that we will all feel better on Friday. We have a few important things on our side:
1) Kerry is not an idiot. Clearly, dumbyass is.
2) Kerry is more adaptable. He can shorten his sentences, clarify his positions, answer a direct question, etc. Dumbyass can, um, memorize some rote points and swagger and smirk and invoke God and be "folksy," but that's about it. No thinking on his feet, no rhetorical flourish (hahaha! right.), no command of the facts. In a just reality, this would be a cakewalk and, more importantly, understood as such.
3) Kerry is a professional. He looks like a president. (Whatever. It's important in this society which increasingly makes judgments on opinion rather than fact, as we all can have opinions even as we're lacking in pesky knowledge. See? It's tremendously democratic.) He is able to exude ease, confidence, knowledge, and sincerity.
4) Kerry is a former prosecutor and was captain of the Yale debate team, which are not a small things in the realm of rhetorical ability. He understands the "acting" portion of this game. Dumbyass...again, he can smirk and swagger, but will it be enough?

It will not be enough if the punditocracy decides that this election is too important to farble about w/ bullshit like earth tones and tans and the like. There will be a very clear difference tomorrow night between these two men, and let's hope that the pundits have the maturity and professional dignity not to be distracted by the fiddling while Rome burns.

Go buy Gov. Dean's book and savor its eminently reasonable analysis while contemplating what it would have been like to cast your vote with pride and hope for a truly intelligent, decent, mature person of substance.