So a few nights ago, via the magic of TiVo (and, I confess, the Daily Show), I finally got to see the infamous moment from the last Democratic candidate debate, wherein Ted Koppel asked the assembled participants to raise their hands if they thought Howard Dean could beat George Bush in the general election, and Dean alone raised his hand.
Okay, let’s dispose of the obvious: tossing out a grade-school-level wiseass crack like that was an insult to both the participants and observers. Koppel should be ashamed of himself, and Kucinich justifiably took him to task. But really, whatever. With the present state of politics in this country, we should count ourselves lucky that the debates aren’t moderated by Howard Stern, and the candidates not required to have a swimsuit competition.
The real problem here, and the thing that makes steam leak out my ears the more I think about it, is that apparently all of the candidates (excluding Dean, I guess: file him in the N/A column for this stunt) fell for it. So once again, I would like to degrade the democratic process by abusing my stance as a person of no influence whatsoever to deliver a small message to Messrs. Kerry, Mosley-Braun, Sharpton, Kucinich, Edwards, Lieberman, Clark and Gephardt:
Everyone who didn’t raise their hands, out of the goddamn pool this instant.
Look folks, this is very, very simple. It does not matter if you don’t actually think Dean can win. It doesn’t matter if you’re sure you’d make a better candidate. The story is: my dead grandmother could beat Bush. With one hand behind her back.
That is what you say. That is always what you say. Because otherwise, the story reverts to that of Bush being “unbeatable”, and you are doing the opposition’s work for them.
YOU GRIT YOUR TEETH, CROSS YOUR FINGERS BEHIND YOUR BACKS, AND CHOKE IT OUT:
“Any of my honorable competitors could wipe the floor with that nincompoop.”
YOU DON’T GET TO GIGGLE, EVEN IF YOU’RE STANDING NEXT TO (or are) AL SHARPTON. GODDAMNIT THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
Seriously, this was a bad moment. And if you think we won’t see it OVER AND OVER AGAIN in the GOP’s ads next year, you are sadly mistaken.
And kids, if you’re still curious as to why Dean is walking away with the nomination this year, you can consider this to be goddamn exhibit number one: He alone out of all of you clowns seems to be aware that there’s an election about to happen. And if you’re still wondering why you got worked over like an 86’ed drunkard in 2002, this is still exhibit A: because every time some clown hands you a gun, you obligingly line up in a circle, aim to the right and fire.