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Saturday, October 09, 2004

"Heaven help any citizen who relied on last night's debate to understand what is going on with North Korea or who tried to understand the fight about tax cuts on Subchapter S corporations."
because the New York Times editorial board sure won't.

It's quite simple.

On North Korea George Bush argued that a Uranium enrichment program is worse than a Uranium enrichment program plus a Plutonium enchichment program.

On subchapter S corporations George Bush demonstrated either that John Kerry is more expert than George Bush on George Bush's tax returns or that George Bush is a shameless liar or both.

Niow I understand that the editorial board can not even mention the possibility that George Bush might be a shameless liar, since space restrictions prevent them from proving that he is one. This means that the suggestion would be an opinion not a demonstrated fact and, of course, opinions have no place in editorials.

I also really understand that newspapers have space restrictions and really really understand that I don't. I used 55 words, they used 33. Now lets see if I can cut 2 words.

I didn't like "Social issues seem to bring out the senator's worst tendencies to paint a word picture in shades of gray and equivocation." only partly because it was the only criticism of Kerry. It could have been "The Senator often equivocates on social issues" or, to be harsher,"The senator almost always equivocates insufferebly on social issues" That's 12 fewr words with more obligatiory criticism of Kerry to make sure the editorial board doesn't seem opinionated.

I think "as if they were fighting shadow opponents that were not even in the hall" could be cut.
Certainly we don't need to be told thelocation of the shadow opponents who are located, if I understand correctly in the land of metaphor found by crossing the forest of verbiage and the swamp of pretension.

Having no word limit, I will now enter that forest now that I have wallowed in that swamp.

On North Korea, Bush said Clinton's approach had failed, because North Korea had substituted a Uranium enrichment program for the Plutonium enrichment program stopped by Clinton. I noted above that, with Bush's firmer approach, both programs are active. On Bush's watch, North Korea has probably extracted enough Plutonium to make more than 4 atomic bombs . In a post below, I note that a Uranium enrichment effort is not a perfect substitute for a Plutonium extraction program, because it is very hard to enrich Uranium. Recall Iraq once had a Uranium enrichment program but never had highly enriched Uranium. It is reasonably likely that the North Koreans chose to admit that they had a Uranium enrichment program, because there was less there than meets the ear, because they were experiencing technical difficulties.

The Times could also have pointed out that Bush's conception of "multilateral" requires summarily dismissing the requests of alliesand other participants in the multilateral talks to conduct bilateral talks alongside multilateral talks. Also they should quote Matthew Yglesias, because he has no trouble understanding the issue.

On the timber company, Kerry should have cited He could have mentioned while he was at it. Obviously the NYT editorial board should understand what he was talking about, because they can afford to ignore as much as can afford to ignore the New York Times. They could have put the URL in the editorial (would that be a first?).

The matter, at length, is that, according the Bush campaigns definition of a small businessman, George Bush was a small business man in 2001 at a time when very naive voters might have imagined he was their employee. Bush claimed to be mystified by the claim of fact. He got a laugh. I can think of 4 explanations.

1) Kerry is more expert than Bush on George Bush's tax returns.
Plausible but embarassing for Bush. Bush can point out his areas of greater expertise. For example he knows what the hell was that square bump visible on his back during the first debate.
2) Bush was lying because he thinks he can get away with it.
Plausible but highly embarassing for the US press.
At least Bush and the press don't have to suffer humiliation alone.
4) Bush was trying to make Kerry sigh the way Gore sighed when Bush claimed not to understand Bush/Cheney '00 campaign proposals as well as Gore did.
Didn't work this time. Kerry is more disciplined than Gore. Now that's frightening.

p.s. I actually really like the editorial. The running title for this post was "Let's work the refs"

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