Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Random Thoughts At Midnight

I was talking to Guru earlier today and asked him if he'd "heard what Teresa said today." OK, so fine, it's by definition a loaded question but I was still amused at his response, even without knowing what she'd said: "Oh no, what did she say now...I wish they'd just shut her up for 13 days." It's true, she opened her trap and said something to the effect of "I don't even know if she's ever even had a real job as a grown-up" about Laura Bush. What the hell? Maybe she's actually trying to sabotage the Kerry presidency. Teresa, your "speak your mind/heart on your sleeve" attitude was charming up until, oh, I'd say, October hit. Now it's just dangerous. But credit to the Kerry campaign for having Teresa immediately apologize, saying that she had forgotten all the work Mrs. Bush had done as a librarian and a teacher and that she truly was sorry. It's amazing how jarring an apology can be in this context, you so rarely hear one. CNN seems to think Teresa offended a lot of Moms, a constituency he's been having trouble with as of late. I'm choosing not to entertain that notion.

I watched Alexandra Pelosi's Diaries Of A Political Tourist on HBO tonight. After making a name for herself with Journeys With George during his race for the presidency in 2000, she decided to spend 2002-2004 documenting the Democratic challenge for his job. It's sort of a mixed bag. It's edited in retrospect, after John Kerry got the nomination, so the film makes a point of sort of developing a rapport with Kerry, and so he actually comes off quite well. Bob Graham comes off as cooky, Edwards comes off as vain, Gephardt comes off as an extremely benign and gentle fake, Clark barely registers, and the rise and fall of Dean is probably the most poignant narrative thread of the film. But it's actually most interesting when it critiques the media influence on the process, a critique that is made more sharp when you realize that the candidates view Pelosi's camera as just as potentially damaging as any trained on them by the networks. You want to yell, "just answer the damn question honestly, it's just a documentary," until you realize that any mistake caught on film will be repeated over and over by the media. There's Candy Crowley of CNN expressing dismay at the fact that campaigns are what they are because of her...because of television; you have Dean's scream, as Pelosi puts it, the mistake Dean mande was "making a sound no one had ever heard before;" and you have Dick Gephardt, tearfully dropping out of the race, hugging his wife, and as he steps of the dais and sees Pelosi's camera, he immediately smiles, as if by instinct...he wasn't a candidate anymore, in fact he was leaving political life altogether, yet he couldn't help but smile through the tears for this little camera...and so she just hugged him. But the film leaves largely unanswered the very question that she verbalizes toward the end of the film when trying to get an interview with Kerry: why him?

I saw on the CNN crawl that Dick Cheney got a flu shot, despite the fact that President Bush has asked Americans to leave the flu shots for only the most vulnerable among us. That might bite him in the ass. As someone who never gets a flu shot when they are available (and who never gets the flu) I had to ask my friend Bill just how this shortage is manifesting itself. He said that his doctor can't even get any vaccine, nor will where we work be providing shots. Earler today I'd read that the Congressional doctor dude was recommending that all members of Congress and staff get a flu shot because their work involves meeting and shaking hands with so many people and so they'd be providing them to all, again, despite George Bush's call for sacrifice. Now, also according to CNN's crawl, the Congressional doctor dude is denying that this is the case. This issue has clearly taken the administration by surprise. Wouldn't it be funny if after all this talk of terror and the war, it's the simple flu that brings this president down. I mean, it's bizarre enough that with everything that's happened since Bush has been president, and just in 2004 alone, that the campaign is sort of reverting to that dreaded pre-9/11 mindset -- the Democrat is scaring seniors about Medicare and the Republican is calling John Kerry a liberal. I guess some things are timeless.


Blogger Fletcher Christian said...

Are we shocked that a man of Cheney's age with a history of heart problems would get the flu shot?

And I don't want to make anyone out there more anti-government than they already are, but flu shots have been and continue to be available to Capitol Hill staff (all the Members are back in their districts trying to keep their jobs) and the threshold for getting one is basically left to each person's judgment. Personally, I've had the flu nearly every season for the past four years, but I still haven't gotten one. There's something about watching old ladies get turned away from the local pharmacy that makes me think I can suffer through 4-5 days of misery.

7:51 AM  

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