Kerry's Kitty Dukakis Moment
Just a few "womanly" observations from last night.
I only watched last night's debate under duress and from a sense of dread inevitability. To make it tolerable I listened only when Bush was speaking (and he was excellent) and muted it while the twin cadavers, Schieffer and Kerry, intoned. I read the captions for Kerry's answers and Schieffer's questions.
It was hilarious to watch Kerry's robotic hand gestures. He needs to get a job as a stewardess after the election, pointing out the aft and rear exits, etc. Or maybe he was signing for the hearing impaired, I'm not sure. Sometimes, I swear he was calling off-sides and a 10 yard penalty. He needed that flag thingie to fling down on the stage.
IMHO Kerry blew the last question completely. It was his Kitty Dukakis moment as far as I see it. Asked about the strong women in each of their lives (Bob Schieffer is evidently also "blessed" with a strong wife and 2 beautiful daughters) Bush was his most natural, loving and disarming self. When asked how he reacts to the strong women that surround him, he replied with charming honesty and modesty and humor -- "I listen to them -- they tell me to stand up straight and stop scowling." -- and for the first time the audience broke into good natured laughter -- as it was the last question and such a personal one. Then he described with such obvious devotion how he met Laura at a friend's backyard barbecue in Midland, Texas -- just a simple back yard job -- no fancy "lawn or garden party" -- and how his friends had asked him to come over because there was "somebody you might like to meet". Bush replied that not only did he meet someone he "liked" but "it was love at first sight". The look on his face was a look every woman in America understood and either has experienced from her husband, or wished she saw on the face of the man in her life. Then a shot of Laura and the girls, just beaming. It was a beautiful and REAL moment, not at all forced or artificial. And a reminder to all that she was the love of his youth, and that their love had survived adversity, alcoholism and many trials.
Then when Kerry's turn came he bizarrely ignored Theresa and somehow saw fit to drag his dying mother onto the stage with him. And to tell us that on her deathbed she uttered the words "Remember John, integrity, integrity, integrity." It was ghoulish and bizarre. I was left wondering what she knew about her son that had her so worried that the last words that came to her as she left this earth were to chide and warn him over his "integrity". If he thought that would be a touching moment he was wrong. And when he finally got around to mentioning Theresa, in an obvious attempt to imitate Reagan, who always talked about how "he had married up" by choosing Nancy, Kerry said as how he had "married up" by marrying Theresa. Of course -- that was a BAD choice of words -- the WORST choice -- and the guffaws from the audience were amazing, and Kerry realizing his blunder tried to recover with a lame joke about how "he could take the jokes". It's still all about HIM. NOT A WORD ABOUT LOVE - not a word about how he fell in love with Theresa and how she has enriched (oops he couldn't say that about her, could he?) his life. And when they showed a shot of Theresa she was scowling and shooting daggers at him with her eyes. I think there was not a happy scene back at the hotel last night with a LOT of French being tossed about!
And I think that registered with women. All he succeeded in doing was reminding women that he TRADED UP -- not married up -- he traded one heiress in for a richer one. I actually felt sorry for Theresa -- what has all that money bought her?? He's not even a grateful gigolo, because given the perfect opportunity to reassure us that he fell in love with Theresa the PERSON, he underscored instead, his own opportunism and lack of due respect to the woman who keeps him in pocket money and makes his political ambitions a reality. He can't even have the decency to forget his own ego for one moment to give her the public acknowledgement and respect she deserves, if for no other reason than that he owes her at least that. When you buy a gigolo, you at least expect him to act the part of the devoted husband and lover in public.
All in all it put in stark relief the family life, and therefore the basic CHARACTER of each candidate for all the country and the world to see and judge.
And of course, Kerry's planned and scurrilous reference to Mary Cheney was despicable. And did not serve him well at all. This is obviously a planned strategy as Edwards went to great pains to bring Mary Cheney into it during the Vice-Presidential debate, with Cheney sitting right next to him.
Other than that Bush slammed Kerry on all the right things and was wonderful on education, taxes and health care. Good night. Now let's get these stupid debates behind us and get on with the vote.