Friday, October 08, 2004

Bush & Cheney's Anger

The Old Media are obsessed with President Bush's body language that he displayed during the first presidential debate in Coral Gables, Florida last Thursday. There is no doubt that Bush did himself no favors, just as Al Gore did himself no favors four years ago. Apparently, Bush was even visibly irritable when a campaign aid fired questions at him during a pre-debate "practice session." For this reason, the Bush campaign insisted that the cameras should only focus on the man speaking. The TV networks quite rightly ignored this demand.
Five nights later, Dick Cheney managed to control his facial muscles; but he clearly had nothing but contempt for his Democrat opponent, John Edwards. He had the air of a man who was disgusted that he was sharing a stage with such a political lightweight. He's right, of course, but I wonder how this attitude played with those appalling swing voters?
So what was their problem? When George Bush walked on that stage in Florida, he was sitting pretty. Ahead in the polls, his Democrat rivals in dissarray, he should have been in high spirits. Perhaps he was tired after spending the day helping hurricane victims. That may be part of the reason, but in my opinion the biggest reason for Bush's strange performance is simple: he is furious with the Democrats' disgraceful politicization of the War on Terror. The final straw, I believe, was Kerry's criticism of Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.