Memo to John Edwards: LUCKY, DUMBASS.
This is the one lesson we all should take from the two debates thus far. When you put a polished, New Democrat politician up against a COKE-ADDLED CHIMPANZEE, the New Democrat comes out looking pretty good.
If you then take another polished, New Democrat politician, and you put HIM up against a fucking power-addled career ratbastard, and guess what? Things go a little differently.
It was true of Bush, and it's true today. If you're not gonna bring your A game, stay the fuck home. Edwards brought his B game. He was reasonably well-prepared, came out swinging, tried to rattle Cheney and hit him where he's vulnerable, and in the end, he lucked into a tie because Cheney fucked up too. If it hadn't been for the incredible, what-was-Dick-thinking, "I'd never met you before tonight" line, Edwards would have gone home with the debate's defining stupid moment trophy.
The moderator asked the candidates to describe how they differed from their opponents without mentioning their bosses' names. It's an honorable question, because veep talking points and stump speeches ALWAYS mention the top of the ticket. And if you're stuck in a stump speech, talking point mindset, you're not actually answering the question. And while these moderators are completely fucking hamstrung in their ability to get all four candidates to actually answer questions, you gotta admire their quixotic attempts anyway.
John Edwards couldn't do it. He couldn't break out of his mold when he needed to. He went straight into stump speech mode, said John Kerry's name, was admonished for it, and then DID IT AGAIN. And this is exactly the kind of reason the Democrats need to get off of their love affair with Clinton clones. Bill Clinton could get away with being Bill Clinton for the sole reason that he was BILL CLINTON. You imitators think you can get by on being centrists with big hair. Clinton could get away with not believing in anything. That's an innate personal ability, not a fucking strategy.
How difficult is it to make Dick Cheney look bad? Not difficult at all, really, if you're not screwed by your desperate ability to be seen as centrist and mainstream. You have a question on AIDS in America dropped in your LAP by the moderator. A real liberal with a fucking PAIR would have placed a huge chunk of the blame where it belongs, on the radical right's pathological obsession with failed "abstinence-only" education, and a supposedly born-again President who's all to willing to go along with it. John Edwards, being a centrist Cloneton, spoke in generalities and went into his Health Care Stump Speech.
How difficult is it to make Dick Cheney look bad when the question is on the gay marriage amendment? His position is astonishingly hypocritical, has done its own share of flip-flopping, and, in case I forgot to mention it, is ASTONISHINGLY HYPOCRITICAL. And Edwards could have nailed him on it, if Edwards weren't a pussy centrist who has to say "marriage is between a man and a woman" forty times for each time he says "ain't it a shame that gay couples can't visit their loved ones in the hospital".
The vice-presidential debate is Exhibit A in why the Democrats need to stop trying to win at the Republicans' game. When I sit down for a relaxing game of Scrabble*, and my opponent says, "OK, I'll play Scrabble, but we're only going to use four consonants and one vowel, and I get to make up my own words", I do not say "That'll be just dandy!" I shove the board up his ass sideways, tie him to his chair, and force him into a deadly round of no-holds-barred Boggle.**
But that's not where John Edwards was last night. He was stuck, sitting there, with his dick in one hand and a five-point "K" in the other, and all he could spell was "Kerry". Twice. Because like the rest of the New Democrats, he was hoist on his own dumbassitude, and the dumbassitude of all that have come before him for the last 20 years. Edwards could have walked out of last night the clear winner if he, and Kerry, were the kind of people the Democrats should be running.
If we lose this thing next month because of it, I'll be really pissed, and if we squeak this one out DESPITE this, and they decide that this shit actually works, I'll be even more pissed. Dumbasses.
*Which is never, but I desperately need this particular Hasbro product for my analogy, so let's pretend for a moment that I've set aside the gripping spectacle of cars ramming each other into walls for the hours necessary to strive for the mighty triple word score.
**Oh, yeah. That day off has recharged the analogy supply BIG-TIME. I speak to power with board games. Back off before I go all Connect Four on your ass.