Don’t let anyone forget "President Whiny"

The post-debate spin is on the way. Immediately after the debates, everyone but Bush’s near-psychotic core constituency knew that Kerry had crushed Bush. (When Karl Rove says that the debate won’t change anyone’s mind, you know that his guy lost really bad.) But memories fade quickly, and the Republican plants in the media will soon be talking about a completely different debate which is more to their liking.

Here’s Busybusybusy‘s summary of David Brooks, a couple of months ago:

“If you were impressed by Kerry’s convention speech then trust me, I re-read the transcript and it’s really not nearly as good as it sounded when you heard it with your own ears.”

That’s what they’re going to try to do. In 2000, people who had actually watched the Bush-Gore debates mostly thought that Gore had won. But the mighty Wurlitzer went into action, and within a few days it came to be believed that Bush had won. Hopefully Democrats will be smarter and tougher this time around.

David Brock’s Media Matters has compared what various Republican tools said before and after the debates. Before the debates, they said that the debates were very important, and that Kerry was really going to have to come through, or else he was dead meat. After the debates, the same people said that debates are really no big deal. (Digby is also tracking the post-debate spin, and Cursor’s Derelection 2000 page is a great source.)

The Bush team’s immediate response to the debates was mostly a rehash of old stuff, especially the old flipflop/waffle smear. That’s a good sign: it means that they haven’t been able to come up with anything new. But the RNC vermin are resourceful and diligent, and we should be keeping our eyes open for whatever new BS they manage to cook up. In the meantime, we should just keep asking “What the hell’s going on in Iraq?”. “Whatever happened to Osama anyway?”, “What was Dubya doing when he was supposed to be in the Alabama Guard?”, and so on all the way through the Bush Top Ten Fuckup List.

But we should not let them forget this debate, when President Whiny made his grand entry. Allow me to quote myself from this morning:

Bush feels sorry for himself. “It’s mean to talk about our allies like that”. “I do too know the difference between Saddam and Osama”. “It’s hard work….”

Where did the John Wayne Leader of the Free World go to? He was fluffing his sound bites. You have to nail them — otherwise they sound as stupid as they really are. He was hesitating for as much as a second, with that panicked President Bunnypants look on his face. During large parts of the debate, he was backpedaling, treading water, or running out the clock.

Rove says that it was one of Bush’s best debates, but that it didn’t change any minds. Go figure — that must be one of the mysteries of faith-based spin.

Rove knows that Bush lost.

Reuters relays Bush spin

Mehlman’s spin fails: his first three call-ins were pro-Kerry

Bush spin on debates (from Racicot)

(Note that “What They’re Saying: Debate One, Volume One” is missing, as is “What They’re Saying: Debate One, Volume Two”: the early reviews were pretty uniformly anti-Bush. If anyone can find a cache, send it in.

Racicot: “Truth and optimism are not competing ideals”. Sounds like denial to me. Bush always chooses optimism over truth.)

Bush on national security: Be very afraid