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More American Politics – Sorry Andrew, It’s Unavoidable Right Now

This Magazine Staff

CNN’s Tucker Carlson writes a live-action blog during the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates. Few surprises in his responses to the Cheney/Edwards debate (the man wears a bow-tie), which most media concedes was a hard-fought draw between two tenacious, intelligent politicians. But one comment from Carlson starts the bells ringing for me, and I’d like some feedback on this. Here he is responding to Edwards from early in the debate:

Why the world hates the U.S.

Posted: 9:28 p.m. ET

What a ludicrous argument Edwards is making. The rest of the world hates us because Bush is a liar? Please.

It’s true that Bush is wildly unpopular in Europe. But the United States is distrusted abroad because of longstanding, bipartisan policies like support for Israel.

Thinking of all the reasons why I, or some other non-American might distrust the current American administration, longstanding support for Israel doesn’t even approach the long list. Clinton carried on eight years of bipartisan support for Israel and has never lost his worldwide popularity, despite some disastrous failings. If Carlson is reflecting a genuine right-leaning American belief about its position in the world, then that demographic in the US is even more insulated from reality than I’ve previously suspected.

My three responses to last night’s debate:

1. I thought the moderator’s use of the expression “a heartbeat away from the top job” was a bit insensitive to the angry man with the pacemaker sitting to her left. Then again, he didn’t seem to mind.

2. Edwards’ expansive discussion of Cheney’s gay daughter was a masterful performance of issue advertisement disguised as genuine admiration. He’s one slick dude – and he got away with it, because Cheney just about fell off his chair and never recovered on the point – and the same goes for every mention of Halliburton.

3. Edwards simply IS less qualified to be the on deck hitter for democracy. He had no good answer to the heartbeat away question and that was his worst moment in an overall strong showing last night. On the other hand, he made a scoring jab suggesting Cheney’s 30-year resume of public service shows the experience of time-served but does not in any way prove he is the VP America needs right now.

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