Friday, October 1
DNC Releases New 'Faces of Frustration' Post Debate Video
October 1,2004

Video Highlights Bush's Debate Frustration, Anger, Annoyance

WASHINGTON, DC – The Democratic National Committee released a new "Faces of Frustration" post-debate video today featuring a compilation of George W. Bush's angry, frustrated, annoyed, and peeved reactions to John Kerry's strong debate performance.

"Last night at the debate in Miami, John Kerry looked and acted Presidential, while George Bush just seemed petulant," said DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe. "George Bush had a record of failure to defend, and he failed to defend it. He refused to take responsibility for his go it alone rush to war, and tt times, he was defensive, annoyed, arrogant, even angry, and showed it."

To view Faces of Frustration, click below.

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Tomgram: Chernus, Presidential fiction on the morning after
Tom Engelhardt, Tom, October 1,2004

Just turning on the debate tonight, I felt like I had been consigned to some circle of Hell. A completely circumscribed hour and a half in the company of the two people I'd probably least like to hear from at present. ...

One irony did strike me as I watched a rare only half-controlled Bush performance where he did not look like his usual relaxed, folksy self: The Republicans love to denounce Hollywood, but they have proved the most fabulous purveyors of fiction and seductive imagery in our recent political history. Reagan may have been our official actor-president, but George has been much underestimated for his ability to act out both the roles of "George Bush" and of the President. ... ...

Normally surrounded by blanketing "security," the President's campaign road events -- with their carefully reserved tickets, their choreographed chants and softball questions, their air of private theatrical performances only open to invited (or paying) guests -- have all the easy, repetitive smoothness of a Little Mermaid-like stage show at Disneyland. Far more than in any other campaign of our lifetime, the Bush campaign, until tonight, has really been a fabulously successful cartoon version of politics, buffered from any reality whatsoever.

Unscripted realities have generally been kept well out of sight in blocked off protest zones and when anyone has crashed the campaign's space -- anyone, that is, wearing the wrong t-shirt or protesting in any way -- that person has almost instantly been airbrushed away.

Who else has ever created such a self-enclosed political universe, so -- as everyone likes to say -- "on message"?
(And imagine that, at any given moment, there are not one but two performances taking place -- the second being a carefully coded set of signs and signals for the President's fundamentalist Christian audience.) ... ...

As it happens, the Bush administration's skills have been dazzling and attractive only domestically. ... ....

But if your goal is power at home and the world be damned, then the George machine has been a remarkably effective image producer, given the minimalist materials at hand. (Think Iraq, the price of a barrel of oil, jobs in America, or the economy generally.)

Whether or not that was changed by the first debate I don't know, but it's enough to drive you bonkers.

His "ranch" in Crawford isn't actually a ranch; his "Texas" youth happened mostly in the East; his "military service" wasn't really military service; his "success" in business was a sham; little that he said in his last debates against Al Gore bore any relation to the policies he's since pursued (remember his humility about "nation-building efforts" back then); his Iraq, of course, isn't Iraq; his version of war, learned in the movie theaters of his childhood, bears no relation to war; and so on into some clean, well-lighted nightmare of the soul.

The flamboyant enemies he's preferred -- Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and now Abu Musad al-Zarqawi -- have themselves been fascinated by our image-making skills and have been into making their own images and fictions in imitation of the Hollywood that turned out Predator, Alien, and any number of catastrophe films.
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