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On the Cognitive Style of the Second Debate

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 20 years ago, in 2004, on the World Wide Web.

Watching Bush overcompensate during the second debate, I couldn’t help but think of another famous debate, which I think pretty much sums up the whole Bush debate strategy against Kerry:

(Bugs Bunny is standing on stage, imitating Theodore Roosevelt)

I speak softly, but I carry a big stick!

(Yosemite Sam storms the stage, pushing Bugs Bunny away from the mic, with a plank in his hand)

Well, I speak LOOOOOOOUD, and I carry a BIIIIIIIIIIGGER stick! And I use it, too!

(Sam thwacks Bugs Bunny with the plank)

— Ballot Box Bunny, 1951

Come to think of it, maybe there’s a metaphor there for the cognitive style of the Bush re-election campaign as a whole.

Further reading

The talking-points buzzword from the Republicans following the debate was dominated (I heard Republican campaign zombies repeat the claim that Bush dominated the debate three or four times in a row in the space of fifteen minutes). Of course, the point of a debate is to get at the truth, not to dominate, but the press strategy was pretty clearly tuned ahead of time to Bush’s strategy of overcompensating for last week’s meandering performance. In any case, for actual commentary on the content of the debate, you might want to check out feministe’s morning-after fact check or Cleis’s live-updated post).

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  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

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