Thursday, October 07, 2004

Maureen Dowd sees Jr. in serious Oedipal rebellion against his all too grown up Daddy and thinks Kerry tapped into that tension last Thursday night:
Even though the president, waving off any attempts to put him "on the couch," refuses to acknowledge any Oedipal sensitivities, John Kerry artfully drilled into the sore spot in the first debate.
Senator Kerry evoked the voice of Bush 41 to get under 43's thin skin. The more Mr. Kerry played the square, proper, moderate, internationalist war hero, the more the president was reduced to childish scowling and fidgeting, acting like a naughty little boy who refuses to sit in his seat and eat his spinach and do all the hard things a parent wants you to do.
"You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad beyond Basra," Mr. Kerry said, as W. blinked and burned. "And the reason he didn't is, he said, he wrote in his book, because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. That's exactly where we find ourselves today. There's a sense of American occupation."

Moving from that sore spot to Tuesday night, Ms. Dowd adds a dimension to the dynamic between Edwards and Cheney that I described after their debate. I said: " A couple of times [Cheney] refused to rebut Edwards's points, basically waving a dismissive hand in disgust and refusing to dignify such silliness with an answer." Dowd's take on it is that it "was a sign of how unnerved W. was that he had to rely on his own dark, foreboding and pathologically unapologetic surrogate Daddy, Dick Cheney, to clean up his debate mess and get the red team back in the game. The vice president shielded the kid by treating John Edwards as even more of a kid."
Dowd pins down the psychology at play in the dismissiveness I noticed. There's plenty more of interest in her column. Click here to read it.


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