The Actors Offstage
Michael Ubaldi, October 6, 2004.
President Bush in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, delivering a well-publicized address on policy:
When my opponent first ran for Congress, he argued that American troops should be deployed only at the directive of the United Nations.
The American people saw John Kerry on Thursday night. They don't need the vice president or the president to tell them what they saw.
They saw it, all right. I saw John Kerry speaking with reasonable appeal on Iraq. Yet trying to help, Edwards betrayed his lawyer's prerogative: it's about what we all saw. You saw it, didn't you? Then that's what is. The mercy of American life lets a man have another chance when he stumbles. It was not meant to be an infinite lease on the interpretation of his past, distant or seven days ago. Journalists should be careful of speculating on a politician's ability to "reintroduce" himself: if he needs to try he's a phony, and his game becomes a matter of how many people will see through the ruse. Just because I saw Max Klinger dress up in drag on MASH doesn't mean I thought he deserved a ticket home from Korea.
The vice president scolded Edwards a few moments later: what one presents must be in accordance with what one does and has done, or else it's just theater.