Monday, October 11, 2004

I don't have a strong feeling about the bump in Bush's jacket. He might have a radio prompter hidden back there, it might be something else, or it might be nothing at all. That's not to say I don't care. As an unemployed historian and trivia monger (is that redundant?) I'd love to know. I just don't think it matters as far as the election is concerned.

This is almost an exact parallel to fountain-pen-gate over in Right Blogistan. Last week the rights blogs were all over themselves trying to prove Kerry took something out of his jacket pocket at the start of the first debate. After treating the debate video like the Zapgruder film and enhancing it frame by frame, they were able to triumphally announce that Kerry had brought an unauthorized fountain pen into the debate!!! My response to their proof in fountain-pen-gate is the same as their response would be to our proof in rumpled-jacket-gate, so what. This is not a game of Monopoly. Proving a technical moment of "cheating" does not disqualify the other side. You do not win the election by default.

Whether or not Bush wore a wire has no more bearing on the election than whether or not Kerry brought an unapproved fountain pen. On the other hand, it's still fun to speculate over. So let's look at the alternatives. Something was under his jacket or he just had a wrinkled jacket.

The main problem I have with the wire theory is that between the shoulder blades seems like a stupid place to put the receiver. Wouldn't you put it in a less obvious place, like in the small of the back or in the inside breast pocket of his jacket? Maybe there's a reason it has to be in that spot. I did all my high school debates without a wire so I'm not that familiar with the technology. Some have suggested that he wears a back brace as a result of all the falls caused by bicycles, Segways, and killer ninja pretzels. There is a certain logic to this. He is a klutz and he enough of a macho idiot that he would want to hide the fact that he has a bad back. Some have suggested that it's the strap from a bullet-proof vest. I lean toward this one. Bush lives in enough of a protective bubble that I could see him or his handlers becoming apprehensive about appearing before a unknown crowd. It's also possible, though no one has yet suggested it, that it's a brain controlling alien parasite like the one that attached itself to Lando during the last season of Babylon 5. Interestingly, the White House has only denied the wire and bullet-proof vest theories.

It is possible that it really was just an oddly shaped wrinkle. You would expect the president to be able to get a better fitting jacket than that. Even Andy Rooney's jackets don't form a big square lump between his shoulder blades when he's standing erect. It could be a result of Bush's slowly morphing into Nixon, a man whose clothes fit notoriously badly. Maybe he has that horrible disease that has been causing William Buckley to slowly melt over the years.

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