We'll see how this works blogging semi-live, but I'll re-structure a bit and open with my reaction.
I thought Kerry sounded angry for most of the speech. Maybe he is, but is that the tone he wanted?
His makeup man needs to be shot - Kerry looked better in the bunny suit. Kerry is trying to be Kennedy, but he's sweating like Nixon.
As to presentation, John Kerry was in the convention hall, and the delegates were in the convention hall, but was it the same convention hall? I thought the two sides had trouble getting together on laugh and applause lines, at least in the first half of the speech.
I score this speech as a disappointment. But a caveat - I thought Staccato Al Gore was a bomb in 2000 - Rapid Fire Al delivered the speech like he was calling a horserace (had a plane to catch; had to go to the bathroom; had experimented with crystal meth... insert your favorite simile), and I thought Al flopped, but folks loved it, and he bounced, so what did I know?
Lots on national security - left me a skeptic, but I'm not his target. And the domestic stuff arrived, eventually.
And no Osama!
We excerpt, annotate, and fisk a bit below:
From his video - Kerry says he is running for President because he is "frustrated". Is that the sunny, optimistic message they want to project?
Hey, TIMESAVER from Drudge - embargo broken on Kerry's prepared remarks. Loose the hounds!
I was born in Colorado, in Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, when my dad was a pilot in World War II. Now, I'm not one to read into things, but guess which wing of the hospital the maternity ward was in?
We have it in our power to change the world again.
Hat tip to Howard and his Deaniacs.
And his biographical section skips right past Vietnam! He is a prosecutor, and on to the Senate.
And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.
Why we had to go to war in Kosovo remains a mystery, but this has been a Kerry line for over a year. [Mini-update - Watching Frank Luntz and his panel of voters on MSNBC, this line is reprised, and the first panelist to comment mentions Yugoslavia, and thinks Kerry is kidding on this. The rebuttal goes national!]
As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent." So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war.
Ok, so our pilots weren't in harm's way in Kosovo, I guess, because I am pretty sure there was no imminent threat.
I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a President who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.
Here is the reality: that won't happen until we have a president who restores America's respect and leadership -- so we don't have to go it alone in the world.
The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As President, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission.
That may not be a good idea.
And tonight, we have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes and ears to the truth, they should remember what America is really all about. They should remember the great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose now is to reclaim democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.
That is just insulting. Any cites, please?
What does it mean in America today when Dave McCune, a steel worker I met in Canton, Ohio, saw his job sent overseas and the equipment in his factory literally unbolted, crated up, and shipped thousands of miles away along with that job? What does it mean when workers I've met had to train their foreign replacements?
America can do better. So tonight we say: help is on the way.
Uhh, what does it mean? Global trade is good? Or maybe, we need more protectionism? What kind of help is on the way?
What does it mean when twenty five percent of the children in Harlem have asthma because of air pollution?
Call for fact-checkers.
And when I'm President, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a right for all Americans.
Wow, what about the employed?
I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another; and let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.
My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place.
Did Kerry even read the preceding bits from his own speech?
I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side.
Fortunately, the crowd cheered this line. Hey, he finally did his homework! Or maybe John Edwards helped.
It is time to reach for the next dream. It is time to look to the next horizon. For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come.
Goodnight, God bless you, and God bless America.