Powered by TypePad

« Send In The Effing Clowns! | Main | Do You Like Your OJ Cold? »

July 30, 2004


J Mann

My big gripe is that Kerry used the "thumb-fist" (that gesture where a politician pushes his fist forward, just over the podium level, with the thumb up about an inch) something like 50 times.

It is the worst of all speech gestures, worse than the point or the finger shake, and I blame Bill Clinton, who does it quite a bit.


I think his speech made it clear that this election will be the 9/10 Democrats against the 9/11 Republicans. Nothing could be clearer. At the end of the day, his instincts led him to, and through, that speech. All I can say is, I hope this election is over, for he is the "cut and run" candidate, and is willing to "play defense" at home. He might as well put a bullseye target on the US, for such a posture plays into the terrorists hands. The Bushies still have their work cut out for them, but in my mind, the differences are clear.

Good coverage and commentary, Tom!


Thanks very much. In tribute to Ted "Quagmire" Kennedy, we are calling them the "cut and swim" Democrats.


Mr Kerry emphasized 'Integrity', which I believe will be a powerful selling point for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

Two lawyers: one who made his fortune by marrying heiresses, and the other who got rich peddling junk science to semiliterate juries.

When I think of Kerry-Edwards, 'Integrity' is indeed the word that comes to mind.

Bill Peschel

Not my line, but they should rename this campaign "Dukakis: Reloaded"


Just because you're not going to vote for him doesn't mean the election's over.


Sym, my vote doesn't even count, since my state is deep blue. (Fortunately, neither side vexes me with their commercials).

And the WaPo I gleefully cite is quite clear that it is NOT over.

But if I prefaced each post with "IMHO", it would get a bit tiresome. Well, tiresome in a different way.


It wasn't that bad. I'm not a big fan of Kerry, but I think he did a good job. It's interesting how all the talking heads yesterday we're pretty unanimous that he did what he had to do, and now today the piling on begins.

He's not going to convince the W supporters, but I think he probably convinced some swing voters to have another look at him.

And besides--does anyone really listen to what candidates say, and if they do, do they really belive any of it? It was THEATRE, and it was good theatre.


David Brooks had it right about Kerry's speech on the News Hour tonight: Reading what seemed to be a good speech the day after is a "disillusioning experience". On the key issue, Iraq, Kerry was completely vacuous. The speech was a souffle: nice initial appearance but soon falling flat, flat, flat. He's toast.


I'd love it if someone could share a link to a good Bush speech. I've never heard one that didn't make my skin crawl....


For Matt:

Cecil Turner


That's not too difficult. Here's a good one that lays out the strategy for the war on terror. Best bit (condensed):

"First, we are using every available tool to dismantle, disrupt and destroy terrorists and their organizations."
"Secondly, we are denying terrorists places of sanctuary or support."
"Third, we are using all elements of our national power to deny terrorists the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they seek. "
"Fourth and finally, we are denying the terrorists the ideological victories they seek by working for freedom and reform in the broader Middle East."
The State of the Union speech was also good (even with the infamous "16 words" still in it). Best bit:
"The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, and our friends and our allies. The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi's legal -- Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups.

We will consult. But let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

Whether you agree with it or not, at least it's comprehensible. Compare that to:
"As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. 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."

And this from a man who voted for the war (but against paying for it). It's fairly obvious he has no intention of taking a position on the most important issue of the day, and either has no strategy, or refuses to lay it out for the electorate. Cringeworthy enough for you?


Line too long. Trying again:


Try this:


OK, they DO read well. My problem, is ultimately, who is giving them and how effective his actions have been. I don't find Bush believable at all--it's all rhetoric (I'll admit the same is true of Kerry.)

When someone like Bill Kristol or Sully (sometimes) explains what he believes, there's a lot I don't agree with, but it's a well-thought out and argued position, which I respect. I just don't think there's a there there with Bush.

Even if you're going to vote for Bush, I can't believe anyone could get excited about him in the same way you could about, say, Reagan. This election is, as they usually are, about the lesser of two evils.

Nick Psaki

Matt, no one would argue that President Bush is an orator. I think there is a striking difference between his style when speaking to a formal audience, and his style when speaking to a military audience. In the latter setting, he is powerful and effective. But which is more important to you: a good speech or a good leader? Bill Clinton gives good "talking head," but it goes nowhere. President Bush isn't eloquent, but he means what he says and he follows through on it.

You think there is no "there" with President Bush? On what basis do you reach that conclusion?

Richard Meixner

I would venture that one has to be more than simply a good poker player to 'bluff' one's way through HBS or fighter training, even with well greased connections. If only there were some video...

Cecil Turner


I'll readily admit his delivery leaves something to be desired. But that's mostly a matter of lack of oratorical skill (and a propensity for mangling words). There's very little variance between his words and actions. And if you assume he means what he says, Administration policies make sense--while if you try to ascribe ulterior motives, you're left with logical disconnects (e.g., if the war was about oil, it'd be far cheaper and easier to end sanctions and buy it). For all the claims of "Bush lied," the most common examples (e.g., the 16 words) end up proving Bush was telling the truth while his detractors were not. There's little doubt Slick Willie could give those speeches with a lot more panache . . . but you'd then have a legitimate concern over whether he meant any of it.

Personally, when I evaluate Administration policy, I first try to decide what the correct policy should be, and then compare it to what's being proposed. Bill Kristol's big complaint is that we need more troops in Iraq. Maybe it's because I went to the same schools as the Pentagon folks (I'm a retired officer), but my assessment matches theirs, not Bill's. Sully is overly concerned about short-term deficits that were primarily caused by the recession--IMHO he ought to be more concerned about promoting economic growth first, and fixing the deficit after the revenue source is restored. There is certainly room for debate on these (and many other) issues. But the current level of discourse appears to be accusing the other side is lying while proffering unrealistic promises, and having the chutzpah to claim it's the high road. As long as Kerry is characterizing Dick Cheney's perfectly sound energy proposals as "secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws" and offering to replace it with "new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future," he doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.


Others have made this point, but it is taking it a while to sink in for me - Kerry was not shy about prasiing Vietnam veterans, including himself. I can't find any priase in his speech for the men and women risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq today.

The closest seems to be:

So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation, here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom, on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion, and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot, for the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day and the families who pray for their return, for all those who believe our best days are ahead of us, with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for president of the United States.

All about John.

And this,later:

And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

That is somewhat different from "Thank you and well done."


I don't think you realize just how important it was for Kerry, et al, but particularly Kerry, to strike the right image. Both he and his campaign advisors knew that they had a certain threshold to pass: they need to make him seem like he could be commander-in-chief. If nothing else, in the minds of the voters, that was achieved.

The policy information comes next. Over the course of the coming weeks, those bits will be revealed.


While waiting for the speech to start, I caught Bill O’Reilly interviewing Dennis Kucinich, who gave a very strange answer to a question about Kerry’s ability to mend our relations with France. Bill O’Reilly asked how John Kerry could restore two decades of poor relations with France and Mr. Kucinich replied that in his twenty years in congress, John Kerry had developed negotiating skills and would be able to gain France as our ally. I burst out in laughter wondering what skills he could possibly have. Were they secret skills that he has been hiding and honing over these past years? If such skills actually exist, why would he have kept them to himself all these years? Why wait until you become president to reveal this talent? What is he, Spiderman? I haven't heard anyone talking about this interview, but I suppose it was overshadowed by the speech itself.

The comments to this entry are closed.