03 September 2004
Side note: how will Charley and Frances affect the Florida vote? Side note 2: will Florida even matter if Bush continues to lead in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania?
BTW, the polls contnue to show Bush ahead - Zogby is out tonight with a Bush lead, along with American Research Group and Gallup. Rasmussen has him up by four, and ahead by twenty in the electoral college.
Okay, more mispronunciations:
"we kepp the peace"
Doesn't he have an odd way of speaking? The way he sort of bites off his words, with that little lunge forward?
"It looks so much more American than the Democrat convention." Wisdom of Pumpy, 2004
I didn't see much of the early show tonight. I do not like George Pataki. I did not like his whispering delivery. It reminded me very much of Stewart from MadTV, a reference I hope is not lost on you.
Here is your quiz - who said what? (Hint: the answer is either Bush or Kerry):
"I will ensure every poor county in America has a community or rural health center."
"We will add 40,000 active duty troops .... We will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives - and win the battle."
Okay, that's all I could come up with, because Kerry's speech, upon further review was so utterly devoid of content (and spent even more time than I had remembered on autobiographical fluff...) Bush, on the other hand, was utterly devoid of inspiration through the first half of his speech. He tended, as he so often did in the last election, to tell us often that he intended to lead, but did not exhibit leadership. He stuffed reams of minute, Clintonesque micro-policy fluff into a speech that should have sought something higher. At least he didn't seem awkward or tentative, and I don't recall any glaring malapropisms or mispronunciations. Except nucular, but that hardly counts any more. It's a family tradition.
Well, the second half of the speech seems better so far (I write this as I watch.) He missed a great opportunity when the protester disrupted the speech.
"My friends, that may be angry, and it may be mean-spirited, but it is also the freedom of speech that our soldiers risk their lives to protect."
I thought I caught a whiff of Peggy Noonan in that closing, although I wouldn't bet on it.
It was a pretty strong closing, and maybe strong enough to make up for the very weak beginning. His delivery was good. He didn't dazzle anybody, I don't think, and I think he tweaked Kerry just enough. I'll give him an 8, but maybe I have used the wrong difficulty score, and the Korean guy should be the next president. But I think I would have cut about the first 15 minutes - or at least abbreviated it greatly. It gave me tired-head, and, at times, annoyed me. But I understand that may be just me.
Kerry is flailing now, it seems to me (and everybody else) and I don't think, on balance, this speech will ease his worries any, although it won't push him off the deep end, either.
BTW, although this speech was nowhere near as good, portions of it reminded me of one of the greatest speeches ever, Douglas Macarthur's farewell speech. Read it, and I dare you not to get just a little bit misty-eyed:
02 September 2004
Mitt Romney had a couple okay lines, but the crowd seemed sedated. If you weren't watching closely, you may have missed the crowd shot showing Jim Kelly sitting in the audience. Now I have three reasons to like him. (The first two? Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII).
Mitt was followed by one of those celebrities that Mark Steyn derided in his column the other day as unknown, but Sara Evans is a favorite of ours, and we like the song she sang tonight - "Born to Fly." And she looks pregnant - I think it will be her third.
Time for an aside.
I saw, this morning, some little flier that supposedly has been handed out by some folks at the convention. It had a bandaid stuck to it, with a purple, heart-shaped sticker on the bandaid, and I guess it was meant to mock Kerry. As much as I love the Swift Boat Vets for Truth, I can't tell you how much this pisses me off, and how much I dislike pasty, pencil-necked Young Republicans who my imagination tells me were responsible for this gleeful mockery of something they cannot possibly understand.
There is no question that Kerry has exaggerated his record, and there are legitimate questions about some of his awards. But, in the midst of that debate, we should remember a couple of things. First, even SBVT do not question his second Purple Heart - so, by everybody's account, he does have one of them, and that is more than most of us have got. Second, whatever his motives, and whatever he did afterward, and whatever happened on March 13, 1969, and however short his tour may have been - he WAS in Vietnam, and he WAS shot at. And that is more than any of the sniveling sissies with their yuck-yuck, bandaid handouts will ever do in their pathetic, sneering lives, pasty, asinine lives.
Make no mistake - I despise John Kerry. I loathe his actions after Vietnam, and wish there were more discussion of them. But the level of ridicule I've seen and read on the medals issue from panty-waists who don't know better, but would if they'd been raised right, has really begun to anger me. And if it angers a conservative who still intends to donate money to the SwiftVets, it surely will tick off "swing voters" who were raised right.
I hope I've made a clear enough distinction between the SwiftVets, and other war vets, who have every right to be very angry about Kerry's medals, but that, as far as I am concerned, is strictly between them and Kerry. For the rest of us, the medals are not really a matter for campaign debate, and certainly not for mockery - although the conclusions we draw from their arguments should inform our judgments about Kerry's character.
End of aside.
I expected Zell Miller to give a barn-burning stem-winder, slamming liberals, endorsing Bush and bring the crowd to its feet. He delivered. Boy did "this Marine" deliver! Small point, I guess, but I wish he hadn't stepped on the applause so much. When you toss that much red meat into the cage, you've got to give the lions some time to swallow it. I really believe that this speech will have an impact on the Midwestern states. And it was the capper of the continuing "Democrats for Bush" theme of this convention.
Lynn Cheney is great, and one of the very, very few people in political life who really "gets it" on education issues. Too bad she only gave a silly intro to Dick "Big Time" Cheney.
Cheney continued the theme linking WWII, the Cold War and the current war - a linkage the Reagan tribute totally failed to make - but his delivery was awfully subdued. I guess to some it may have come off as professorial, but I think I liked the "help is on the way" speech from four years ago better. Overall, it struck a nice balance with Zell Miller's fiery delivery, though. I did like his amused and patient demeanor as the crowd reacted with cheers and jeers.
Overall, another pretty good night for the convention. The stars so far this week are defintiely
01 September 2004
It was interesting, but not terribly engaging. I do think that one of the running themes which has so far been overlooked by the punditocracy is:
"Democrats Endorse Bush"
Ed Koch opened the convention (before normal viewing hours) with his endorsement speech. Ron Silver, Hollywood liberal, strongly endorsed Bush from the podium, excoriating his professional community along the way. Zell Miller is keynoting tomorrow, I think. There are others. The commentariat is noting everybody's message, and the general theme of "Bush is Churchill" but they really seem to be missing "Democrats for Bush." My hunch is that this will not be lost on the voters (if any of them are watching.)
So... the speeches...
Ron Silver - solid. Short speech, narrow topic. He seemed angry, and not just at the terrorists. He seemed angry at his fellow liberals. It was refreshing - and appropriate in the sense that "only Nixon could go to China." Or something like that. Not sure Ron Silver is a big enough star to sway a lot of votes, but that's why I think he is part of the Democrats for Bush theme - they could probably have gotten Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson or Kelsey Grammar, but everybody knows they support Bush already.
McCain. He is often frustrating as a politician, but he is a good ally to have. His speech read better than it was delivered, but it was good. He tries to hard to be conciliatory sometimes, but he stayed on message. The Michael Moore moment was cute.
Giuliani. Not a good speaker, I don't think, but it will be tough for Democrats to say Giuliani shouldn't be talking about 9/11. Thank God he got rid of that comb-over a few years ago.
I think they did sort of begin to set a few themes for the convention on day one, but it was slow and not terribly compelling. It also was not on broadcast TV. What probably made bigger news was Bush's comment to Matt Lauer that we "can't win the war on terror." Okay, it was more nuanced than that - but that was the sound bite, and Edwards took the bait, telling Ted Koppel that he and John Kerry can win the war on terror! He sounded really tough, except that I think his voice cracked a little.
Bush did a few minutes with Rush today, and finally explained why we went to war with Iraq. Refreshingly, he talked a lot about the links with terrorism. He also addressed the argument that he should not "exploit" 9/11 by saying:
"September 11th is a defining moment in our history, and it's certainly a defining moment in my presidency, and the question is whether or not we've learned the lessons. Three quick lessons. I've already given you one lesson that I think is important to remember. We deal with threats before they fully materialize. What that means is that in the old days you could see a threat, and you may deal with it or you may not deal with it, but you never thought a threat would come to harm us. Those days are gone.
"Secondly, if the United States ever says something we better mean it, and I say, "If you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as a terrorist." When you say something you gotta act on it. And by acting on it not only is Afghanistan free, but the world now knows that we mean what we say, which makes the world a more peaceful place in my judgment, and the third thing is that these killers are people you can't negotiate with. You've got to find them."
So... Day two...
I'll skip to prime time. Mark Steyn had a kind of funny column about Republican celebrities - it was a sarcastic column which suggested that most people don't even know who our celebrities are... Well, Mark Steyn, meet Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold rocked. So far, his was easily the best speech of the convention. Only downside - he said Nixon was his inspiration to become a Republican. Minor demerit on that. The rest of his speech was uplifting, funny, humble, patriotic, cheerful and crowd-pleasing.
The Bush girls were much more genuine than the Kerry girls. They were a little awkward, but honestly, they did as good or better than most professional entertainers do when delivering the fake banter on awards shows. My favorite line:
"We had a hamster, too. Let's just say, he didn't make it."
Laura Bush. I still don't like First Ladies giving keynotes, but hers was so far superior to Teresa Heinz-Kerry's it hardly seems fair to compare them. The bar, admittedly, had been set pretty low. As long as Laura didn't come off as a weirdo, she wins the match. By that standard, she won.
What impressed me more (yes, I am easily impressed, because it truly did impress me that she did not seem like a weirdo) was her ability to articulate a worldview, a broad-reaching philosophy of government, and view of history, without ever seeming to step outside her role as wife and mother. She spoke for herself and her husband, and, while impressing her audience, never stole the spotlight, and left them feeling better about George W Bush. This was Teresa's task a few weeks ago, and she failed completely.
A side note on George P, who spoke earlier, so you may have missed him. My theory, when he left teaching a few years ago to go to law school, is that he enjoyed campaigning for Uncle W in 2000, and we will see more of him down the road.
Signing off for tonight...
22 August 2004
The head of the group, John Hurley, a semi-retired Wellesley lawyer, works full-time for the Kerry campaign, and has worked on Kerry's previous campaigns dating back to at least 1984, by his own account. He also marched in the John Kerry/VVAW-organized "Dewey Canyon III" in 1971. (The medal-tossing protest.) Read for yourself.
Hurley also has reportedly made calls to try to strong-arm people into changing their recollections of Kerry's VVAW past (such as his presence at the meeting discussing the plot to assassinate Senators.)
He even posted this note searching for one of Kerry's crew in November, 1996 - remember this when they suggest that Kerry's "Band of Brothers" reassembled on their own. In case it's purged later, here's what it says:
Trying to locate: Delbert "Del" Sandusky
Branch of Service: Navy
Unit was: swift boats
Where served: the Delta
When served: 1969
Message is: Trying to locate Delbert Sandusky for reunion of Swift Boat 94.
Please contact: John Hurley
Mailing address: 78 Longfellow Rd
City, State, Zip: Wellesley, MA 02181
Or send email to John Hurley using this automatic email form BQI@AOL.com
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth get grilled about whether they've ever voted for a Republican, attacked for their contributors, and treated like stealth political operatives. Yet every talk show Hurley has appeared on - from Hannity, to Hardball to Scarborough - gives a free pass to the guy who actually *is* a political operative.
John Hurley is a longtime Democrat activist and John Kerry supporter. He is not part of any sort of spontaneously formed veterans group in support of Kerry, and it is very dishonest to allow him to present himself as anything other than what he is. Beyond that, his first meeting with Kerry was not in the service, but in the anti-war movement - a "Band of Brothers" with whom Kerry's strongest loyalties, it would seem, still lie.
29 July 2004
In the Fleet Center, it is still September 10th.
I always find it interesting when certain words or phrases stand out like a blinking neon light as a focus-group vetted term; a word which cannot appear in so many speeches by coincidence when it is so obviously the wrong word for any normal person to use.
Tonight that word is "soldier." Over and over, the veterans, and Kerry himself, refer to him as a soldier. Kerry was not a soldier. It may seem a minor distinction to you, but it isn't. I was a soldier. Kerry was a sailor. No navy man would ever, EVER, call himself a soldier - and no self-respecting Army Man (memo to Max Cleland) would call a Navy man a soldier. Ever. It just isn't done. It's like calling a Cornhusker a Razorback. It's like calling a Cowboy a Redskin.
Briefly, back to last night... Was it just me, or was Al Qaeda also laughing when John Edwards promised to hunt them down and kill them? In the immortal words of Dick Cheney, asked what he thought of Edwards; "He's cute as a button." And he will hunt you down and kill you. Awwww, int that cuute?
Did Kerry intentionally rip off Cheney's 2000 convention speech? Or is this party just completely out of words AND ideas?
Hey where is this health care crisis that democrats have been warning us about for 12 years? Is it sort of like running out of oil that the USGS has been warning us about for 80 years? You know, when total spending in most industries goes up, it's called economic growth. I know my parents took good care of me, but they did not take me to the doctor as often as I have taken my kids. People get more procedures per capita, and nobody is turned away. We are cured of things that used to be hopeless - and living still, as it always has, costs more than dying.
Hey, if we went to war for oil, how come I'm still paying two bucks a gallon?
So now John Kerry promises to reform our intelligence agencies? Maybe if he had attended his intelligence committee meetings, he could have done that before September 11th. That IS what we pay him $150,000 a year for, after all. But that's just chump change for him, I guess - then again, so is the presidents $300K salary.
About an hour into this evening I was screaming at the television: "I get it!!! You were in Vietnam for four months!!! I get it!!! That war is over!!!"
Does Kerry always sweat so much? It suits him well. He looks less lifeless.
Hey, wait a minute... Kerry believes in science! He will cure AIDS! He is an add-ult. He is against bigotry! He was on a gunboat in the Mekong delta!
That bastard fighter pilot Bush - he was just and AIRMAN, not a SOLDIER!
I'm voting for John I Care-ee! Help is on the way! God bless the United States and the life-begins-at-conception-but-it's-okay-to-kill-them-at-8.5-months candidate of truth and freedom! It's a beautiful day!
28 July 2004
I watched some reruns of the 1984 conventions. I found it very instructive to see how similar the messages were, and even more instructive to be reminded how wrong history has proven the Democrats to have been. And I can't help thinking how very dangerous for America that the democrats still believe all these foolish prescriptions for a national security based on hugs and good wishes.
Foolish, naïve, and weak - it's a recurring Democrat theme.
Democrats should be glad that the networks aren't offering gavel to gavel coverage, because I don't think Al Sharpton would have won a lot votes. The commentators seemed surprised at how strident, and liberal his speech was - how could they be surprised? Al Sharpton doesn't care who wins this fall. He was not speaking to the seven percenters who don't know who to vote for - he was speaking to the gullible few radicals who send him money. Al Sharpton is for Al Sharpton. He was, is and always will be a two bit race hustler and con man. He is amoral and dishonest. He is a crackpot. And he was a big hit with the democrat crowd!
Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) was on TV tonight. He's a Bush supporter, who will be speaking at the Republican convention later this year. I wish republicans would make the same arguments Miller was making. He was much more articulate, much more willing to attack. The democrats always are more willing to attack. Republicans treat political opponents the way Democrats treat enemy nations. Gingerly, deferentially - as if it is more important to make a good impression than to win.
As an aside, who else thinks Bill O'Reilly is a moron?
Why do Democrats always see a dark, oppressive, divided America? As a parallel, our Plano schools are considering a program to provide breakfast for all children - so there is no stigma for the kids who qualify for free breakfast. In the article, they quoted an elementary school principal, talking about the hungry kids, who said of the hungry kids, I kid you not, "The little ones sit at their desks and cry. The older ones just get angry."
Now, I know there are people in the world who do not get enough to eat. In general, though, they do not live in Plano. Plano's median family income is $91,000 (Perspective: National median - $51,000; Beverly Hills median - $102,000). Only 3% of families here meet the Federal definition of "poor," many of them are elderly - which only means they do not have cash income, not that they have no means - and only 4.6% of the poor are under 18. I accept that there may be some folks here in town who have trouble making ends meet - but there are not children crying at their desks for food in Plano, Texas. A few years ago, I was speaking with the principal of the kids' Catholic school. To hear her describe the families at the school, you would have thought the school was in the foothills of the Appalachians, filled with the barefoot children of drunken ne'er-do-wells, farming the harsh bottom land by night, and walking the rocky roads, shoeless, to school each day. But that's not where the school is. It is, in fact, about six blocks from Troy Aikman's house. The typical parent is an orthopedic surgeon, or CEO. *WE* were quite possibly the poorest family at that school. These people see what they want to see. They can't see the forest for the sophistries.
Which brings me back to the Democrats. I'm watching Michael Dukakis now, telling his convention crowd in 1988 how tough times are, about plants shutting down, about the need for job recreation, and a living wage. In 1988. At the very peak of one of the greatest periods of economic growth since such things have been measured. You would think, listening to him, it was 1932. Maybe they just think that the only political lesson of FDR is that Democrats win BIG when there's a depression.
Democrats always decry the Republicans for favoring the wealthy. They always promise to help the poor. Why don't the Republicans ever just say: "We don't favor the wealthy, we favor wealth. We want everybody to have it." Why don't they point out that Democrats want to care for the poor like one cares for pets. Why don't Republicans "You're right. We don't like the poor. We don't think anybody should be poor."
Reason is for naught, though. Like these Plano schoolteachers, Democrats will always see smudged faces, and greasy tin plates held out before them; they will always answer, "Yes, Oliver, you may have some more." They will never be able to tell the difference between Oliver Twist and Oliver Hardy. And there will always be another fine mess they can get us into.
27 July 2004
Whenever I see Ted Kennedy's bloated face, I cannot help but think of that poor girl, gasping for air in the cold darkness, for maybe two hours, trapped underwater while Ted returned to the party, talked to a lawyer, then got a good night's sleep. How her body w3as pulled from the cold water by the sheriff while Ted continued to try to play out his cover story. How she was buried while he faked a neck injury, and used his family's money and influence to avoid the certain jail sentence that would have awaited you or me. I think of this every time I see him. And I also wonder - how often does he think of her? The girl he killed? And why don't Democrats care about her? Or you - at least not as much as they care about the Kennedy mythology.
Speaker after speaker talks about how tough they'd be on terror - going after the "right" people. They are truly Jimmy Carter's heirs. They just want it to be about Osama. It isn't. It never was. That is naïve, and willfully ignorant. Osama is one man. Without nations to support them, terrorists are powerless. When President Bush said, in 2001, that nations are either against terrorism, or against us, I agreed. I did not believe he meant it, but I agreed. I'm beginning to think he might have meant it. It is very clear that Democrats have no interest in fighting terrorism.
The Democrats' fixation with "multilateral action," by which they mean "impressing the French," reminds me very much of those pathetic kids in high school who worked so very hard to wear clothes, and listen to music, and be mean to the right kids, just so they could impress the cliquish snots who would never accept them anyway.
Clinton's speech was perfect. It was a litany of small things, from the smallish man who once was president. The man who neglected national security; who refused to respond to terrorist attacks; who actively dismantled our intelligence apparatus. And he still can't see the world beyond his adoring throngs.
It occurs to me that, as the Democrats try to counter all the liberal, flip-flop characterizations of the Republican attack ads, they continue to use his record as a veteran of Vietnam, and his principles as a war protestor. Wasn't that his first flip-flop?
Well, that's all for now. Just random thoughts - not organized, and not as long or as clever as I'd hoped. These guys just really tick me off.