03 September 2004

Repo Day 4 Supplement - Kerry Rally

Maybe I was wrong, and Kerry has gone off the deep end. A midnight rally? And would you believe he is again (still) saying he is more qualified to be commander in chief because he served in Vietnam? Could somebody please tell him that war is over? And when he says "as a young man I defended this country..." will somebody ask him how the Vietnam War was more a defense of America than the Iraq war which he seems to believe is not? One of us is missing something, and I'm pretty sure it's Kerry, and I'm pretty sure it's a clue. Good grief.

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?

Repos done - or are the Crats done?

The commentary will be fairly brief, as I have once again been forced to flip between Cowboys preseason football and the convention. As an aside, I'm glad to see Randall Williams finally making some nice catches. Also, Antonio Bryant has looked awfully good throughout preseason. DB is a big concern - Bruce Thornton looked utterly lost tonight, and both Jemeel Powell and Pete Hunter are not much better. If you play fantasy football, Daunte Culpepper and randy Moss are good bets for week one. Hate to say it, but I'm afraid I believe it.

"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

Repos day 3

Well, the start was not great. Mike Reagan was pretty flat, and the video was awful. Not awful in general, but awfully inappropriate to the occasion. It was a memorial video of the funeral. I think we got enough funeral in June. Why did they not make a video tribute to Reagan's life, and his presidency? Why not something that would extend upon Arnold's theme linking the war on communism to the war on terrorism? I really disliked that video. Maybe even more than I disliked the GWB campaign video that followed.

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

Repos - Days 1 & 2

Sorry - didn't think to write out my notes during day one. Plus, I was flipping over to the Cowboys preseason game a lot. Or was I switching over to the convention a little?

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...