Friday, July 30, 2004

Let the games begin

It's been said that John Kerry doesn't really come alive in a political campaign until the fourth quarter, and I think last night he proved it. Although I think he could have shaved a good 10 minutes off his speech, I thought it was excellent (though I don't know why he has to give that sheepish grin after every applause line) and for the first time I thought he could be a formidable challenger to President Bush. I could have done without his corny "John Kerry reporting for duty" opener, in which he saluted. Enough already. I do, however, think it's a testimony to how much Bush is perceived to have bungled the war in Iraq that Democrats are able to credibly claim that they are the party that is friendly to the United States military.

Read my good friend Dave Copeland's take on the speech here. I agree with Dave on many points, namely, that fears over outsourcing, which Kerry exploits, are overblown, and that regulation of pharmaceutical companies could be dangerous. Unfortunately, Bush's own record on free trade isn't great, and the truth is there isn't a lot to distinguish the two men's positions. (If we're being honest, we'll admit that Ralph Nader on the left and Pat Buchanan on the right are correct--on many issues there is no longer much difference between the two parties.) I'm also not thrilled to hear Kerry promise a laundry list of government goodies, but I also don't think he's going to have a workable majority in Congress--if he has a majority at all--to do everything he wants. 

In the end, though I will say, despite all my cynicism, that I was damn near inspired by Kerry last night. I at least felt that I could vote for Kerry, and not just against George W. Bush.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The still photos of the salute are even goofier than the video.

The best part of the speech was surfing between channels afterwards and finding the ballon guy on CNN.

Surprising that two of the most negative stories were out of Boston.
An Uphill Battle for Kerry - Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe
Rushed Speech, Lost Opportunity - Thomas Oliphant, Boston Globe

The commentary I thought was the most insightful came from the National Review Via USA Today (McNews).

Kerry: Undecided to the End - Jonah Goldberg, USA Today

... Kerry is running during a war that some consider vital, some see as confusing and others dismiss as unnecessary. Kerry wants to win over all three groups by agreeing with all of them. He does this by talking in paragraphs of boring logical-loop-the-loop sentences that seem to be written in vanishing ink. ...
- AtPC

5:34 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I agree that Kerry's speech had too many specific proposals that he shouldn't be unveiling at a convention, and I also agree that things are going to be tough from an Electoral College standpoint. I do take issue with Goldberg's contention that Kerry and Edwards aren't serious about combating terrorism. (Though I do think it's silly to imply that more fireman are what America needs.) I think if Bush counters with a detailed plan and timetable for gradual withdrawl of troops from Iraq, Kerry could have problems. But Bush hasn't done that, and quite frankly, by desperately trying to enlist the aid of our allies, Bush has been essentially adopting Kerry's plan for Iraq. Kerry's plan to increase troop strength, and particularly increase special forces, is a good plan. Let's just hope that the war in Iraq and the burden it has placed on our fighting forces hasn't made military service so unattractive that recruiting becomes an impossible task.

There's something a bit disingenious about complaining that Kerry hasn't said what he'd do in Iraq. Granted, he voted to give the president authority to go to war, but at the end of the day it was the president's decision to fight an unnecessary war.

11:50 AM


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