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.