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Friday, July 30, 2004

The Speech 

MSNBC - Text of Kerry's acceptance speech
Well, I watched The Speech and I loved it - this one really was a "slam-dunk". Here are the Cathie awards to Kerry:

Best one-liner: "I'm not making this up. I was born in the West Wing!"

Turning the stupidest Republican 'attack', that he was raised overseas, on its ear: "On one occasion, I rode my bike into Soviet East Berlin. And when I proudly told my dad, he promptly grounded me. But what I learned has stayed with me for a lifetime. I saw how different life was on different sides of the same city. I saw the fear in the eyes of people who were not free. I saw the gratitude of people toward the United States for all that we had done. I felt goose bumps as I got off a military train and heard the Army band strike up "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Subtle and not-so-subtle comparisons to Bush: "I ask you to judge me by my record." "Let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class." "Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers." "Some issues just aren't all that simple." "I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war . . . You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace." "There is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words." "The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom." "As President, I will not evade or equivocate." "That flag doesn't belong to any president. It doesn't belong to any ideology and it doesn't belong to any political party. It belongs to all the American people." "I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation - not the Saudi royal family." "Let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States." "I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. " "For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come."

Strongest red meat statements: "I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a Vice President who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.

Destined to be the most televised line: "As President, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House."

Actually the most radical and far-reaching policy change -- health care as a right: "Health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a right for all Americans."

And the image which DNC hopes the RNC will attack: Kerry giving CPR to a hamster. It was a pretty silly little story, and the image is, on the surface, just as ridiculous as the biosuit photo But if the Republicans fall into the trap of actually SAYING it is silly . . . well, is there a parent anywhere who hasn't done whatever it takes to try to save their child's pet? It's the universal human experience, really.

I must admit that didn't watch a lot of the press analysis afterwards -- there seemed to be a total obsession on all the networks with reporting about how Kerry had delivered the speech in time for network coverage cutoff, to the point that he did not let the convention applaud the individual speech lines as long as they wanted to. I listened to a pretty incoherent "reply" from some RNC spokesperson, who couldn't seem to identify anything in the speech that the republicans disagreed with, exactly. And I turned off the TV coverage when I heard Chris Matthews cut off Willie Brown's attempt to discuss the speech content, saying he didn't want to discuss the substance, only the process -- oh, give me a break!
None of the pundits seemed to grasp that long pauses for applause and cheering would have screwed up the speech's rhythm and its pace of urgency. The arch of this speech was actually circular -- he returned to the same themes again and again, so that even if someone listened only to five or 10 minutes, they would still get most of the message. Overall, I conclude it was honest, straightforward, and clear on what the democrats are promising in this campaign. Now, I'm off to read what the other bloggers think . . .

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