The Electric Commentary

Friday, September 03, 2004

Did I mention that freedom is good?

Fisking time!

This was an interesting speech more for what was not said. The Republicans kept a very moderate face on this convention the whole time. I would say that for 90% of the prime-time speeches domestic issues were ignored. Iraq was the sole focus, and foreign policy the keystone. That being said, Bush did not leave the door open to much critical analysis. When you go on about your vision of Iraq for most of a speech, you don’t relate that much actual content. Kerry was all over the map throwing out candy to various constituencies, but yesterday Bush largely ignored his biggest interest groups. Let’s pick it up here, after all the touchy-feely opening stuff.

A presidential election is a contest for the future. Tonight I will tell you where I stand, what I believe, and where I will lead this country in the next four years.
I believe every child can learn and every school must teach, so we passed the most important federal education reform in history. Because we acted, children are making sustained progress in reading and math, America's schools are getting better, and nothing will hold us back.

The “no child left behind act” is a funny thing. Conservatives don’t really like it because it gives the Fed control over what they perceive as a local matter. Liberals don’t like it because it is an unfunded mandate, and somewhat punitive towards the teachers union. It’s an interesting place to start your list of accomplishments. Whether it has been effective is also up for debate. Public education certainly needs some fixing up, but this act seemed like window dressing to me. The kind of thing you pass just so you can mention it in a convention speech. Ah ha!

I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor America's seniors, so I brought Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare. Now seniors are getting immediate help buying medicine. Soon every senior will be able to get prescription drug coverage, and nothing will hold us back.

AAHHHH! This is the essence of why I don’t like the guy. Let’s buy off old people. Conservatives were all gritting their teeth through this paragraph. Why are drugs something that the government should provide? Why not X-Box’s? This was also a subsidy to drug companies, and while I, unlike most, actually like drug companies, I don’t like them enough to subsidize them. Bad start for Bush if he’s going after moderate libertarians, but he’s not, so he’s probably doing well.

I believe in the energy and innovative spirit of America's workers, entrepreneurs, farmers and ranchers, so we unleashed that energy with the largest tax relief in a generation. Because we acted, our economy is growing again and creating jobs, and nothing will hold us back.

Fine. It’s true. I have no problem with said tax cuts. I’m not sure how much they actually did to stimulate the economy. It is probably less than Republicans claim but more than Democrats claim. But I do know that cutting taxes and raising spending simultaneously is a bad idea, and until his administration becomes more conservative with regard to spending, these tax cuts are open to criticism. There were tax cuts on the table that would have done a lot more for the economy, in particular, cutting the double tax on dividends. Instead he went with a graded income tax reduction. Not terrible, but not ideal. Still it’s something.

I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people.
If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy.
This will not happen on my watch.
I am running for president with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and a more hopeful America. I am running with a compassionate conservative philosophy: that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives.


How exactly do you help people without controlling their lives? For someone who frequently breaks out the Reagan comparison, he certainly doesn’t seem to think that “government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”

I believe this nation wants steady, consistent, principled leadership. And that is why, with your help, we will win this election.
The story of America is the story of expanding liberty, an ever-widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more.
Our nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom.


Steady, consistent, principled leadership. Here’s to the status quo!

The times in which we work and live are changing dramatically. The workers of our parents' generation typically had one job, one skill, one career, often with one company that provided health care and a pension. And most of those workers were men.
Today, workers change jobs, even careers, many times during their lives. And in one of the most dramatic shifts our society has seen, two-thirds of all moms also work outside the home.
This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family, and have a rewarding career. And government must take your side.

As I said to Senator Kerry. I don’t want your help. Don’t take sides. You’re the frickin’ government.

Many of our most fundamental systems -- the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training -- were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow. We will transform these systems so that all citizens are equipped, prepared, and thus truly free to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams.
My plan begins with providing the security and opportunity of a growing economy. We now compete in a global market that provides new buyers for our goods, but new competition for our workers. To create more jobs in America, America must be the best place in the world to do business.


Cough-steel tariffs-cough. Excuse me.

To create jobs, my plan will encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making the tax relief permanent.

Restrain spending? I just heard you rail through all of the people you were going to help with free drugs and whatnot. Where are you going to cut from? If I were Kerry’s people I would start getting my quadrennial “scare the elderly by claiming social security and Medicare will be discontinued” ads ready.

To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Are we hiring people to work on cold fusion? Opening up domestic oil fields? How will jobs be created through becoming energy independent? And how are we going to become energy dependent?

To create jobs, we will expand trade and level the playing field to sell American goods and services across the globe.

AHH! Can one of the parties be for free trade? Please? Leveling the playing field? Why don’t we just outsource our trade policy to Coldplay?

Also, isn't this very language "leveling the playing field" often reviled by Republicans when affirmative action is the topic?

And we must protect small-business owners and workers from the explosion of frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across our country.

John Edwards, I’m looking in your direction.

Another drag on our economy is the current tax code, which is a complicated mess, filled with special interest loopholes, saddling our people with more than 6 billion hours of paperwork and headache every year.

I know because I passed a lot of those.

The American people deserve -- and our economic future demands -- a simpler, fairer, pro-growth system.
In a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code.

Funny thing. Everyone claims that they want a more simple tax code, but the reason that the tax code is complicated is because simple tax codes are easy to cheat (Not that I necessarily have a problem with that, per se). When you have an income tax the first thing that you must do is define income. Defining income creates all of the complexity that exists in the tax code. Without it, income is very easy to hide. Still want a simplified tax code?

Another priority in a new term will be to help workers take advantage of the expanding economy to find better and higher-paying jobs. In this time of change, many workers want to go back to school to learn different or higher-level skills. So we will double the number of people served by our principal job training program and increase funding for community colleges.

More spending! Yeah! And why community colleges? I have nothing against them, it just seems like a strange investment.

I know that with the right skills, American workers can compete with anyone, anywhere in the world.
In this time of change, opportunity in some communities is more distant than in others. To stand with workers in poor communities and those that have lost manufacturing, textile, and other jobs, we will create American opportunity zones.


Umm, OK. After that can we create a few wacky-fun-party zones?

In these areas, we'll provide tax relief and other incentives to attract new business and improve housing and job training to bring hope and work throughout all of America.

Because that is a good way to simplify the tax code.

As I've traveled the country, I've met many workers and small- business owners who have told me that they are worried they cannot afford health care. More than half of the uninsured are small- business employees and their families.
In a new term, we must allow small firms to join together to purchase insurance at the discounts available to big companies.


I’m pretty sure that this can happen now. I don’t think it is collusion under current law, which is the only thing I can think of that would be problematic. But I suppose that making it simpler to do so is not a bad idea.

We will offer a tax credit to encourage small businesses and their employees to set up health savings accounts and provide direct help for low-income Americans to purchase them. These accounts give workers the security of insurance against major illness, the opportunity to save tax-free for routine health expenses, and the freedom of knowing you can take your account with you whenever you change jobs.

Not bad. It probably creates a tax shelter, but other than that it’s not a bad health care idea at all.

We will provide low-income Americans with better access to health care. In a new term, I will ensure every poor county in America has a community or rural health center.

I knew there had to be a gigantic spending initiative in here somewhere, and here it is. Who needs a new community health center? Get in line folks.

As I have traveled our country, I've met too many good doctors, especially OB/GYNs, who are being forced out of practice because of the high cost of lawsuits.
To make health care more affordable and accessible, we must pass medical liability reform now.
And in all we do to improve health care in America, we will make sure that health decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.


Yes and yes. Punitive damages are ridiculously high, and tort reform is needed. This is another shot at John Edwards as well.

In this time of change, government must take the side of working families.
In a new term we will change outdated labor laws to offer comp-time and flex-time. Our laws should never stand in the way of a more family-friendly workplace.


I would like to see a more specific proposal here. Will this be like the controversial over-time decision that just went into affect?

Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security and dignity and independence.
Thanks to our policies, home ownership in America is at an all- time high.
Tonight we set a new goal: 7 million more affordable homes in the next 10 years, so more American families will be able to open the door and say, "Welcome to my home."
In an ownership society, more people will own their health plans and have the confidence of owning a piece of their retirement.
We'll always keep the promise of Social Security for our older workers.
With the huge baby boom generation approaching retirement, many of our children and grandchildren understandably worry whether Social Security will be there when they need it.
We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account, a nest egg you can call your own and government can never take away.
In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path, a path to greater opportunity, more freedom and more control over your own life.


I’ve heard a bit about the “ownership society” portion of the speech. I think it’s a good idea. Now he’s trying to appeal to folks like me. Too bad about the first part of the speech. But increasing ownership and strengthening property rights are good ideas. It might be a little dry here, and the “they’re going to take away social security and Medicare” ads just got a little more fuel, but I think he’s doing well at this point.

And the path begins with our youngest Americans.
To build a more hopeful America, we must help our children reach as far as their vision and character can take them.
Tonight, I remind every parent and every teacher, I say to every child: No matter what your circumstance, no matter where you live, your school will be the path to promise of America.
We are transforming our schools by raising standards and focusing on results. We are insisting on accountability, empowering parents and teachers, and making sure that local people are in charge of their schools.
By testing every child, we are identifying those who need help, and we're providing a record level of funding to get them that help.


Really? I may be unaware about the funding part (and if this is in fact true, I don’t like the government setting “record levels of funding” anyway) but I thought no child left behind was unfunded. I still think this is a lose-lose issue for Bush and this is the second time he has mentioned it.

In northeast Georgia, Gainesville Elementary School is mostly Hispanic and 90 percent poor. And this year, 90 percent of its students passed state tests in reading and math.
The principal -- the principal expresses the philosophy of his school this way: "We don't focus on what we can't do at this school; we focus on what we can do. And we do whatever it takes to get kids across the finish line."
See, this principal is challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations.
And that is the spirit of our education reform and the commitment of our country: No dejaremos a ningun nino atras. We will leave no child behind.


I can speak Spanish! And look, some minorities like me! Heart-warming anecdotes are always a good idea. I’m getting all warm and fuzzy inside.

We are making progress. We are making progress. And there is more to do.
In this time of change, most new jobs are filled by people with at least two years of college, yet only about one in four students gets there. In our high schools, we will fund early intervention programs to help students at risk. We will place a new focus on math and science.


OK Jimmy, if there are 1000 species on the ark and there are 2 of each animal, how many total animals are there. Whoops, we’re out of time. Next period in science class we’ll talk about how fossils were put there by the devil.
Sorry, sorry, that was crude. It’s the whole stem cell thing. (which he hasn't mentioned yet, by the way. I wonder how it's polling.) Hostility towards progress is not good science.

As we make progress, we will require a rigorous exam before graduation. By raising performance in our high schools and expanding Pell Grants for low and middle-income families, we will help more Americans start their career with a college diploma.

More spending. How can some Democrats seriously refer to him as the most right wing president ever? There is no evidence for it.

America's children must also have a healthy start in life. In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention or information to stand between these children and the health care they need.
Anyone who wants more details on my agenda can find them online. The web address is not very imaginative, but it's easy to remember: georgewbush.com.


I’m Internet savvy! And please, won’t someone think of the children!

These changing times can be exciting times of expanded opportunity.
And here, you face a choice. My opponent's policies are dramatically different from ours.
Senator Kerry opposed Medicare reform and health savings accounts. After supporting my education reforms, he now wants to dilute them. He opposes legal and medical liability reform. He opposed reducing the marriage penalty, opposed doubling the child credit, opposed lowering income taxes for all who pay them.
AUDIENCE: Boooo.
BUSH: Wait a minute, wait a minute.
To be fair, there are some things my opponent is for.
He's proposed more than $2 trillion in new federal spending so far, and that's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts.
And to pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes. And that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps.


Man, these times sure are changing a lot. I think they have changed 10 times already tonight.

Time to rip on Kerry. How much spending has Bush proposed so far? Is it that different? How about some deficit reduction.

His policies of tax and spend, of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity, are the politics of the past. We are on the path to the future, and we're not turning back.
In this world of change, some things do not change: the values we try to live by, the institutions that give our lives meaning and purpose. Our society rests on a foundation of responsibility and character and family commitment.
Because family and work are sources of stability and dignity, I support welfare reform that strengthens family and requires work.
Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child.


I suppose this had to come some time. I’m sick of it as a political issue. The first time I cringed during the speech. Oh well. Also notice that stem cell research is still AWOL from this speech.

Because religious charities provide a safety net of mercy and compassion, our government must never discriminate against them.

OK, when exactly did the government discriminate against them? All of that tax-exempt status isn’t quite good enough?

Because the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society, I support the protection of marriage against activist judges.

Boooo! Still no word on how it would harm marriage. Maybe he’s saving that for the debates.

And I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law.

I actually think that it’s tough to well what a judge will do until he’s been around for a while. I like a lot of conservative judges, and I really really dislike activist judges. But activist judges pop up on both sides, plus no one cares about this issue except for lawyers.

My opponent recently announced that he is the candidate of "conservative values," which must have come as a surprise to a lot of his supporters.

Oh great, now there are two candidates of “conservative values.” I wonder if Nader got on the ballot here.

Just kidding.

Now, there are some problems with this claim. If you say the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood, I'm afraid you are not the candidate of conservative values.
If you voted against the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act, which President Clinton signed, you are not the candidate of conservative values.
If you gave a speech, as my opponent did, calling the Reagan presidency eight years of "moral darkness," then you may be a lot of things, but the candidate of conservative values is not one of them.


Personally, if I ever run for an office, I will never be a candidate of conservative values, whatever that means.

This election will also determine how America responds to the continuing danger of terrorism, and you know where I stand.
Three days after September the 11th, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the twin towers.
Workers in hard hats were shouting to me, "Whatever it takes." A fellow grabbed me by the arm, and he said, "Do not let me down." Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America -- whatever it takes.
So we have fought the terrorists across the Earth, not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake.


Time for the foreign policy section.

Our strategy is clear. We have tripled funding for homeland security and trained half a million first responders because we are determined to protect our homeland.
We are transforming our military and reforming and strengthening our intelligence services. We are staying on the offensive, striking terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.
And we are working to advance liberty in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring a future of hope and the peace we all want. And we will prevail.
Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of Al Qaida.
Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fund-raising. Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat. And Al Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks.
Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror. Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders. Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests. Libya is dismantling its weapons programs. The army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom. And more than three-quarters of Al Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed.
We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer.


These are all good accomplishments, and he is smart to mention them. I am willing to bet that we hear nothing of the chaos in Iraq, or specific policy initiatives to deal with it.

This progress involved careful diplomacy, clear moral purpose and some tough decisions.
And the toughest came on Iraq. We knew Saddam Hussein's record of aggression and support for terror. We knew his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction. And we know that September the 11th requires our country to think differently. We must, and we will, confront threats to America before it is too late.


I know that his point here is that just because no WMDs were found does not mean that invading Iraq was a bad idea, but I would seriously consider not using the term anymore.

In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat. Members of both political parties, including...
Members of both political parties, including my opponent and his running mate, saw the threat, and voted to authorize the use of force. We went to the United Nations Security Council, which passed a unanimous resolution demanding the dictator disarm, or face serious consequences. Leaders in the Middle East urged him to comply.
After more than a decade of diplomacy, we gave Saddam Hussein another chance, a final chance, to meet his responsibilities to the civilized world. He again refused.
And I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office, a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make: Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman...
AUDIENCE: No.
BUSH: ... or do I take action to defend our country?
Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.
Because we acted to defend our country, the murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are history, more than 50 million people have been liberated, and democracy is coming to the broader Middle East.
In Afghanistan, terrorists have done everything they can to intimidate people, yet more than 10 million citizens have registered to vote in the October presidential election, a resounding endorsement for democracy.
Despite ongoing acts of violence, Iraq now has a strong Prime Minister, a national council, and national elections are scheduled for January.
Our nation is standing with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, because when America gives its word, America must keep its word.


Not a bad defense, but some acknowledgement that Iraq could have been handled better would have been nice. He did say “despite ongoing violence” but on the whole this is a pretty rosy picture of the war on terrorism.

SNIP

Sorry, I have to speed things along. The gist of what I cut out is “Because we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is safer.

Again, my opponent and I have different approaches. I proposed, and the Congress overwhelmingly passed, $87 billion in funding needed by our troops doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets and fuel and vehicles and body armor.
When asked to explain his vote, the senator said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."
Then he said he was "proud" of his vote. Then, when pressed, he said it was a "complicated" matter.
There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.


Actually, there is. Kerry was a knob to vote against it, but appropriating money to fight a war is very complicated. I’m sure that Kerry’s vote against it was not out of disrespect for troops. Perhaps it was pandering to the antiwar left; perhaps it was out of a principled stance against some corporate giveaway. I can't read his mind and I don’t know why, but I do know that it is not simple.

Our allies also know the historic importance of our work. About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq. I deeply appreciate the courage and wise counsel of leaders like Prime Minister Howard, President Kwasniewski, Prime Minister Berlusconi and, of course, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

I can pronounce foreign last names. See how articulate I am?

Again, my opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called American allies, quote, a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed."
That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others...
... allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician.


That was stupid of Kerry, and Bush is wise to point it out.

I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.
The people we have freed won't forget either. Not long ago, seven Iraqi men came to see me in the Oval Office. They had Xs branded into their foreheads and their right hands had been cut off by Saddam Hussein's secret police, the sadistic punishment for imaginary crimes.
During our emotional visit one of the Iraqi men used his new prosthetic hand to slowly write out, in Arabic, a prayer for God to bless America.


I’m getting the warm fuzzy feeling again.

SNIP

To sum up, “freedom is good.”

America has done this kind of work before, and there have always been doubters. In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times wrote this: "Germany is a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. European capitals are frightened. In every military headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed," end quote.

Maybe that same person is still around, writing editorials.


Amusing. It does make light of the problems that are going on in Iraq though. But still, not a bad attempt at humor.

SNIP

Freedom is still good.

And tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me.
In the last four years -- in the last four years, you and I have come to know each other. Even when we don't agree, at least you know what I believe and where I stand.


The Jesse Ventura strategy. I have faults, but at least you know all about them.

You may have noticed I have a few flaws, too. People sometimes have to correct my English.
I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it.

Good joke, I thought he stumbled a bit on the delivery. Sort of ironic actually.

Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking."

Did I just flip over to last comic standing on accident? Is that Jeff Foxworthy up there?

Now and then I come across as a little too blunt, and for that we can all thank the white-haired lady sitting right up there.

I’d like to give a shout out to my mom.

One thing I have learned about the presidency is that whatever shortcomings you have, people are going to notice them; and whatever strengths you have, you're going to need them.
These four years have brought moments I could not foresee and will not forget. I've tried to comfort Americans who lost the most on September the 11th: people who showed me a picture or told me a story so I would know how much was taken from them.
I have learned first-hand that ordering Americans into battle is the hardest decision even when it is right. I have returned the salute of wounded soldiers, some with a very tough road ahead, who say they were just doing their job. I've held the children of the fallen who are told their dad or mom is a hero, but would rather just have their dad or mom.
I've met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers and to offer encouragement to me.
Where does that strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost.
And And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent and idealistic and strong.
The world saw that spirit three miles from here, when the people of this city faced peril together and lifted a flag over the ruins and defied the enemy with their courage.


Wow. I think a few people in the audience are crying. And I think Bush is close himself. Effective. People will probably mention this part for a while.

My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose.
We see America's character in our military, which finds a way or makes one. We see it in our veterans, who are supporting military families in their days of worry. We see it in our young people, who have found heroes once again.
We see that character in workers and entrepreneurs, who are renewing our economy with their effort and optimism.
And all of this has confirmed one belief beyond doubt: Having come this far, our tested and confident nation can achieve anything.
To everything we know there is a season -- a time for sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding.
And now we have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty's century.
By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America.
Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America. And tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed.


Nice tactic. He went from an emotional downer to an optimistic raucous finish. This last part, I though was very well done. I grant you that it was almost completely devoid of any content, and was largely a “celebration of America.” Such is the advantage of being an incumbent. You don’t have to spell everything out because your record is out there.

Now we go forward, grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on Earth.
May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our great country.


Bush’s greatest accomplishment yesterday evening was that he did not provide a lot of ammunition. This was in stark contrast to John Kerry's speech. While Kerry did not go into a lot of specifics about what he would do, he made a lot of proposals, many of them bad. Bush made plenty of bad proposals too, mostly near the beginning of his speech, but most of the time he kept on an optimistic theme that looked toward a brighter future. It's cheesy and without substance, but it is hard to criticize (other than to say it is cheesy and without substance).

He kept a moderate tone the whole time, giving only token attention to his far right base. One line on abortion and gay marriage is not very much when the latter had been a campaign focus just a few weeks ago. Because he avoided those, his speech was pretty appealing. He still pledged to spend a bunch of money and raise the deficit, and I know that the conservative social agenda is still there, and will rear its ugly head at the first opportunity, but this speech was obviously supposed to play to moderates, and I suspect that is largely succeeded.

I also think that It is in the Kerry campaigns best interest to stop casting Bush as a poor speaker. He really isn't that bad unless he is speaking extemporaneously. The bar is always set low for Bush and it is easy for him to reach it. I suspect he will get a bump from this. I can hardly wait for the debates.

Fisking of Kerry's speach here.

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