Friday, September 03, 2004

First shots

This morning, I will write the same topic that everyone else is writing about today:

The Red Sox are closing in on the Yankees.

What, isn't that the hot topic this morning? Gosh, I could've sworn it was, based on the "rapid response" of Kerry himself last night at a pep rally in Ohio.

Seriously, though, let's bring it back to reality: the President took the stage last night at the RNC. I won't call his performance a home run, but it was good. Very good, in fact. To the specifics:


-- task: lay out a domestic agenda. Result: good. Actually, surprisingly good. Some might complain that it was laundry-list, but it had to be done since up 'til this point, it hadn't. Ask yourself: who better to talk about this stuff, Cheney or Bush? That's a no-brainer.

Now I'm not all that big into domestic policy stuff, but I liked the President's message on helping American workers compete. Less regulation, more help for our workers (both in dough and in how-to), and a real message for all Americans: competition is good for the consumer. We can't change the playing field without affecting the best aspects of the market that work for the consumer. But we can--and will--help our workers compete in that playing field. That's a big-picture solution to the problem facing the American worker today.

I'm hugely in favor of Tort reform. I think it needs to be a bigger message in these last two months. Not just because it is the "no duh" solution to the problems with some of the key issues of our time (health care and the health of the small business sector for starters), but also because it paints a stark contrast in ideology with the Democratic ticket.

And there was a theme to the whole Domestic layout: a furthering of the ownership society, which is a real winner with me. Give the people help in staking out their own lives, and it will have a huge positive effect on the country in general. And his vision is present everywhere: from the points I talked about above, to HSA's , to education, to social security reform--EVERYWHERE!

Foreign policy: it was too long, and seemed to me at first take to be redundant in spots. (ON FURTHER REVIEW: not as much redundant as verbose--he definitely could've trimmed some time off here) BUT--still good. I like, in particular, the random smattering of Kerry quotes in here, recalling that Kerry had labeled the courageous countries standing with us in the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq "a coalition of the coerced and the bribed", as well as highlighting the absurdity (both in face value and in explanation) of Kerry's "no" vote on the $87 billion dollar supplemental spending bill that was to provide all sorts of necessary goodies to our troops in action. Also good was how he painted the picture of his decision to go into Iraq: believe in the frequently-proved-to-be-empty promises of a madman vs. defending the country.

Leadership: I like how he stresses that the decision for war rested only in one place. Brought the "man in the arena" aspect of the job out--if you haven't read that gem from Teddy Roosevelt, you simply must. The start says it all: "It is not the critic who counts. . ." Seriously, go HERE and scroll down to the highlighted parts to check it out!

General ending: I like this line when talking about New York City: "here buildings fell. . .and here a nation rose". The entire ending, in fact, was really beatiful: funny, warm, and lyrical. It may not have been the feverish ending that some were hoping for, but it was a solid performance.

COMPARISON between Bush and Kerry (Convention speeches only): on content, I'm going to give an edge to the President--but that's because I'm a conservative. His vision of the next 4 years has purpose and an overriding theme that I can believe in, whereas Kerry's proposals for greater government involvement in the most personal of issues doesn't resonate with me. On delivery, I'm going to definitely go with Bush. He wasn't perfectly smooth, but he was in control and he was relating to the audience. Kerry's speech left me kinda lukewarm to him as a person TODAY--he had plenty of anecdotes about his past, but his mannerisms were standoffish and hurried. By contrast, the President showed real emotions up on the stage, played his voice level well and kept his gestures in sync with his speech. The President played the guy who would talk WITH you; Kerry the guy who just wanted to talk TO you.

OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CONVENTION: well, we'll have to wait and see. But I look at it this way: strategically speaking, the GOP whipped the butt of the Dems. The Dems clearly believed that Bush was Bush's own worst enemy, and that a mediocre candidate and platform was going to be enough to beat this guy. The GOP, however, was hugely successful in painting Kerry not just as an alternative, but as an entirely different course for America. And while that entirely different course may play well to the left that has already decided that it hates Bush, doing a 180 right now probably doesn't seem all that attractive to the middle-of-the-road voters. I think the GOP flushed that out in spades, and their play to both the independent voters of America AND the conservative base of America couldn't have been executed better.

Here's to hoping. . .and I'm not talking about the Red Sox catching up to the Yankees.


Post a Comment

<< Home