Monday, September 20, 2004


Why don’t you all read the transcript of Kerry’s speech, so I don’t have to?

Oh, all right. Some of it, quoted below, constitutes the best rhetoric I’ve heard yet from Kerry (actually, I’ve only read it so far, I’m sure it won’t sound nearly as good when I hear it in Kerry’s own irritating voice).

On the one hand, it’s a strong indictment of Bush’s failures and misjudgements, but on the other hand he says that he’ll fight the same crusade, but do it better. “The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies.” You’ll note he never defines “the terrorists,” so it’s a little hard to tell who all these people are he plans to “destroy.”

“To win, America must be strong.” Check. “And America must be smart.” Uh oh.

“His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.”

“The President now admits to ‘miscalculations’ in Iraq. That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment – and judgment is what we look for in a president.” This line is almost too clever, or needed a bridging sentence; it took me a second to realize that the bit about “accounting errors” was a criticism of Bush’s use of the word “miscalculations” to minimize his own incompetence.

He quotes the Republicans (McCain, Lugar, Hagel) now criticizing Bush’s Iraq policy in order to deflect the charge that his own criticisms are partisan, without adding that McCain (not sure about the other 2) wants a massive attack on Fallujah.

And Kerry’s own ideas for Iraq are anemic: get other countries to give aid, bribe them with shares in Iraq’s oil industry in exchange for sending troops. Turn the page. A fresh start. A lot about dealing with Europeans, not a lot about how to deal with the Iraqis, except training a lot more of them to be soldiers.

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