Friday, September 03, 2004

Well, that's that. Not exactly a ravishing or overpowering speech by Bush 43. The Fox crowd seemed bigger on the speech than I was, but I guess I agree that it wasn't a notable failure or disaster. Pataki made Bush look good in comparison. Can't quite understand the "Pataki '08" crowd - he's so utterly colorless and bland.

Tommy Franks stepped into the campaign with both feet. Good speech, but he's got a really strange public speaking style - staggered, with the end of each sentence sitting vocally at the beginning of the next, and big gaps laid in the middle of thoughts. It sounds like he's reading bad poetry. Since we know from his memoirs that he does, indeed, write bad poetry, this may not be an accident. Always good to see a member of the Brotherhood of Bad Poets do well. I caught his interview with some of the PBS silverbacks between his speech and Pataki's. The one silverback pounded at him for a good five minutes, trying to break his discipline and get him to commit to a partisan line one way or the other on the Swift Vets furball. Franks kept leading his interviewer back to the '71 hearings, and how that told against Kerry in his decision between the two candidates. For those of you following from home, Franks isn't a Republican - says he's a determined Independent, but that he felt it necessary to express his choice this year in a more public and active fashion than the usual privacy of the voting booth. I respect that.

What I don't respect is Kerry's decision to try to upstage Bush with a midnight rally immediately following the end of the Republican Convention. This is unprecedented according to the talking heads, and is certainly disrespectful of the other party. The Republicans did no such thing after the Democratic Convention. But this *type* of behavior is vintage Kerry - it absolutely reeks of his decision in the close 1996 senatorial campaign against then-Governor William Weld, when Kerry intentionally broke a "no mudslinging" pact with Weld in the last week of the campaign, timed so that Weld had no time to retaliate. Kerry likes his nastier, more mean-spirited attacks to come with no warning, and to judge from the speech excerpts released beforehand, this one will be pretty nasty.

But it seems to be a pretty stupid attack, as well. Cheney attacked Kerry in his speech at the Convention, as is the practice for VP candidates - they're there to be the attack-dogs. Kerry's apparently decided to attack the messenger, rather than the messenger's boss. Not particularly smart, I don't think. People don't vote for the vice presidential candidate, and with Cheney in that slot, thank the hypothetical absolute for *that* mercy.

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