Thursday, September 02, 2004

This is your golden opportunity; He is the lightning, you the sword

As an obsessive Law & Order fan, I can't begin to express how much I love Fred Dalton Thompson introducing the president. The short biopic was infomercialesque, and not at all bad. I also enjoy the set redesign for the final night; the stellar cartography lab/dais-in-the-round gives the president a real feeling of accessibility, and having the podium itself emerge from the floor was a nicely dramatic touch. The plain podium and clean lines of previous nights was already an improvement on the overly elaborate gilded altar where Kerry spoke at the DNC, but this goes even further - and I think it speaks to differences of attitude. But I digress. As for the speech itself, more or less liveblogged: "They died with a courage that frightened their killers" - yow. Evocative. Talking about the economy - any more yet? Two months from now, the voters will choose: Bush's firm platform over indistinct flip-floppery. Let's hope. "We will extend the frontiers of freedom." Nice. Returning to the definition of a division in the world between free and unfree - and a definition we can continually keep improving. Further tax reform to promote growth of small business, not that of government? Points for good intentions, but can anyone actually pull that off nowadays? Not really affecting me much, I've mostly tuned out on the campaign's more esoteric domestic issues, but from what I do understand, portability of retirement savings plans from job to job seems to be a winner. Ditto greater ownership of one's health care, without the depression of the system that socialization would cause. He's mentioned ownership again; sweet. That's one of the things that I feel most strongly about as a conservative - the freedom to make my own decisions, not rely upon the nanny state. "A nest egg you can call your own, that government can never take away" in relation to Social Security reform? Also fantastic, calling to mind Ford's line about the size of government. "Local people in charge of schools" would also seem to tie in to the theme of personal (or lesser collective) responsibility for achievement. Screw the NEA, this is saying; individual schools or boards should do what they need to to help students be at their best. Now that was the proper way to do an URL shout-out: Just say it, don't try to work in a silly joke about FDR like Kerry did. I'm reasonably impressed, so far. This is far-reaching and outward-looking, not self-conscious defensiveness, at least as much as a convention speech really can be. On the war, he's as competent as I can hope for. To those not of a mad Chomskyite bent, this is reasonable: the president has to make hard choices, and always err on the side of protecting Americans. I like Professor Bainbridge's interpretation - this is a return to the vision of the country as seen by the Republican Party of Theodore (not Teddy; he hated the nickname Teddy) Roosevelt: A strong and dignified nation that doesn't put too many obstructions in the path of individual achievement. I can get behind that. It's not perfect in every way, but it's the best force for good on every scale. I love the NYT shot; it's something that's been circulating since the first cries of Quagmire in Iraq, true, but not to such a broad audience. Supporting the military isn't really something Bush has to worry about; I think most members of the services with the slightest bit of political awareness know how a President Kerry would feel about them. Appreciation and empathy, rather than opportunistic cynicism, counts for an awful lot. All in all, pretty good. Hopeful and brave; more professional and less angsty than Kerry's equivalent speech. This is going to be hard for the Dems to deal with, because he is what he is. He knows where he stands, and what he's willing to fight for. Now, to wait for Tuesday, to find out if there'll be a bounce...

1 Comments:

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