September 02, 2004

Further Perspectives on the Convention

Boy, you would think that folks that believe they speak for the ordinary Americans and who worked so hard to "moderate" their convention might have done a bit more to "vet" the speeches tonight.

Cheney we always knew was an attack dog. He has never been interested in working with anyone except those with whom he can get rich or make war. The rest of the public can go fish as far as he cares. So it's not too surprising that he gave exactly the same type of speech he gives in front of the party faithful. How well it will play before Joe and Jane America is up for question because Cheney doesn't usually venture outside the friendly audiences he speaks before around the country. Nevertheless, most Americans don't get to see Cheney do his shtick, and they might not be quite so enamored as the delegates in the convention hall.

But then there was Zell Miller, DINO (Democrat in Name Only). The guy who once provided the keynote speech for Bill Clinton in 1992. Something must have gotten to him during those fourteen years to get him so whacked out. His speech was definitely one to turn off the most ardent believers in liberatian politics. Brad DeLong noticed that Andrew Sullivan was mighty turned off and this probably doesn't bode well for Bush's prospects. And yes, Andrew was just a bit shrill.

THE MILLER MOMENT: Zell Miller's address will, I think, go down as a critical moment in this campaign, and maybe in the history of the Republican party. I kept thinking of the contrast with the Democrats' keynote speaker, Barack Obama, a post-racial, smiling, expansive young American, speaking about national unity and uplift. Then you see Zell Miller, his face rigid with anger, his eyes blazing with years of frustration as his Dixiecrat vision became slowly eclipsed among the Democrats. Remember who this man is: once a proud supporter of racial segregation, a man who lambasted LBJ for selling his soul to the negroes. His speech tonight was in this vein, a classic Dixiecrat speech, jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric. As an immigrant to this country and as someone who has been to many Southern states and enjoyed astonishing hospitality and warmth and sophistication, I long dismissed some of the Northern stereotypes about the South. But Miller did his best to revive them. The man's speech was not merely crude; it added whole universes to the word crude.

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Miller has absolutely every right to lambaste John Kerry's record on defense in the Senate. It's ripe for criticism, and, for my part, I disagree with almost all of it (and as a pro-Reagan, pro-Contra, pro-SDI, pro-Gulf War conservative, I find Kerry's record deeply troubling). But that doesn't mean he's a traitor or hates America's troops or believes that the U.S. is responsible for global terror. And the attempt to say so is a despicable attempt to smear someone's very patriotism.

... snip ...

Last night was therefore a revealing night for me. I watched a Democrat at a GOP Convention convince me that I could never be a Republican. If they wheel out lying, angry old men like this as their keynote, I'll take Obama. Any day.

It will be hard to spin this night as something that makes the case that Bush should win the election. Last night some thought it would be the daughters that would do Bush in. However, it looks much more likely that it will be only true conservatives speaking in prime time who will have that honor. The campaign must believe that if you scare people to death, then they'll vote like good little Republicans. But if Andy is any example, it looks like this hope might be mislaid.

Posted by Mary at September 2, 2004 12:43 AM | Elections | Technorati links |

That's probably the first time I've read something written by Andrew Sullivan that I could agree with.


Posted by: Elton at September 2, 2004 01:00 AM