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Friday, September 03, 2004

"Here buildings fell,
and here a nation rose."

The President's Speech: Masterstroke

by John Podhoretz in the NY Post
. . . . Bush's jabs at Kerry were delicate and good-humored. "There are some things my opponent is for," he said. "He's proposed more than $2 trillion in new federal spending so far, and that's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts. To pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes — and that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps."

But there was one scalpel thrust, when he quoted Kerry calling our allies in Iraq "a coalition of the coerced and bribed." Such allies, said Bush, naming some, "deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician."

Still, the president didn't go for Kerry's jugular by any means. Yet, only an hour after Bush finished, there was John Kerry live at a midnight rally in Ohio, going for the throats of Bush and Cheney himself.

In a speech angrier than Zell Miller's, Kerry raged: "The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of combat duty."

Several problems here. First, Cheney said no such thing. Second, Kerry sounds rattled, and that's just not a very attractive quality in a presidential candidate or a president.

I hope he is rattled. And I hope he loses. Big Time.

See also Dick Morris (in the NY Post as well): Bush's Bid for History

UNTIL President Bush began his speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention, the goal of the United States' anti-terror policy was perceived by a largely supportive public as a bid to assure safety. With a rhetorical flourish worthy of the great speeches of all time, George W. Bush has transformed the war into a battle for liberty.

In a speech that was at once eloquent and substantive, sensitive and dynamic, profound and familiar, Bush has risen to a level few presidents have ever reached.

Sometimes a strategist just has to sit back and gasp. Occasionally, a seasoned political observer needs to realize that he has seen something extraordinary. Tonight, Bush made me feel like that.

The speech satisfied every single political need. He contrasted with Kerry without appearing negative. He demonstrated emotion without pandering. He rose to a level of substantive specificity without becoming wonkish.

. . . . I voted for Gore in 2000, as a true child of the Clinton era. But I decided to vote for Bush on Sept. 12, 2001 when I saw how he handled the threat we face. I used to back Bush because he offered safety; now I support him because he summons us all to an ideal. Before he spoke, supporting Bush was a duty one owed to the fallen. Now, it is an honor.

GORE 2000
BUSH 2004