Thursday, July 29, 2004

President Kerry!
Hey, I'm trying to say this before every blogger and pundit in the nation does: Kerry's nomination acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic Convention was masterful in content and delivery (and he only used the word values  375 times!)

How did he do it?  I am blown away by what he accomplished.  Somehow he was simultaneously presidential, measured, serious, bold and inspiring.   Some pundits are already trying to define this speech as centrist.   I disagree.  True.  It has phenomenal centrist appeal.  But it is far from typical tweedle dum/tweedle dee DLC fodder. 

The typical Clinton era "new Democrat" speech takes Republican policies and softens them for Democrats and the mushy middle.  This speech did the opposite.  It took hardcore liberal Democratic policies and goals--FDR and LBJ's Democratic party--and cloaked them in the rhetoric and value-laden language that the Republicans have previously owned.

This speech was a George Lakoff wet dream--Kerry took all the advice this Berkeley professor and his team have been turning out for the past two years and put it to good use.  Example: "instead of talking about family values, let's talk about what we're going to do to value families." 

This simple turn-of-phrase (which would be dubbed a "charlie the tuna" in the advertising world--Starkist doesn't want tunas with good taste, Starkist wants tunas that taste good) plants a seed of doubt in the minds of every idiot swing voter (hey, I'm not promoting Slimfast, I can be as hatefest as I want) who has salivated over Bush's family values--what do they really mean? it asks.  Do they value families?  Are they telling the truth?  What if they're not?

And that's not all!
Bill Magavern of the Sierra Club thinks that this is probably the earliest that the environment has ever appeared in a Democratic nominee's acceptance speech (within the first 5 minutes, in case you weren't timing it at home).   Kerry hit all the key issues: the economy, Iraq, health care, dependence on foreign oil, fair trade and good jobs, ending racism, education--plenty of red meat for the party faithful.  But instead of pandering to the crowd or giving a traditional partisan speech, he did something brilliant, he took our issues and spoke about them in a new way, so that they were everybody's issues.

And he did it with passion, sincerity, and conviction as if he were already President.  And so it is.

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