Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Missing: The Fine Print in the Clintons' Speeches

For reasons I don't really understand, I watched Bill & Hillary speak at the DNC (Deliberately Nuanced Convention) in Bahston last night.  I saw and heard what I expected.  Thinking it through, what struck me, though, was what was not said. Hillary spoke first, technically to introduce Bubba, but her patient acceptance of Democrat adulation left no doubt in my mind, she was already thinking ahead to her 2008 Nomination Acceptance Speech.  Certainly she was in full campaign mode.  I don't have a copy of the transcript (I looked, but couldn't find one online) of her speech, but it seems to me that when speaking of the great Democratic ideals and plans, Hillary said "we" a lot (sounded downright royal), but didn't mention John Kerry by name very much.  Almost as if there was a little imp on one shoulder, telling Hillary she might suggest a "Draft Hillary" movement,  which appeared a very feasible option while she stood before the cameras.   Hillary made sure to push all the required buttons, and to avoid hot topics.  For instance, she asserted the need for immediate resumption of the harvest of stem cells, but never once did Hillary mention where stem cells come from, or why the issue might be contentious to people who consider the ethical implications.  Hillary made one misstep, however.  When discussing Healthcare, Hillary boasted "I know about Health Care".  Well, ma'am, for certain many of us recall your intense desire to add yet another layer of bureaucracy and expense onto the system, and your belief that you had the right to dictate how 300 million Americans must address their medical needs, despite not a single vote to elected office at the time.  One wonders what, if you were made President, would happen to that last lingering vestige of responsibility to the people who have to live with such decisions.

Then up rolled Bill.  I have read quite a few  columns and comments about how well he did at the podium.  On the drive to work, I heard the radio host opine that Bill Clinton could beat either George W. Bush or John Kerry this year, and maybe should.  But then, that has aways been Mr. Clinton's forte' - spin, delivery, and evasion of unpleasant facts.  Why change the script now? Bill is smart, keenly aware that since John Kerry has so often noted that this election  is a referendum on George W. Bush, he needs to hit Bush where he can.  Not the economy!  Oh sure, Clinton bandied out the "lost jobs" fiction again, because that is part of the Democrat Doxology, never mind what the Household Survey says.  Never mind the million-plus new jobs this year, gotta pretend they didn't happen.  And there is not a Democrat alive, who doesn't worry what will happen if the average American realize the GDP growth is strong, along with Real per-capita Income increases, Business and Housing Starts, all in all a strong Recovery growing into a boom.  So Bubba skated around it with a few one-line dismissals of Bush's acocmplishments, and addressed Kerry the Warrior.  But really, it was Kerry the Cooperative. Kerry the International Sophisticate.  Bubba hinted at a Rambo headband somewhere in Kerry's wardrobe, but made clear it wouldn't be used without permission from our friends, presumably the ones in West-Central Europe. 9/11 was noted by everyone who spoke, and all agreed it was a terrible tragedy.  Like it was a hurricane, or maybe a bad round of the flu.  No mention of Osama bin Laden, not a word about Saddam Hussein, not a word about Al Qaeda.  No, 9/11 means only three things to Bubba and the Bobble-Delegates: 

[] A terrible tragedy, which we can only avoid by opening our hearts and bank accounts to other countries;
[] A very important film by that sagacious malcontent, Monsieur Moore;
[] A pretext for Republican aggression against harmless Middle Eastern nations, designed by President Bush, who listens to no one but his own cronies.

And that's what is so good about last night's speeches.  Smooth as they were, they only appealed to people who already hate George W. Bush, who will vote for John Kerry simply because he is not Mr. Bush.  People with very valid questions found no answers last night.  People looking to find what the Democrats are all about, received the same bitter pablum the Left has been serving up since February. They missed a chance, and with Governor Dean, Ron Reagan, and Senator Ted Kennedy coming next to the podium, it looks like they won't have another chance at reaching the average American until Edwards makes his case.  And unless Edwards and Kerry decide to radically change their style and tactics, what we saw last night will likely be repeated all over again, and the average American will turn to President Bush in August for an explanation about what the present situation is really leading towards, and whom he can trust.  

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