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The President's Speech

The only problem, really, with the president's big speech last night was that the policies he's actually pursuing bear little resemblance to the policies he was talking about, the candidate he's actually running against bears little resemblance to the candidate he was talking about, and the world he's actually living in bears little resemblance to the the world he was talking about. But in the Platonic realm of Words it was a good speech, and probably did for Bush about as much as any speech could.

September 3, 2004 | Permalink


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» Is this the end? from Brayden King
Against my best interest, I watched the entire Bush speech last night. I was only interrupted ocassionally by my children who were busy playing dress-up in the next room (it’s latest craze in the King house). I think Matthew Yglesias summarizes m... [Read More]

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It was actually a darn good speech... if you forget the fact that he's already been President for four years and has pursued none of the mentioned policies because he's been busy (1) cutting rich people's taxes, (2) creating Medicare boondoggles, and (3) "protecting the family" by scapegoating gays.

If he'd given this strong a speech four years ago, maybe I would have been persuaded. Today, forget about it.

Posted by: right | Sep 3, 2004 9:56:26 AM

Speaking of "Words", the daily show video is worth a look.
[from Atrios]

Posted by: theCoach | Sep 3, 2004 10:05:27 AM

That introduction by Rove was over the top.

Posted by: poputonian | Sep 3, 2004 10:18:43 AM

I thought the delivery was near perfect. I hate TV, the quick edits, it always seems the visuals distract me from the substance....so I ignored the words. I'll read it. Certainly no great lines or phrases jump out at me. And the viewing public gets an emotional reaction, not a ideological one.

But my early thought was that Bush had at least countered a laziness attack, for the man had obviously practiced before a mirror. He had worked his ass off on the appropriate facial expressions. I did notice many times he was pleased at his own performance.

But like a TV anchorperson, while I could not even see a trace of insincerity it still felt off.
Like a grade-schooler reciting a poem at a parent's night event, he was somehow disconnected from both the words and his audience. He was performing instead of sharing, and so inspired no one.

I know there was a real tear or two, and I do not discount that. Matt's "epistemological gap" includes a preference for sentimentality over compassion, and the belief in the heartland that John Wayne was a better actor than Dustin Hoffman.
Note Matt's post above about soldiers. Republicans love the idea (or ideal) of a thing more than the actual thing itself. You shouldn't burn the flag, tho you can make a dress out of it.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 3, 2004 10:31:21 AM

The delegates got fired up only when they were fed red meat - it was very obvious that they LOVE negative politics. Everything else bored them, and Bush appeared as if he couldn't wait to get off the stage.

Maybe now the media can put to rest the ole "both sides are to blame for the negativity" crap. After this week (Zell Miller's melt-down, Bush's Limbaugh appearance, the disgusting band-aids, the one-sided political commentary). Nasty politics are the life-blood of the GOP - they can't live without it. Bush appeals this crowd because he's a bully, pure and simple.

Posted by: ESaund | Sep 3, 2004 10:45:45 AM

I thought the first part of the speech would have made LBJ proud at the same time making true conservative's cringe. I also thought the first part of the speech was a cut and paste from his 2000 acceptance. Wasn't it all the same stuff? Finally, let's get this guy in touch w/ reality. We're broke, so these programs are DOA. Oh yeah, the war in Iraq. Hey, they'll have elections in January! By January, Iraq will become what has dogged us in Iran for 20 years...a theocracy.

Posted by: Gary | Sep 3, 2004 10:56:41 AM

Did anyone else notice that the song that came on after Bush finished was the Burt Bacharach classic "Put A Little Love In Your Heart"?

Hilarious; Bush had me up to that moment, albeit in a Coleridgean "suspension of disbelief" sense. But the song totally broke the spell; it was, so to speak, the bit of treacle that broke the camel's back.

I wouldn't be surprised if Ray Stevens' "Everything Is Beautiful" hadn't been considered for that spot, as it's only slightly worse than what they settled on.

Posted by: son volt | Sep 3, 2004 11:25:24 AM

What were Bush's goals in this speech? To me it seemed like:

1) Coopt the liberal agenda on domestic issues, which has more innate appeal than the conservative one. (Throw the fundies a little vague support.)

2) Project a sense of purpose and authority in confronting terrorism and all those totalitarian regimes that make it a viable alternative to their own hideous rule. (Difficulties aside, this message will always have more innate appeal than anything the Democrats have thus far come up with).

On both counts I'd say he succeeded.

Posted by: Jonathan Dworkin | Sep 3, 2004 11:27:49 AM

"...the policies [Bush i]s actually pursuing bear little resemblance to the policies he was talking about..."

Let's just hope the opposite is true for Kerry. His response speech was something to be depressed about.

Posted by: Yamamoto | Sep 3, 2004 3:16:56 PM

That is Karl Rove's first guiding principle of American politics: It doesn't matter what you do, it only matters what you say, as long as you are willing to be consistent and unapologetic about your lies. Scott McClelland's response today when questioned as to whether the negativity of the convention could spark a backlash (paraphrase): "Our convention wasn't negative. We offered exclusively positive ideas. It was the Democratic Convention that was negative." Where have you gone, George Orwell? We need you now more than ever.

Posted by: JP | Sep 3, 2004 6:02:01 PM

You and your linguistic Platonism...

I suppose I'll have to watch Bush's speech too now, not just Zell's.

Posted by: Kenny Easwaran | Sep 5, 2004 5:45:47 AM

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