Jeff Alworth


"I will be a commander-in-chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. And I will appoint an attorney-general who actually upholds the constitution of the United States."

John Kerry, acceptance speech at the Democratic convention

Throughout the convention, the Kerry camp made sure the speakers kept their gloves on (Sharpton notwithstanding). Who guessed that was because he intended to take them off? The signature event from his biography was in turning a gunboat straight into fire and charging the attacker. With this speech, he turned the boat--the one we're all in--and charged Bush. Remarkable.

Now I'm really envying Anne, Lew, and Jesse.

[Update: Thanks to b!x, we have the full text of Kerry's speech here--as prepared, which is almost identical to the speech as delivered.]

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    I thought something during Carter's speech. Thought it again during Clinton's speech. Again during Sharpton's speech. Once more during Clark's speech. But now that Kerry has given this speech of all speeches, I'll start saying it out loud.

    Election 2004: Game f*cking on.

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    That said, a couple of other points, which thanks to Jeff posting an item here I now have someplace to bring up.

    (1) I have been waiting most of my adult life for a national Democratic candidate to take the "family values" rhetoric right out of the hands of the GOP and shove it back in their faces in exactly the way Kerry did in this speech. When I read that part of the script (while trying to stay awake during Joementum's sleep-inducing hypnosis of a speech), I nearly crapped my pants that I was going to get to see someone actually do it.

    (2) Nice move by the DNCC in not including Kerry's opening salvo ("My name is John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty.") in the advance text of the speech.

    (3) I'm a little worried about the "America Can Do Better" signs, because you can be sure that someone managed to get a picture of someone holding one right next to someone with a "Kerry/Edward" sign of some kind. Heh.

    (4) I'm interested to see if the Edwards/Hope and Kerry/Help linkage is an indication of what their dynamic as a team is going to be. Sort of an Edwards-as-spirit, Kerry-as-action dynamic.

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    For those who don't want to hunt around for it, here is the Kerry speech as prepared. It differs very, very little from the speech as delivered, and most of those differences were stumbles or stumble/recoveries.

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    Well, no matter what speech Kerry delivered, Karl Rove would figure a way to attack it. I actually felt the strongest analogy was "we're in the same boat." It may not get the same attention because the "America can do better--hope is on the way" trope was so emphasized.

    But who cares? Let 'em criticize it. I think he just put Bush behind the 8-ball.

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    Post-speech analysis on PBS included David Brooks, responding to the question of what the Republicans do now, said, after some halting and stammering: "Change their clothes, because they've just been sweating for the past hour."

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    B!X -- Yeah, I'm with you. I've been waiting most of my life for a Democrat to grab the flag and insist "Dammit, we're patriots too." Liberals tend to shy away from ostentatious displays of patriotism - and that's always disappointed me. I think it's patriotic to question your government, patriotic to oppose an unjust war, patriotic to demand a change in our leadership.

    I've never been a Kerry fan - but tonight, he finally won me over. He really is a New England patriot.

    Best speech of his life.

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    Damn straight. Democrats are patriots too. Patriot is a term that transcends political affililation. It is truly about caring about and standing up for your country.

    I stand tall with Kerry and Kari.


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    Question: As Kerry/Edwards get on a bus post-convention to travel the country's battleground states, a tour that apparently will be coast-to-coast, are they coming here?

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    FYI, regarding unity. My favorite emblematic moment of unity: After the Kerry speech, once everyone was onstage, Kerry walked to the edge of the stage, reached way over into the audience to take a sign from someone on the floor, turned around to Sharpton, who was directly behind him, and handed it to him. Sharpton immediately held the sign way above his ahead, with a huge grin on his face. The sign read: "Boot Bush."

  • Leslie Carlson (unverified)

    After last night, I too am about as excited about being a Democrat as I've ever been in my life. But one thing worries me. The more momentum Kerry/Edwards pick up, the nastier I expect the other side to be. Remember Reagan's October Surprise? I wouldn't put it past Karl Rove et al to pull something similar, or even nastier.

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    Watching the Democratic party conduct elections is a lot like watching an ice skating competition. You hold your breath as they approach their triple lutz and more often than not they end up on their ass. But sometimes, just sometimes, they do it right, and it is lovely to see.

    They made it through the convention, and pulled it off without a hitch. Kerry may not be the most dynamic speaker I've ever seen but he and his allies brought off one of the more focused conventions I've seen in my lifetime. Like others, I'm thrilled to see a Democrat "take back the flag." He's crafted a message that appeals to progressives and makes a strong case for the political center. He's finding a way to channel the "anyone but Bush" energy into a more constructive conversation. And if Congressional Democrats follow his lead, they may have a decent shot at taking back the Senate and making inroads in the House.

    But, as Leslie rightly points out, the Democrats are not done with this performance. Republicans are likely to throw a few wild cards our way and there's the time-honored Democratic tradition of shooting ourselves in the foot that keeps us holding our breath, fingers crossed, and rabbits' feet in hand.

    That said, I'm just dying to see Kerry make mincemeat of Bush in the debates.

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    I thought the Kerry "reporting for duty" line was poorly delivered and painfully cheesy. And I hated the JK is "help" and JE is "hope" duality. It just didn't grab me, but then again, I'm not the target audience.

    I loved the take back the flag rhetoric, the take back family values stanzas, and the best line of the entire night - the Lincoln quote about not saying God's on our side, but humbly praying that we're on God's side. I'm certain that plays well in middle America.

    Saw GW on TV today, and he sounded alot like Kerry, with talk of hope and optimism and health care and jobs. The only difference in the words used was on tax cuts and on "never letting foreign governments decide what to do about America's security."

    We're all pumped up and feeling good, but I heard some old hacks talk about how we've been here before. And despite all the speechifying and cheering and rhetorical flourish, don't ever forget that the outcome of this election (in states other than Oregon) may depend more on the mechanics of vote counting than on the number of votes cast.

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    Remember Reagan's October Surprise? I wouldn't put it past Karl Rove et al to pull something similar, or even nastier.

    Well, they already pulled it. Remember the Thursday announcement of the capture of a major al-Qaeda operative? Two weeks ago The New Republic reported that the Pakistanis had been expressly urged by the Bush administration to capture a top al-Qaeda figure during the days of the Democratic convention. As it turned out, this particular capture actually happened on Sunday. Mysteriously, the announcement was delayed until the day of Kerry's speech.

    So what's on tp of the street final of The Oregonian? The capture of a top al-Qaeda figure.

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