August 31, 2004


Immoderate Night (New Dem, Daily, 8/31/04)

One of the few mysteries of the Republican National Convention has been resolved. Many observers wondered if the high billing of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani last night would represent another effort to depict the GOP as a moderate, inclusive party. Instead, these speakers lent their moderate credentials to the proposition that nothing matters in this election other than the duty of a grateful nation to re-elect George W. Bush to thank him for his leadership in the war on terrorism. If elections are indeed, as the saying goes, about the future rather than the past, Republicans are not off to a very good start.

Other than their remarkable lack of forward-looking perspective, there were three striking things about these speeches:

First, neither McCain nor Giuliani mentioned domestic issues even once. That's amazing. For all the talk about the message discipline of the Democratic Convention, and the disproportionate attention paid to John Kerry's Vietnam service, there were no speeches in Boston that failed to mention domestic as well as international issues.

Second, both speeches were very, very aggressive on Iraq. They depicted Bush not as a chief executive making a tough call for better or for worse (which is often how the president himself describes his decision to invade Iraq), but as a deeply principled, and even visionary warrior for freedom. Giuliani was especially stark on this point, shoehorning the Iraq war with the Afghanistan operation as part of the immediate reaction to 9/11. Nobody said a word about the administration's management of the occupation of Iraq, which has not exactly been Churchillian.

And third, both speeches departed from the 2000 template by offering Republican delegates some immediate red meat. McCain avoided any attacks on Democrats, but took a shot at lefty filmmaker Michael Moore, who was conveniently visible in a press skybox. This sideshow reinforced the GOP's efforts to depict anti-Bush, and largely anti-war demonstrators in New York as the face of the Democratic Party.

Pity the poor DLC--they still haven't figured out that Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy , Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry are the face of the Democratic Party, not Sam Nunn or Joe Lieberman.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 31, 2004 2:42 PM

If elections are "about the future and not the past", why doesn't this clown realize that while Bush's candidacy recalls September 11, Kerry's goes back to the freakin' Vietnam War, and that presumably THAT nostalgia is superior to Bush's nostalgia. Fershlugginer media...

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at August 31, 2004 3:09 PM

And can you believe it? On the night devoted to foreign policy, they didn't talk about domestic policy! For shame!

Posted by: Timothy at August 31, 2004 3:38 PM

I wonder if the lack of domestic policy discussion isn't more to set up President Bush's speech on that topic. The Bushies have certainly shown that they understand the benefits of proper emphasis.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 31, 2004 3:44 PM

I recently learned on another forum that Joe Lieberman - regarded as an OK guy (a mensch? )by many Republicans - is actually very unpopular with most Democrats for his very moderateness and hence not in play for any nomination. I did not know that.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at August 31, 2004 3:52 PM

And I never realized that Churchill had successfully administered the occupation of another country.

Posted by: jd watson at August 31, 2004 7:59 PM


The entire Empire.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2004 8:17 PM