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Friday, July 30, 2004

Kerry On

Expectations make a difference. I expected a great, rousing speech from Edwards, and was mildly disappointed (I'm sure his cold or whatever it was had an effect). I expected a dry, dull drone from Kerry, and was pleasantly surprised. He was more direct and clear than I'd ever heard him before, and he had more attacks on the Bush administration than I had expected. (I assume all the talk earlier in the week about laying off the attacks was a setup just so he could pleasantly surprise the delegates with his speech--expectations.) He even said the words I really wanted him to say: "Bring our troops home."

Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as that. His full statement was:
I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.
No. Having kids from Leipzig and Marseilles and Cairo getting killed to save the lives of kids from Lansing and Memphis and Compton, using yen and euros instead of dollars, is not how you correct something that was both a terrible crime and a mistake. Expecting the French to go along just because you drink their wine instead of pouring it down the drain, and because you speak two languages instead of none, seems naive. Our "allies" knew that the war was a terrible idea, and neither Bush nor Kerry listened to them. Kerry mentioned several times about not sending troops to war unless it was absolutely necessary. I just can't see how that reconciles with his October 2002 vote to give an idiot clearly intent on starting a war the authorization to do so.

There were plenty of other good-sounding ideas in Kerry's speech which just do not jibe with his voting record. Greg Palast spells them out. His conclusion:
Yesterday, my buddy Michael Moore and I held a press conference in Boston. Some joker of a reporter asked Mr. Fahrenheit about Kerry's gung-ho keep'm-in-Baghdad position. Michael fudged and fidgeted. I felt bad for him as he faked the answer, "President Kerry would not have sent us to war." But as Senator, Kerry did.

I've got an easier job than Michael: as a journalist I don't have to defend any candidate. Nevertheless, I know that my Democratic Party friends will want to ship me to Guantanamo for asking, "You believe in Kerry, but does he believe in you?"

Remember, comrades, I'm only asking questions, here. I'm sorry if the answers make you uncomfortable about your favorite rich guy.

I know what you're going to say. "Isn't Bush worse?"

By a long shot. But asking if Kerry is as bad as Bush is like asking if a slap in the face is as painful as a brick to the skull.

But don't you get tired of being slapped around by privileged politicos on hypocrisy hyper-drive -- then having to applaud? It can't be pleasant, no matter how many pretty balloons they drop on your head.


PS: Speaking of those pretty balloons. I was watching the speech on CNN. When it was over, CNN inexplicably connected to the microphone warn by the guy running the effects. I figured it was a mistake, but they let it run for several minutes, even at one point putting a graphic on-screen identifying him ("voice of Joe Blow"). You heard him say "Go balloons!" And then "Where are the balloons? We need balloons now!" Then he starts swearing at the crew--he wanted the hall flooded with balloons, and was only getting a trickle. CNN kept this playing until shortly after he used the Cheney word. Judy Woodruff then explained who it was that we were listening to, but gave no explanation as to why. If they really want us to get some insight, they ought to play the CNN internal communications playing in their ears: "Wolf--say something snarky about that picture of Kerry at Cape Canaveral. Judy--mention 'Shove it' a few more times in the next few minutes. Jeff--can you make your face look even more sour?"

While I'm generally opposed to the new censorship, I hope the FCC fines CNN $1 million for the balloon-guy stunt. He had used milder profanity several times before the Cheney word came out, but they kept his mike on. And there was absolutely no excuse for them eavesdropping on that communication in the first place.