Wednesday, November 03, 2004


A tale of three speeches


President Bush's acceptance speech:

On a chilly December evening nearly four years ago, Al Gore delivered a gracious concession speech – 35 days late – while George W. Bush uncorked a flat, stiff, awkward acceptance address. History did not repeat itself today. Bush, standing on a platform at the vast Reagan Building in Washington, looked and sounded like an American statesman.

There’s a certain ripe irony in the setting. The Reagan building, the most expensive federal office building ever constructed, is named after a man who sought to dismantle federal departments and put the clamps on government growth. George W. Bush ought to feel at home in the setting. His chief speechwriter once explained to me in some exasperation, “You need to understand, George W. Bush is not a small-government conservative.” He's right, of course: The president has been a spendthrift. Nevertheless, W is the rightful heir to Reagan in the sense that he proceeds from clear and fixes principles and does not fear the consequences when he stands alone on the global stage.

Bush teared up when he stepped to the podium, to the thunderous applause of the crowd. (The building is a vast echo chamber.) He started by saying nice things about John Kerry and reporting that “we had a really good phone call.” He also extended best wishes to the Kerry clan.
He also reminded people of why they like him. He talked of being humbled in victory. He mentioned his family: “My family comes first…Laura is the love of my life.” He singled out his siblings and parents. He doffed his cap to Dick Cheney, a man “of wisdom and honor.” In running through the roster of aides and officials, he impishly thanked Carl Rove, “the architect.”

Then came the good stuff. He opened with a nice play on words: “Don’t pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” That nicely frames the American challenge, while seeking providential aid. Bush described the present era as a “season of hope,” and he’s right. Bin Laden today looks like a murderous fool, no longer able to conjure fear, only a sort of bored disgust. Zarqawi’s beheading act has surrendered its power to shock.
He addressed Kerry voters: “To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support…. I will do all I can do to earn your trust…. When we come together and work together, there is no end to the greatness of America.” And then, “a word to the people of Texas.” The speechwriters inserted a little bit of corn-pone poetry, but noted that whatever road might stretch before him, “that road will take me home.” In short: A gracious speech, well delivered.

John Edwards introduces John Kerry:

John Edwards has just delivered the most tin-eared concession speech in recent American history. In introducing John Kerry, he described Campaign 2004 as a battle and said of his losing cause, “The battle rages on.” What followed was the usual litany of white-collar populism – the rich man’s promise to bestow upon the poor man the precious gift of pity, publicly expressed. Then came the hammer blow: Edwards promoted guerrilla skirmishing in order to promote the cause of “one America.”

The talk completed Edwards’ journey from promising young star to comely hack. What a waste: Polling throughout the campaign indicated that Edwards was a drag on Kerry – perhaps not enough to cost him the presidency, but enough to deprive him the chance of getting into the Recount Zone.

John Kerry provides an adult role model for John Kerry:

Kerry, in contrast, carried himself with likeable grace. He congratulated the president and noted that the two talked about “the danger of division” and the urgency of “coming together.” Said he, “The outcome should be determined by voters, not by a protracted legal process…. We cannot win this election.” He described the “privilege and gift” of running, and with real emotion, voice cracking, thanked Americans “from the bottom of my heart.”

Kerry, as I have noted many times, is a nice guy, and one of the enduring mysteries of this (and many other campaigns) is why so many campaign managers consider it necessary to transform good men into raving bundles of savagery and deceit. John Kerry doesn’t do viciousness well. It also becomes apparent as his speech wears on that he ignores the adage that less is more. Nevertheless, good for him. He left the stage a good man – and not an embittered fool, as Al Gore (alas) has become.

Here’s the key passage: “In an American election, there are no losers… because the next morning we all wake up, and we’re still Americans.” He also made the obvious point that we need to “pull together for the good of our country.... (to) stand together and succeed in Iraq and in the war on terror.”

Unfortunately, he buried the highlight with an avalanche of campaign-trail cant, including the apocryphal Tocquevillian claim that America is great because America is good. Nevertheless, he said the right thing at the right place at the right time. Good for him.

There is no unity on the horizion. It sounds pretty, but the battle is between those who wittingly or unwittingly are under the standard (as in battle flag) of Satan v those who are under the standard of Christ. There is no middle ground although there may be ignorance of the fact that this is the correct characterization of the battle. The ABC news commentators Jennings and Stephanopolis didn't have a clue about this moral thing yet consider these verses from the bible:

37"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
38"What is truth?"
Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him

Note how much Pilate sounds like Jennings. And note how Bush's message gave witness to the truth.

The fight is enjoined as long as there are more Christians than Pagans in this country truth will be witnessed to in relative peace. Once there are more Pagans get ready for the new persacutions. Get ready for the elimination of free speach and free thought, get ready for elimination of guns, get ready for the codification of homosexuality. You want the outline for your book, read this and the next Chapter from John. Do not worry about plagerism, the truth is the truth and it is not novel. It is written on the heart of all men, whether they admit it or not, it is recognized by each and everyone. The response to it is determined by which standard you have placed yourself under. If you are under the standard of the Truth you will be heartened when you hear truth, if you are under the standard of the Liar you will be whipped up into anything from the pathetic cluelessness of Jennings and Stephanopolis to the murderous rage of John Edwards and Al Gore.
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