July 29, 2004

OKAY, THE OTHER THREAD’S CLOSED. Please post your sum-up comments here. And sorry about the delays and double-posts — between traffic, comment, and Internet backups, they’re kind of slow. Please give ‘em a while to register.

My take: A not-bad speech, badly delivered. It was short on substance, and long on cliches, but nomination acceptance speeches often are. It was too long, and his delivery was rushed. The sweating and bizarre gestures didn’t help. I don’t think it will swing the momentum in his favor, which is what he needed. It may turn some people off.

UPDATE: No, I don’t know what happened to the other post. It just vanished when I saved this one. Dang. I’m going to see if I can get it back.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here.

And Ed Morrissey and Stephen Green were liveblogging.

MORE: Still trying to get the old thread back. (This is all that’s left of it). But reader David Schneider-Joseph saved some of it in his RSS reader. There were something like twice this many comments last I noticed, but at least some of it’s saved. I’m posting them separately later, if the thread can’t be saved.

And reader Richard Whitten comments: “McCain-Lieberman 2004!”

STILL MORE: David Hogberg comments here. And there’s this observation: “He was talking to Middle America tonight…in an attempt to identify himself as one of them.” More liveblogging here, and here. And here.

More thoughts on Kerry’s resume here. And there’s this: “The homeless are back! Did they de-camp from Lafayette Park during the Clinton years?”

MORE STILL: Here are some comments, posted below, that are worth repeating:

Kerry is not a horrible person, and neither is Bush. Neither is a particualrly wonderful candidate, and we have to settle for the least harmful instead of the best.

Kerry needed to convince me that he was honestly going to protect us. He dd everything he could, and I now realize that it was always too late, my mind was made up. Kerry has cared about the direction of the wind far too many times for me to ever trust him.

That’s tragic. He seems to really understand what the right answer is, but I imagine some number of people just don’t know if he would trade that for votes or poll numbers.

Yeah, that seems about right to me, too.

Meanwhile Patrick Belton — blogging from the convention center — has a more positive take than a lot of the people linked above. I wonder if Kerry looks better live than on TV. Even Belton has his issues, though: “weak attempt to sex up the fact his staff told him to plug his website: ‘So now I’m going to say something that Franklin Roosevelt could never have said in his acceptance speech: go to johnkerry.com.’ Umm, that’s because they have different names….”

Andrew Sullivan: “I really don’t know what the impact of this speech will be. I doubt it will help him much. I definitely liked Kerry less at the end of it than at the beginning. . . . I think this convention has been a huge success, tempered by a bad candidate.”

Jeff Jarvis: “It was, oddly, a military speech aimed at not using the military. . . . There was nothing to hate in the speech, nothing to love. It was competent.”

Jonah Goldberg: ” It sounds like it was written by a committee. The funny irony is that Kerry is a committee of one.”

Nick Gillespie was liveblogging. And Jesse Walker reflects that he’s not the target audience for these things. Me neither.

James Lileks comments:

“I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as President.”

This really intrigues me. I agree that Vietnam was a defense of the United States, inasmuch as we were trying to blunt the advance of Communism. So: only Nixon can go to China. (Only Kirk can go to Chronos, for you Star Trek geeks.) Only Kerry can confirm that Vietnam was a just war. This completely upends conventional wisdom about the Vietnamese war, and requires a certain amount of historical amnesia.

Mickey Kaus: “Good enough! . . . I predict a measurable bounce, if anybody was watching.”

Closed comments on this post now; I’m going to bed. Sorry Jay!

NEXT MORNING UPDATE: Tom Maguire liveblogged it. Excerpt:

“And as President, I will bring back this nation’s time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.”

Why we had to go to war in Kosovo remains a mystery, but this has been a Kerry line for over a year. [Mini-update - Watching Frank Luntz and his panel of voters on MSNBC, this line is reprised, and the first panelist to comment mentions Yugoslavia, and thinks Kerry is kidding on this. The rebuttal goes national!]

Daniel Drezner: “Given the emphasis on a positive message emanating from this convention, Kerry took harder shots than I expected at Bush — but I thought his foreign policy critique hit home.”

Hugh Hewitt: “[H]e didn’t bore people, which was a real concern. His timing was often off, but not fatally so. So he gets a B. Not a home run, but a solid single. He needed a home run.”

And finally, I’m guessing that this is a typo in Howard Kurtz’s column this morning — or maybe an anonymous typesetter’s comment on what Kurtz notes as the remarkably unanimous praise for the speech from mainstream media:

For USA Today, it’s a series of stirring images:

“The Democrats have gone to a war footing.

“John Kerry accepted the nomination of his party Thursday night with a speech more muscular than any Democratic presidential nominee has given at a convention in four decades.

“{bull} Consider the images in the biographical video that introduced him: snapshots of a young Kerry squinting into the sun with the crew of the swift boat he captained in Vietnam, and of him standing ramrod-straight in a crisp white uniform as a Bronze Star was pinned on his chest.

“{bull} Consider the friend he chose to introduce him: former Georgia senator Max Cleland, a veteran who returned from Vietnam in a wheelchair, both legs and one arm blown off by a grenade.

“{bull} Consider the words he used in his speech: Strength. Tough. Fight. Defend. Force. Attack. Security.”

Heh.