July 30, 2004

LAWRENCE KAPLAN ON KERRY, at TNR — I agree with Tom Maguire that his analysis is “brutal.”

Maguire’s own analysis seems kinder only by comparison.

UPDATE: Tom Oliphant didn’t like it, either. “Kerry stepped on his best thoughts and lines and blurred important proposals and distinctions, committing the sin of interfering with his own ability to communicate with an electorate eager to learn much more about President Bush’s opponent.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan: “The truth is: Biden and Lieberman and Edwards and even Obama were more ressuring on the war than Kerry was. Given how important it is for Kerry to burnish his war credentials and how deeply resistant he was to embrace the war in his acceptance speech, I think the candidate has told us roughly where he stands.”

And I neglected to mention Virginia Postrel’s take:

Well, that speech certainly reminded me why I’m not voting for John Kerry. Contrary to much of the rest of the convention, it was a red-meat speech, complete with “Bush lied” rhetoric, pharmaceutical-company bashing, xenophobic talk about outsourcing, and a promise to make health care “a right.” Aside from the much-remarked-upon flag-waving-veteran talk, the speech was mostly made up of (in Kerry’s anti-GOP words) “narrow appeals masquerading as values.” Better a tongue-tied president than a demagogue.

Kerry’s lucky that she wasn’t on TV last night.

Greg Djerejian observes:

Still, would the Dems (most of whom voted for the war, including Kerry) have done it better? . . .

Oh, and let’s be clear. That extra 40,000 troops? Not a single one, emphasis added above and, indeed, in the speech, are heading Baghdad way. Just in case anyone got some crazy idea…But what, heaven forbid, if they were needed there? Non-starter, it would seem. Another indication that faux-realism in Iraq is code for let’s get out sooner rather than later.

Indeed. Why is “realism” never a synonym for “doing the job right?”

STILL MORE: Ouch: “It may well be true that, as a number of pundits have claimed, Kerry gave the best goddamned speech of his career last night. But that’s a little like saying Yoko Ono’s latest CD is her best-ever.”