Ed Driscoll

The Speech

Ed Driscoll, reporting for duty!

Sorry for the lack of commentary last night–I couldn’t watch the speech last night on TV, but I did follow the real-time group commentary on InstaPundit and the Absolute-time blogging from Steve Green.

Without an obvious catchphrase from the speech–or the convention–the Kerry camp has been framed by the events that happened to it on the first and last days of the convention: the NASA clean-room bunnysuit photo-op flop and the “What the [email protected]#k are you guys doing up there?” balloon drop gaffe.

(Indeed “What the [email protected]#k are you guys doing up there?” could be a devastating obit to Kerry campaign if they don’t get an explosive bounce from the convention.)

So here’s a round-up of commentary from the Blogosphere.

James Lileks on Kerry and Vietnam:

“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. Why does this get glossed over? The illegitimacy of the Vietnam war (non-UN approved, after all) is a key doctrine of the Church of the Boomers; to say that service in Vietnam was done in defense of the United States is like announcing that Judas Ischariot was the most faithful of the disciples. Imagine if you were a preacher who attempted such a revision. Imagine your private thrill when everyone in the congregation nodded assent. The past was more malleable than you had ever expected.

JFK, you neo-conservative hawk you! So for the next three months or so, Vietnam was a just war, after 30 years of rhetoric to the contrary from the left–John Kerry’s left?

But then, doesn’t that mean that Kerry has just invalidated his Winter Soldier speech of 1971?

Orrin Judd writes that Vietnam traps Kerry in “in a weird political calculus”:

A: The only thing he’s ever done in his life, so far as we can tell, is serve honorably in Vietnam.

B: However, he thinks that war was evil and he a war criminal.

C: He thinks has to project a sufficiently powerful image that we’ll hire him to fight this war.

D: However, he opposes it, almost equating it to Vietnam.

When you add all that up he’s implicitly (sometimes explicitly) denigrating his own service to the cause of freedom and that of our current military, while asking to lead them (and us). No wonder he looked like Richard Nixon last night–this is one tortured dude.

Kerry’s trying to portray himself as a hawk–but he glossed over his 20 years in the Senate. And I mean gloss: as Jim Geraghty writes, “In John Kerry