By Ed Driscoll · July 30, 2004 11:18 AM · The Making of the President
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 f@#k are you guys doing up there?" balloon drop gaffe.
(Indeed "What the f@#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."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.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’s speech last night, 73 of the 5343 words were about his Senate record: a total of 26 seconds."
Of course, it was in the Senate where Kerry's reputation as the definitive flip-flopper was born. Jonah Goldberg writes:
For most, a yes/no vote is like a light switch — only two possible positions. But for Kerry, everything has a dimmer knob. He rejects the notion that the bulb must be on or off. He thinks he can blend black and white into shades of gray — illuminating here, obscuring there.As Steve Green noted, Kerry's line that he won't attack until there is "A threat that is real and eminent" means:
So much for preemptive war -- a goddamn tragic necessity in the age of terror.It's one thing to hold your nose and vote for a candidate--but Kerry's election means that somebody is going to get screwed: either the leftwing anti-war types who'd rather have Dean or Nader, if they thought either guy was electable, or the people of the Middle East. If Kerry goes to war against a terrorist target--and like the speculation regarding LBJ and Vietnam, Kerry might feel very inclined to push the issue to prove he actually is a hawk, the Deaniacs and Naderites will be very, very angry with their man. But if he doesn't keep up the process of liberation that President Bush has started against the Axis of Evil, we return to the Neville Chamberlain-like Bill Clinton years, and await the next--and probably bigger--9/11.
Scott W. Johnson of Power Line concludes, "Despite its quicksilver shiftiness, Kerry's speech will come back to haunt him in the campaign".
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