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Musings and Meanderings
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
I quite enjoyed the parade of Ex-Presidents, Shadow Presidents, and future Presidential hopefuls across Monday's convention speaker rostrum. Carter, Gore, Hillary and Bubba all got out their whupping sticks to some extent and took it to the opposition, which is their job.
Ex-President Jimmy Carter had the second best speech in my mind, and then graced the PBS studio at the Fleet Center with his presence. He was eloquent in his charges that the Iraq war was something planned long before 9/11, something no other Democrat seems to pursue. (Its a matter of public record in Wolfowitz and Perle's writings if you thing its just partisanship). He held up well under the crossfire from the talking heads at PBS. The speech itself was quite enjoyable, very much the no holds barred accusatory speech I expected from this Nobel Prize winner. Of course the dogs of the Bush Administration in the guise of some undersecretary of something felt it appropriate to call him "the worst president in the history of the US". (In psychology we call this projection.)
His most salient point to me was the view from the world. One of the themes of this Convention is certainly the enormous damage the present Administration has done to America's ability to build coalitions, the enormous damage that has been done to the common folk's attitude towards the US, and the unbelievably self righteous way in which it was accomplished.
If this were Europe, the Shadow President would be Al Gore. But it's not, and he was invited to speak anyway this year. Usually the defeated are not allowed back, but the stain of the 2000 election makes him a martyr. Not surprisingly his message was about how a vote counts, and he directly addressed those independents and democrats who voted for Bush, and Democrats who voted for Nader 4 yrs ago asking very pointed questions. For Bush, "did you get what you voted for?" and Nader "do you really believe there is no difference btw the candidates?" Of course the rest of the speech was dedicated to the candidates, going over the standard laundry list of accomplishments. His speech was on theme, and on the mark.
Will Hillary ever run for President? I sure hope not, but not for some of the same reasons that some of my readers think. Just as I believed that what Bubba did was his own personal business, I believe Hillary's handling of her own marriage is her own damn business as well. No I hope that Hillary never runs for President because the Republican Dogs are waiting to eat her alive, and they will. I think she knows this, and hopefully her cool head will prevail. Alas I took a phone call during Hillary's speech and didn't get a chance to hear her.
Then there was President Clinton. I don't know if he writes his own speeches, but it was excellent. Not only did it get the faithful into a froth, but he had some very salient points. Best though was a succinct condensation of the Republican "attitude":
"On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that America should be run by the "right" people -- their people -- in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to. They believe the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their economic, political and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on important matters like health care and retirement security. Now since most Americans aren't that far to the right, our friends have to portray us Democrats as simply unacceptable, lacking in strength and values; in other words, they need a divided America. But we don't. "
It was an excellent end to a night of themes of unification not division, moral leadership not leadership steeped in artificial morality, and a bit of a vision as to what America might be doing better both at home and abroad.