Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I'd STILL vote for him

If it does nothing else for John Kerry or the Dems, by its example Bill Clinton's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention served as a reminder to America that George Bush is a fumble-tongued dolt. Even if you ignore what Clinton said, the virtuosity of its delivery stands in sharp contrast to Bush's usual bumbling, stumbling delivery. Capping off an evening of speeches, including ones from Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, Mr. Clinton's speech was a memort refresher - that the best of America is not in jingoistic "Bring it on" rhetoric, but in clear-sighted, intelligent assessments, leavened with humor and the occasional self-importance-popping needle. Remarkably for Clinton, he managed to tie his speech up in a neat package in his alloted time of 20 minutes. It was not, perhaps, an important speech, but it was one of the best purely political speeches I've heard in a long, long time.

Of course, the quality of Clinton's speech was not just in the delivery. Clinton, who probably (as has been his custom) wrote most if not all of the speech himself, painted an inspiring picture of the America he sees, John Kerry sees, and that we want to see. It was good to hear the Big Dog again - his speeches - the best of them, anyway - have always balanced erudition and the common touch. Last night's speech was in that class - rousing, inspiring, funny, serious, self-deprecating - and it did what it was intended to do, paint a vivid picture of an inspiring, patriotic, strong, decisive John Kerry. An excellent introduction to the American electorate for Senator Kerry, in sharp contrast to the attack ads the Republicans are pumping onto the air in the battleground states (does it annoy anyone else that we in NJ are so taken for granted that even campaign ads mostly pass us by? Or are we better off that way?).

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