September 06, 2004

The Shitstorm of ’04: Final Thoughts

I wasn’t around for the final day of the convention, but did see the last two speeches. A few observations:

What a smarmy, unlikable jackass George Pataki is. Not that I’ve ever liked him, but he’s got a lot of gall calling Kerry a flip-flopper, when he’s jumped from moderate to conservative and back numerous times during his decade as governor. And the implied blaming of 9/11 on the Clinton Administration was a nice touch as well. Of the three New Yorkers likely to run for president next time (Pataki, Rudy, and Hillary), I’m rooting for George to be trounced first.

As for Bush’s speech, I pretty much agreed with former Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet’s take: it was brilliantly written and delivered, but it “soared above the facts.” If Bush’s main assertions had the slightest bit of truth to them- that Iraq is going well, that the economy is improving, that No Child Left Behind actually made any difference- than this would’ve been one of the best political speeches I’ve ever seen. But they don’t, so it wasn’t.

Still though, the writing and delivery were the best I’ve seen in a Bush speech since the post-9/11 period; I’m guessing that some combination of David Frum, Karen Hughes, and Peggy Noonan helped out after being out of action for the last two years. (Because Noonan is back in the political field, because she used to compare Bush to Churchill after every one of his speeches, and because the Bush/Churchill metaphor was common throughout the convention, I’m guessing Peggy played a heavy role in the week’s speechwriting).

The people who disrupted the speech notwithstanding, I was glad to see both that the protests never devolved into riots, and even moreso, that the protests weren’t THE story coming out of the convention. That, and I never knew there were still so many active communists. Then again, nearly all of them go by the 80/20 rule: they’re either older than 80, or younger than 20.

Overall, the convention was quite an adventure, and politics notwithstanding, I feel like New York is a better place for having hosted it. True, their “I Love 9/11!” fetishism was a bit unnerving, and I found the Miller and Pataki speeches particularly objectionable. But a situation like this is heaven for political junkies like me. See you in ’08, when I plan on blogging from the inside.

Posted by Stephen Silver at September 6, 2004 03:24 AM
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