Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Friday, September 03, 2004
If George W. Bush didn't lead this presidential race before responding to his second-term nomination by the Republican Party, he leads it now. Maybe even in Ohio, because he did one thing his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, has failed to do: He left no doubt where he stands on everything from democratic colonization of the world to how to re-create the American worker's edge in the global market place.
The only thing the president failed to do in his one-hour-and-two-minute speech in Madison Square Garden was to tell us how we will pay for this with our new jobs that average $9,000 less per year than our old ones.
Previously the president has promised to cut the nation's record deficit in half.
Kerry also intends to pare the deficit. He would do it by taking away tax cuts from those who make $200,000 or more a year. That is called an important detail.
This is not to say that Bush's speech was not rich with detail. It was.
He repeated the phrase ``I believe'' so often that he could have done it without his TelePromTer.
This is the president's strength. He knows what he believes and let's everyone else know it. And he has no doubts that what he believes is right.
If, like Ohioblog, you were waiting for the moment when the president admitted that during his 3 1/2 years in office he had made a mistake and then shared with us what that mistake was, that moment arrived near the conclusion of his speech.
``In the last four years,'' the president said, ``you and I have come to know each other. Even when we don't agree, at least you know what I believe and where I stand. (Now here it is:) You may have noticed I have a few flaws, too.''
Flaws? Flaws are not mistakes. They are what can lead to mistakes.
So would he admit that his tax cuts have failed to stimulate Northeast Ohio's economy? Or could he possibly acknowledge that he knows how to win a war but not a peace? Or, hope beyond hope, that he doesn't look that great in fighter-pilot gear? (Maybe that's why he ditched those Air National Guard meetings.)
Ohioblog should have known better than to hope for such an admission. Bush is not an introspective president. He is not one to worry about the details as he is laying out the many ways in which a second Bush administration will put Americans on the path of promise during the next four years.
Instead, Bush allowed as how, ``People sometimes have to correct my English. I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzengegger started doing it. Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called `walking.' Now and then I come across as a little too blunt and for that we can all thank the white-haired lady (his mother Barbara Bush) sitting right up here.''
Well, OK. If we are being blunt, let Ohioblog join in: George Bush gave an excellent broad-brush speech that concluded a convention during which there was not a hair out of place, not a syllable improperly emphasized.
Anal-retentive Republicans are better than anyone at organization and control, and they don't finish second to too many folks in melodrama and mean.
Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tenneessee who has returned to a form of acting in which the money is better, narrated a trip through the Bush's term as president. Prominent among the memories, as it has been all week, was 9/11.
The worst moment in America became President Bush's best. It made him.
Republicans had never held a convention in New York, bastion of liberalism. The Bush campaign decided to come because it offered a backdrop for the nation to remember the moment when President Bush found himself atop a heap of burning rubble, looking as strong and determined as any of the New York City firemen, police officers or construction workers who surrounded him.
Any West Texas s----kicker could play this part. All he to do was look tough and talk tougher.
When confronted by foreign threats, real or imagined, the president repeated what has become his mantra: ``I will defend America every time.''
Unlike his proposals for transforming the tax code, health coverage and pension plans, the cost of meeting the threat that Iraq posed is known and growing.
It is nearly 1,000 dead, more than 6,000 wounded and billions and billions of dollars added to the deficit. The president's fact-shy speech failed to mention this.
- Steve Love
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:10 AM
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