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Friday, July 30, 2004


Guest Blogger Paul Parker

Kerry’s speech surpassed my expectations. My highlights closely parallel those excerpted in Mara Liasson’s report this morning on NPR’s morning edition, so if you missed the speech, you can listen online ("Kerry Delivers Forceful Challenge to Bush" segment). Most of the highlights were rhetorically masterful, saying something about himself, and about Bush, at the same time:

  • The intros by the Swift Boat crews and by Max Cleland came off okay; like Kevin’s guest blogger Amy at the Political Animal, I was wondering if they were not taking this a bit too far.
  • His biofilm and introductions stressing his life of service, coupled with the assertion that he has never backed away from service to his country, he projects the requisite strength. And also makes you wonder, who would?
  • As Kos blogged in realtime, Kerry nicely turned Bush’s rhetoric of ‘restoring dignity and honor to the White House” back on Bush, promising to restore “truth and credibility.”
  • The values talk, that paralleled Obama’s: we are all Americans, and please Mr. Bush, let us not divide America for gain.
  • Kerry used religion, and used it well (the Democrats know they are losing lower income whites over values issues, and religion is central to this). First, he appealed to many people who might be religious (or who say they are, when they mean something more akin to spiritual) by noting he does not wear his religion on his sleeve. Second, he used Lincoln well: ‘its not about whether God is on our side, but if we are worthy of God.’ Note it’s a paraphrase. Third, he tied religious references to Democratic policies – a little over the top for the commentators on PBS, but a reward for the faithful: “honor thy mother and father,” means not privatizing social security. (‘well, what if we let Halliburton run it, sir?’).
  • There’s more decent analysis of the religion talk by Steve Waldman at

For the bottom liners, Kos is usually first and fullest with the polls.

Happy Friday.

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