Thursday, August 05, 2004

David Broder has an interesting take on Kerry's acceptance speech.

Normally the challenger to an incumbent president has two main tasks to perform
during convention week. The first is to present a fuller picture of himself, one
that is more comfortable to the voter. The other is to lay down in strong terms
the case why the man in office should be replaced.

Kerry and other speakers fixated on one brief shining moment in his pre-political career: his valiant service as a Navy officer in Vietnam. It became the all-purpose metaphor -- "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty." But it never really merged with the story of his later life, and the American people are plenty smart enough to remember that throughout the 1990s, Democrats insisted that Bill Clinton's avoidance of military service during Vietnam was no disqualification for his
serving as commander in chief.

Left largely unanswered -- or only vaguely outlined -- was the question of what Kerry had done with his life in the decades since he came home from Vietnam, particularly in his 20 years of Senate service. President Bush immediately pounced on the omission, suggesting in his very first speech since Kerry's nomination that the senator has few "results" for which he can claim credit as a legislator. The charge is unfair, but Kerry left himself wide open to it.

I've said this before - Kerry is giving his service in Viet Nam as the only reason that he should be president. He was only there for four months. Hundreds of thousands were there for a full year. He was the only swift boat captain to get out early. Once home, he started protesting that the war should never have happened. Never the less, his service is the reason that we should vote for him.

This could blow up in his face. A anti-Kerry attack book is due out in a month (assuming that it can be found among the 50 anti-Bush books expected to be on the shelves by November). The book takes on Kerry's strong point, Viet Nam. According to excerpts, two of his three Purple Hearts were for self-inflicted wounds and he did commit atrocities, just like he implied when testifying to Congress.

Similarly, a new 60 second ad (not produced by the White House) has several Viet Nam veterans condemning Kerry and accusing him of lying about the action that won him his bronze star.

This is only fair. The anti-Bush folks have been attacking Bush's strong points. They say that we are less safe than before and that the new jobs the economy has produced are lower-paying than the ones lost.

Kerry mentioned this in his acceptance speech - that the new jobs pay $9,000 less than the old jobs. How did he come up with this figure? He made it up.

Actually, the institute he quoted from made it up. Employment figures are too complex. No one really knows how many people are moving up economically or are moving down. Tracking this sort of data requires an effort on the level of the national census which is only taken once a decade.

Kerry's figures are come from averages based on various employment sectors' relative contribution to the economy. If one sector, such as manufacturing, grows slower than the service industry then the figures imply that people who were in high-paying manufacturing jobs have moved to low-paying service jobs. It is lying with statistics at its best.

Bruce Springsteen was on Nightline last night talking about his upcoming Vote For Change tour. At one point Ted Koppel asked him if he was for Kerry or against Bush. He replied that he was pro-Kerry. A few minutes later, in a "gotcha" moment, Koppel told Springsteen that he sounded like he was anti-Bush instead of pro-Kerry.

Predictably, Eric Alterman looks at a half hour show featuring Springsteen telling everyone why they should vote against Bush and has a fit. It seems that ABC slipped in a quick mention of a couple of stars stumping for Bush showing their conservative bias (technically Alterman was quoting someone else but it still ran in his blog).

Springsteen was upset that anyone would question media stars expressing political opinions. So why is the Boss against Bush? "Because of all the environmental regulations he rolled back," Springsteen explained.

Bush has not rolled back regulations. There were some regulations that were held up for automatic review at the beginning of his term. Some of these went through unchanged, some were modified but are still tougher than the regulations they replaced. At no point did the Bush administration made the world a dirtier place.

Springsteen should know this before he spouts off to thousands of voters. He doesn't. This is why media starts should stay out of politics - they don't know what they are talking about.

After all, would you take marriage advice from these losers?

This is where Nancy Reagan's faith in stem cells comes from. In reality, Alzheimers is unlikely to ever be cured by stem cells but Nancy's Hollywood friends think that stem cells could cure everything if Bush was just out of the White House.

At any rate, Nancy made it clear that this is not the only issue she is interested in and that she strongly supports Bush.

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