Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Edwards’ speech

I saw most of John Edward’s speech last night, fell asleep, and this morning I saw the rest of it. It was essentially his two America’s stump speech, with the hard-line addition on terror and Iraq. Maybe I’m jaded, maybe I’ve seen Edwards too often (same speech, same tone), but I find him becoming a caricature of himself. When I give a speech in which I find myself repeating passages and formulations from other speeches, becoming self-conscious about it and become kind of formulaic. The audience senses this, and it is not to the speaker’s advantage. (I don’t think I did that this morning when I spoke to a Huron County GOP; nice folks, by the way). Edwards is now such a self-conscious speaker, and it shows. He is acting and knows he is acting, and so does everyone else. He’s becoming boring; there should always be an element of suprise in a speech; he no longer surprises. He should get a new speech.

But Edwards revealed the theme that Kerry has decided on, and I expect more of this sort of rhetoric during the campaign and from Kerry tonight: Very hard line on the war on terror and Iraq. We will destroy our enemies, Edwards says (almost quoting Bush). Some are beginning to say that Kerry will try the "missile gap" approach Kennedy used against Nixon in 1960: Kennedy called Nixon soft on the Soviets. It proved not to be true, but was useful in the campaign for Kennedy. I find it difficult to believe that Kerry will be able to run to the right of Bush on the war issue (Kerry’s record is to his disadvantage), as I find it hard to believe that the majority of the Liberals within the Demo party will continue to put up with it. It will sound hollow to the voters. The Bush campaign should pounce on it immediately.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Patience, Professor. The campaign starts on August 15, when Karen Hughes officially joins. That’s plenty of time to bore (err, I mean enlighten) the voters. :)

On PBS, both David Brooks and Mark shields thought Edwards did not come with his "A" game, and simply delivered a version of his "Two Americas" stump speech. It was, indeed, play-acting for the umpteenth time, and it showed. What I couldn’t stand was the repeated references to poor, pathetic America, working so hard and going nowhere. Here’s what Edwards offers as inspiring rhetoric to middle America:

"And you know what I’m saying. You don’t need me to explain it to you, you know—you can’t save any money, can you? Takes every dime you make just to pay your bills, and you know what happens if something goes wrong—a child gets sick, somebody gets laid off, or there’s a financial problem, you go right off the cliff.

And what’s the first thing to go? Your dreams." [Here, some in the audience yelled out, "Healthcare!"]

Puh-lease. This isn’t sympathy; it’s condescension, plain and simple. Decent Americans don’t need a slick politician talking about their day-to-day lives as if all hope is lost unless the right kind of Democrat comes along to give them a new lease on their dreams. He thinks the American voter is just one more jury member waiting for him to ply his trade, work their feelings, and get them to convict. If this gets folks to the polls to vote for Kerry-Edwards, then the state of America’s soul is worse off than I thought.

Which reminds me, I couldn’t have been the only one who was insulted when Edwards said: "When your parents call and tell you their medical bills are through the roof—you tell them ... hope is on the way." Are you kidding me?! I’m supposed to tell my dad that if he can’t pay his medical bills, the answer is "Hope is on the way"--in the form of a vote for John Kerry? I thought the American way, the faithful way, was for his own children, me and my siblings, to step up and help our own dad with his bills.

I agree with Prof Morel’s statement, especially the antiquated idea still apparently popular among the Democrats that the government is the solution to all of our problems. I tend to think that a strong sense of personal responsibility and voluntarism can go a lot farther. I should save for my own retirement. I should save for prescription drugs later in life. I should decide where and then pay for my own children’s education. I should get a job with healthcare. I should work two jobs if one is not paying the rent. I should down-size if I cannot afford my lifestyle unlike a lot of middle-class people. I don’t ask the government to do these things for me, and I don’t want it to. Of course, a small safety net for the truly disadvantaged is the human, Christian thing to do. But, that will cover a small percentage of the population.

My comments regarding the Edwards speech is that I did not really feel in my gut that the people were really not that excited. Sure, they were waving their banners and all that, but I just felt as if the enthusiasm was less than genuine. Maybe I’m wrong.

A final word about Edwards speech is the music follow-up. I don’t know who the rasta-men (and woman) rapping were, but I think the music choice not all that prudent. I’m not sure that they would have impressed an older viewer, or a 34-year old (yours truly) viewer for that matter. Some canned music or a more normal act might have played to middle America a little better. I’m not sure anyone but me noticed, but I thought the Democrats were trying to create a clean-cut image with Edwards and the contrast for me was striking. The commentators on FoxNews were striken dumb and could only laugh about the Peanuts or whoever they were. Bad image.

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