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 (Kerrys 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.