Blogs > HNN > The Convention that Was

Sep 5, 2004 9:47 am

The Convention that Was

Busy hiring new interns and new editors this week I only now got the chance finally to blog about the convention.

As a Democrat, of course, it was an ordeal. Like going to the dentist. I could feel the drill burrowing deep. I'm sure I would have felt better if I had just ignored the thing (like my mother and many friends did).

As a citizen it was an even worse ordeal. Like open heart surgery. If democracy were a patient, this was the week the patient took to his bed complaining of ulcers, headaches, and heart strain.

While the Republicans celebrated their commander in chief the soldiers he commanded to Iraq were dying in a murky cause in a country he doesn't understand for an unlimited length of time. And yet he had the gall to pretend all is well. And he still insisted, against the facts, that his invasion would result in a democratic Iraq. I had thought it was a sign of realism a few months ago when the administration dropped the claim that Iraq would become a democracy but here was the president reviving his wholly improbable rhetoric of a year ago.

Ronald Reagan was condemned for getting some anecdotes wrong, and mangling facts. President Bush has managed to misconstrue an entire country's prospects.

In an interview with the Today Show's Matt Lauer, the president almost seemed ready to embrace a realistic understanding of the"war on terrorism," explaining that it can't be won. By the next day, after the Democrats had seized on his admission, he had backed down, claiming it can be won. Can you spell f-l-i-p f-l-o-p-p-e-r?

Candidate John Kerry immediately went on TV to say that the war on terrorism can be won. Another low moment in American democracy. Shouldn't he have said that he was happy to learn that the president had finally abandoned the apocalyptic rhetoric of a good versus evil, war on terrorism? Instead, preferring to score some meaningless political points, Kerry passed up the opportunity to inject a note of realism into the national debate and tried to out-Bush Bush. Note to Kerry: You can't out Bush Bush. If this is a contest between candidates who take a simple view of the world Bush will win that fight. He's been doing simple for years and knows how to pull it off.

Max Boot observed that Bush's admission to Matt Lauer was a classic example of the Washington gaffe. Inadvertently, Bush had let the truth slip out.

So both parties let us down last week. I don't see much reason to think the remaining 8 weeks of the campaign will go much better.

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More Comments:

Stephen Thomas - 10/29/2004

The U.S. electorate is smarter than you, Mr. Meo.

Most of us know that the purpose of U.S. foreign policy, particularly in time of war is to win. That's right, to win.

The sophistry you are selling is from a time long past. It's silly.

The electorate will make the right decision. Over the long run, it almost always does.

The problem is that you are a leftist dinosaur, infatuated with the dumb catch phrases of the 60s. Ever noticed that that was 40 years ago?

Time flies.

Michael Meo - 9/16/2004

was not Bush's speech, which was his garden-variety treatment of his audience as if they are second-graders struggling to read "My Pet Goat."

The low point, for me, was Zell Miller's naked appeal to fear. Not an isolated phrase, but a whole speech devoted to the warning that we are threatened with immediate extinction by innumerable enemies abroad and at home, and mindless application of force and violence will be our only salvation.