Monday, August 30, 2004


I was moving tonight, and have only had time to watch part of McCain's speech - on C-Span. I have heard no analysis. Has anyone claimed this speech his good? It's not - it's terrible. I've always thought he was a bad speaker - much worse than Dean on a bad day (except, of course, that ONE bad day) or even Bush on a bad day.

But beyond that... I wonder how conservatives respond to the liberal critique that Bush and the Republicans have tried their hardest to tie September 11 and Iraq together - despite the evidence that there was no such link. I have spoken about this to a few intelligent conservatives, and they insist that Bush has done no such thing. (Anyone out there care to comment on this? Do any of you U of C Federalist types still read our partisan bomb throwing - and also still support Bush? Do you think that Bush did this? Does it bother you?)

And they are right, to an extent. I can point to no transcript where Bush or any important Republican explicitly links the two. Bush, like Clinton, is usually too smart for that. Except, Clinton used clever word games so he wouldn't have to admit that he engaged in consensual face fucking in the oval office. Bush (to the extent that he is able) engages in clever word games so that the American people will support his decision to send young men and women to a foreign land to die.

McCain's speech is a perfect example:
Four years ago, in Philadelphia, I spoke of my confidence that President Bush would accept the responsibilities that come with America's distinction as the world's only superpower.

I promised he would not let America "retreat behind empty threats, false promises and uncertain diplomacy," that he would "confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened."

I knew -- I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center with his arm around a hero of September 11 and in our moment of mourning and anger, strengthen our unity and our resolve by promising to right this terrible wrong, and to stand up and fight for the values we hold dear.

He promised our enemies would soon hear from us. And so they did. So they did.

He ordered American forces to Afghanistan and took the fight to our enemies and away from our shores, seriously injuring Al Qaeda and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven.

He worked effectively to secure the cooperation of Pakistan, a relationship that's critical to our success against Al Qaeda.

He encouraged other friends to recognize the peril that terrorism posed for them and won their help in apprehending many of those who would attack us again and in helping to freeze the assets they used to fund their bloody work.

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq.
Where does his discussion of the response to 9/11 end and his discussion of the Iraq war begin? In what way are the connected? How is this speech not planting in the mind of the listener the idea that 9/11 and Iraq are connected?

Moving on... later, McCain said this:
Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Not our political opponents. And certainly -- and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe...

AUDIENCE (Booing filmmaker Michael Moore who attended the convention):

Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MCCAIN: Please, please, my friends.

That line was so good, I'll use it again. Certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe, my friends, who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace, when in fact -- when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls.
And if you could have heard those boos - unlike anything I heard at the DNC. (At least Bush hatred, if it exists, is directed at the actual person in charge of the conservative movement right now.)

Of course, there are many things to criticize about Moore's movie. But his response to this frequently made accusation makes sense. Nobody who watches this movie is unaware that Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator. The media, the President, the Democrats and even the most ardent critics of the war - including Howard Dean, the most vocal - had told us this for years. That doesn't change the fact that somewhere in Iraq, children played in the streets. The actual choice before Iraq was not whether nor not to let a bad man remain in power or to do nothing - the choice involved deciding whether or not it was worth incinerating some of those children remove him. The choice involved deciding how many American mothers had to sacrifice their children to remove him. The media did an abysmal job of presenting that choice; Moore presented only the other side. Whether this is most useful response - and it's probably not - it's understandable, defensible, and certainly not worth talking about during a nationally televised speech.
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