Kerry Speaks

John Kerry has arrived at the Fleet Center, and I’m getting my Fisking impulses ready. I also have a tall black and tan ready for the John Kerry Acceptance Speech Drinking Game – although I have a feeling I won’t be able to keep up with that while still maintaining enough coherency to blog. Kerry is up in 45 minutes.

First up is Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private RyanPimping Senator Kerry

8:23 – Alex and Vanessa Kerry are on the stage. Alexandra is not wearing anything see-through – which may either help or hurt Kerry depending on how you look at it. Vanessa looks a lot like her father. These speeches always help humanize the candidate. Vanessa seems to be doing a very good job of this. She’s a pretty decent speaker, and she’s hitting all the right notes for something like this. It’s interesting that Vanessa is stating that Kerry “never faltered” on the campaign trail… we’ll hear this message several times tonight. Too bad for Kerry that his legislative record doesn’t bear that out. Vanessa is doing exactly what she needs to do – humanize Kerry. She should have been up there rather than Teresa as a keynote. This speech is quite effective.

8:30 – Here’s Alexandra. We’ll see if she matches her sister’s performance.

John Kerry performing CPR on a hamster? PETA will love that…

Another good story. The Kerry girls are certainly doing their father proud. A few rather touching moments there, even for a hardened Republican like me. Yes, John Kerry may be a great human being, but that doesn’t mean that he’d be a good President. All these introductions are just prologue – good prologue, but fluff nevertheless.

Kerry doesn’t play to our baser instincts? Then why allow someone like Michael Moore – a true anti-American bomb-thrower into his convention?

The girls did well with what they needed to do. A good start for Kerry.

8:35 – Here’s Steven Spielberg’s Pimping Senator Kerry. Very slickly produced, but we’ll see how that Vietnam footage plays.

Just a side note – the rest of the band Kerry played in are all Republicans who plan to vote for Bush…

And here we go with Vietnam… Interesting that Kerry is comparing himself with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m not sure how that will play, although it’s probably an effective thing to say.

The delegates are cheering at Vietnam being a wrong war – how tasteless.

This is a very slick film, very effective. Even Teresa looks good in this thing, which is no small feat. It’s propaganda by design, but damn, it’s good propaganda. Then, when you have Hollywood on your side, you can get the best production values.

8:50 – Here come John Kerry’s former swiftboat crew – at least those who support him.

Kerry’s Vietnam service has been the centerpiece of his campaign – but it isn’t enough. Yes, Kerry served in Vietnam. With Clinton the Democrats already decided that it doesn’t matter. All this posturing about Kerry’s service doesn’t insulate him from criticism, nor does it have any bearing on how he will perform as President.

8:55 – Here comes Max Cleland, the Democrats new bloody shirt to wave around. The problem being that outside the hard-core anti-Bush Democrats A:) no one knows who Max Cleland is and B:) no one cares. It’s more flogging the Vietnam issue. Yes, we all know that Kerry served in Vietnam. It’s becoming a cliche. Flogging something that happen three decades ago only diminishes the currency – besides, many Vietnam vets hate John Kerry’s guts.

Good thing I’m not starting the John Kerry Acceptance Speech Drinking Game now, or I’d be sloshed by now…

9:02 – Cleland is hitting the usual Democratic themes we’ve heard umpteen million times before tonight alone. Just bring him out already!

Cleland looks decidedly like a televangelist. I would have definitely not had him introduce Kerry – he only appeals to hardcore Democrats. Alexandra and Vanessa would have been much better than Cleland for the introduction. I think Kerry is losing his audience already, which is not good for him. He should have started right at 10:00 EST.

Oh, and it’s Crispus Attucks, not Atticus. Yes, I’m being pedantic. So sue me.


Hmmm… by the looks of it, I’d say Kerry’s off the botox. I figured he’d have more in him than a bulging can of mushrooms for this. Probably looking for that gravitas factor.

9:10: Finally, Kerry actually gets into his speech.

He’s reporting for duty?! Good Lord!

“We’re here tonight because we love our country”… except for Michael Moore, of course.

Kerry is flubbing lines, and hesitating. This is not a very auspicious start for him. Granted, it could be emotion, but it doesn’t come across that way.

“Trees as the cathedrals of nature…” Good Lord.

9:15 – Kerry is still hammering the biographical information. Kerry rode his bike into East Berlin as a kid – probably where he got some of his policy ideas.

I have some rather lengthy analysis on Kerry’s opening theme about restoring pride internationally – but that will have to wait as I don’t have time to hit it and keep up with the speech.

We won the Cold War… no thanks to you, Senator.

There’s something missing here – not one word about terrorism. This is Kerry’s Achilles Heel.

Telling the truth to the American people – another bone to the “BUSH LIED!” crowd. Shameless.

He wants us to judge him by his record – you damn well better believe we will. His record is simply atrocious.

9:19 – More red meat to the base. This is not going to go over well. Kerry is going on the attack, and this is going to backfire on him in a big way. The gratuitous dig on Ashcroft is assine. Bush better push him on this.

9:20 – Here’s the first mention of terrorism – entirely offhand before going right on to the economy again.

Now Kerry is painting a horribly dim picture of this country – there goes that optimism, despite what Kerry wants to paint it as being.

Is Kerry implying we don’t believe in ourselves anymore? That may be true for the Democrats, but that won’t play well.

This is pabulum. This is cliche. Kerry is playing to the base right now. I don’t think this speech is so far doing what he needs to do to attract swing voters. This is the same basic stump speech he gave in the primaries. He has to illustrate something concrete, elsewise his speech is nothing more than platitudes. Granted, I’m not the most objective observer, but I don’t see this speech doing much besides preaching to the choir at this point.

9:24 – I don’t think America will embrace Teresa Heinz-Kerry – in fact, I think if anything she’s a liability for Kerry. However, the First Lady never really matters in a campaign, for better or for worse.

Kerry’s pretty animated right now. His speaking style is fairly good – Bush will have to be at his best in terms of oratory to match this.

9:26 – Now we get to September 11. I don’t think the public is going to blame Bush for breaking the post-September 11 unity – there’s plenty to go around.

9:27 – Another attack. More red meat. Bush can easily counter all this by asking the fundamental question about Iraq: “Was it right to liberate the Iraqi people?”

9:28 – By the time we have to go to war, millions of American could be dead. Bush needs to press this issue. The Bush Doctrine is necessary to protect this country – he needs to defend that doctrine. This argument can be easily countered by Bush.

9:29 – I think I know what Bush can do to devastate John Kerry… and I have the feeling that Karl Rove is smiling that Kerry just set it up.

9:30 – WE ARE NOT GOING IT ALONE! I HATE this argument. Our allies are fighting and dying with us, and I cannot stand anyone who brushes aside their contributions. Karl Rove, hit Kerry on this and hit him hard. Turn the argument on him. Show how Kerry is insulting the allies that matter. We can beat Kerry on this.

9:32 – Kerry is calling for ending the National Guard and Reserve! What the hell?! He’s going to get crucified on this one!

9:33 – “Strength is more than tough words” – which is all our military would have if Kerry had his way during the Cold War.

To be honest, I agree with Dick Morris. Kerry cannot win on national security, and bringing this up only helps Bush. The future belongs to freedom, but only if we’re willing to topple those regimes that stand against that freedom. Bush needs to make this case, and if he does it convincingly he can tear down Kerry on national security.

9:35 – Here we go with Kerry accusing his critics of calling him unpatriotic. I don’t think this plays well with swing voters. He’s implying that his critics don’t like democracy – this isn’t going to play well.

I think Kerry lecturing the country on patriotism is going to seriously hurt him. It comes off as arrogant and condescending.

9:37 – Kerry is harping on values now. OK, Senator. If values are more than just words, how can you reconcile your belief that life begins at conception with your support of abortion? Kerry is smart to tie values to economics, but I don’t think it’s going to work. Again, Kerry is trying to fight on Republican turf. I’m not sure this is going to work.

Kerry will not privatize Social Security – Bush needs to show how reform is necessary.

9:39 – Since when did the middle class have to wait for a tax cut? That line is not going to work.

9:40 – Family, faith, and hard work. Sorry, Senator, but those are values that government cannot create and often destroy.

Here Kerry goes on the loss of jobs. This is going to be a more effective argument for Kerry. However, I think the whole line about “help is on the way” won’t necessarily play well. At least it provides a theme for Kerry’s campaign so far – however, I think if the economy continues to improve this rhetoric will be less and less effective.

Wait, I thought Kerry was an optimist? Then why keep harping on all these sob stories? This is Democratic boilerplate. Like most of Kerry’s speech, it plays very well to the base, but it doesn’t appeal to swing voters.

9:43 – Kerry’s lower lip is distractingly shiny. The fact that I’m noticing this shows how Kerry is starting to lose me, and I’m trying to pay attention.

Here’s the fundamental problem Kerry is facing right now. His speech has lost focus. A good speech (and years of forensics has drilled this into my mind) is a speech that has a strong spine. Where’s the overall theme here?

Kerry supports PAYGO rules on the federal budget. Well, there’s one thing I agree with.

Kerry is promising to cut middle class taxes. Guess what, when a Democrat promises tax cuts, most people are disinclined to believe them. The richest 2% cannot possibly pay for everything. I think that if Bush can hit on a fiscally conservative plan to counter Kerry it could be devastating.

I’m still struggling with this speech. It’s a laundry list. It’s not engaging. It’s dry. Now granted, this will play well with the base, but it’s not the home run that Kerry needs. We’ll see if things get better in the home stretch, but I’m thinking that the Bush team is not quaking over this. Kerry looks like he’s sweating like a pig. It’s not as bad as Nixon in the 1960 debates, but it’s distracting nevertheless.

9:48 – Kerry wants us to be independent of Middle East oil – well, Senator, how about getting the oil in our own background in ANWR.

Good Lord, Kerry brought up the Saudis. More red meat for the base, but it’s going to sound crackpot to swing voters.

9:49 – “Go to John” Good Lord.

9:50 – Kerry is telling Bush to play nice. Not very effective when the crowd booed at Bush name and Kerry’s party is treating Michael Moore like the second coming. Again, Kerry is setting himself up for a fall.

Kerry is calling for Bush to reject division in politics. Does that go for his own party?

And looks like he just shot down John Edwards. Guess he forgot about that other nation.

9:52 – This mention of religion is going to hurt Kerry. Religious voters aren’t going to accept the idea that a pro-abortion candidate can argue that we’re trying to be on God’s side by supporting positions that directly contradict years of Judeo-Christian teachings.

9:53 – Kerry is starting to lose coherency in his speech again. This is a case of two many cooks spoiling the broth. It’s a mishmash. There are a few good lines in it, but Kerry is rushing it, and those lines are almost all lines for the base. This isn’t a horrible speech, but it isn’t a good one either. It would be a good primary speech, but I’m not sure Kerry is going to get a great bounce from this.

9:56 – Kerry was rushing if this was to be a 55-minute speech. It showed.

8 thoughts on “Kerry Speaks

  1. So far his speech is indeed the standard stuff from Kerry…he’s coming off as arrogant…as full of fluffy political rhetoric….

  2. Kerry’s sweating…trying to act more animated…but it comes off as amatuerish…Kerry sets the record for most banal platitudes in one night…Can we get Obama back…

  3. Kerry is coming off as a bad actor…and the sweat reminds me of Richard Nixon in 1960 in the debate…

    Somewhere Bill is turning to Hillary and saying, “It’ll be so much fun to have you run in 2008…”

  4. Even the crowd doesn’t seem that jazzed about the speech…Edwards doesn’t either…

    Hillary is thinking, “It will be fun when I’m accepting the nomination in 2008…”

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