July 27, 2004

Convention Dynamic

So I ask [Moore] what he makes of all of this. No attacks on the president. Not even any mention of the man’s name. It’s like […] the non-Michael Moore event. […]

Clearly, the guy didn’t know what to make of me. And as he breezes by he says, “Oh, Really? I liked it. You don’t even have to say it. Everyone knows how bad it is.”

Think what you will about Michael Moore or evening one of the convention, I think that sums up precisely what this event is all about and the dynamic on which it’s operating.

That, according to Josh Marshall. I taped the big prime-time speeches and will be watching them while I do my morning exercises. But what I saw last night (some of Al Gore and some of President Carter) certainly had its references to the state of things.

… we cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic. Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country. Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others. And finally, in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.

(full text of Carter’s speech)

Atrios on President Carter: “Meet President Carter. They begged for an honest man, and they drove him out of town. Bastards.”

Posted by James at July 27, 2004 9:12 AM
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I missed Gore, but Carter's speech was excellent. Or I thought it was, until I heard Clinton's.

While Clinton was talking, I thought I smelled something bad. I checked the wastebasket, the laundry basket, even the bathroom, but couldn't find the source. Then I realized the smell was the result of all the nation's Republicans losing control of their bodily functions.

Unfortunately, Clinton isn't running for president, and Kerry can't speech like Clinton. But I hope some of it will rub off on him.

I was annoyed by the way the talking heads on Hardball this weekend were yacking about how the Clintons would be holding back on their speeches. Supposedly (according to conservative pundits), the Clintons don't really want Kerry to win the election because then they would have to wait longer for Hillary to run.

If last night was a good example of how the Clintons "hold back," I think we'll do okay.

Posted by: Julie at July 27, 2004 10:19 AM

"I was annoyed by the way the talking heads on Hardball this weekend were yacking about how the Clintons would be holding back on their speeches."

Yes. Matthews seems to be obsessed with this theory. BZZZZZT - wrong again, Chris. Clinton's speech ("Send John Kerry!") was a rallying cry. I could not imagine it being more pro-Kerry.

If last night was an example of the Clintons holding back, I daresay Hillary could run against Kerry in four years with Bill running her campaign. So that obsession is just media nonsense for the tinfoil hat crowd.

Posted by: James at July 27, 2004 10:38 AM

Carter wasn't driven out of town because he was an honest man. He was thrown out of office because he was a failed president. ('Miserable failure' anyone?)

Until very recently I belonged to the elephant party and even I could say, "Nixon was flawed and a disgrace". Why can't Dems thoughtfully evaluate one of their own?

Carter was a horrible, HORRIBLE president who presided over decay at home and humiliation abroad. The fact that he now builds houses for poor people doesnt change that one bit.

He's probably a good friend, a wonderful father, husband and grandfather, etc. But he was never cut out to be president.

"They" didn't push him; "he" jumped.

Ok, as you were.

Posted by: Steve at July 27, 2004 10:42 AM

Yes, he was just terrible. Thank god we got Reagan who was wonderful, especially to the poor and people with AIDS. What a refreshing change.

Give me a break.

Posted by: Patti M. at July 27, 2004 10:55 AM

My favorite part of Clinton's speech last night:

"Second, we live in an interdependent world in which we can't kill, jail, or occupy all our potential adversaries, so we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists."

Posted by: Patti M. at July 27, 2004 11:06 AM

He is and was an honest man, a quality that didn't do much to get him re-elected.

My sense of Reagan was that he was basically honest as well, though I disliked his policies strongly. He didn't try to cast himself as somehtign he wasn't. At least not in my recollection. No "compassionate conservatism" speeches.

My quote from Atrios was mainly to show that Democrats still love the man. We can disagree about the 4 years of the presidency and what succeeded him, but he is judged today by much more than what happened within those 4 years. He did win the Nobel Peace Prize, after all. I think it should be obvious why Democrats today look up to him. He's got a great public service record and inspires people in ways Dubya may never dream to.

In short, he leads in a very compellng way. By example; by his actions.

In the upcoming election (as evidenced by CLinton's speech), the Democrats will stress Kerry's ability to lead by example and by his actions. That's where all this talk of Republican divisionism vs. American unity, leading/misleading, "Send ME!" points.

I'll be interested ot see if Obama has a different message, or whether this is the theme for the convention.

Posted by: James at July 27, 2004 11:16 AM

While I listened to Carter last night, I found myself saying "you got that right" and "god bless Jimmy Carter."

I liked him. Many of us liked him. Sadly, he was an embodiment of the axiom "nice guys finish last."

Hard to compete with a movie star. I saw Janeane Garofalo perform this past Sunday, and she talked about having to remind people that Ronnie never actually served in the military--that was the movies. He wasn't actually The Gipper--that was the movies.

Most people are dumb and want either someone who will offer them glamour (Reagan's Hollywood connection, which, oddly, is a connection now demonized by Republicans) or someone who is dumb like them or dumber (Bush), because nobody likes the smart kid in class, something to which I can attest personally.

Posted by: Patti M. at July 27, 2004 11:39 AM

They only demonize hollywood when it serves them but are pretty gung ho about Hollywood types when they are on their side a la Ahhnold or Mel.

Posted by: Bob at July 27, 2004 12:21 PM

Interesting to compare Carter and Nixon. Nixon resorted to breaking the law because he was so desperate to be re-elected. Carter didn't do that. And Carter was never too drunk to meet with other world leaders.

I can easily forgive Carter for any mistakes he may have made as president, because he has spent the rest of his life making up for them. Nixon, on the other hand, did not devote his retirement to making the world a better place or undoing the damage he did - even to his own party. He accomplished some good things while in office, but I fear that may only have been an accident.

Posted by: Julie at July 27, 2004 12:53 PM

Oddly enough, if Nixon were alive today and running for office, he would be considered "not Republican enough" by today's Neocons.

Funny old world, ain't it?

Posted by: Patti M. at July 27, 2004 1:58 PM

First of all, Reagan WAS in the military during the Second World War. He was mustered out as a captain after REFUSING a promotion to Major.

He was kept from combat because of notoriously poor eyesight. (Dutch was a pioneer of "hard" contact lenses. He wore one -- just one, so he could read with the other eye)

Now you might hate Reagan but I think it would be very hard to make an argument that he 'avoided' service or wimped out.

And he did what to poor people and AIDS patients? Over 6 billion dollars was spent on AIDS research during the Reagan administration. More money for AIDS than cancer.

And poor people? Federal spending on poverty programs actually rose during his administration. The amount of growth was limited to inflation fluctuations. The programs were not halted.

Civics 101 spending bills originate in the House. The House was overwhelmingly Democrat during all 8 years of of Reagan. If you have a problem with the social policies of the 1980s, talk to the DNC.

Or maybe you were referring to the homeless? You can blame Carter era liberal judges who legislated from the bench and issued Consent Decrees emptying the institutions if the patients were not a threat to themselves or others. (Obviously THAT definition could be debated in retrospect.)

There, I gave you a break. You didn't have to do a bit of work but you walk away better informed than you were when you woke up this morning.

Posted by: Steve at July 27, 2004 3:15 PM

Ah, fond memories of Reagan's economic policies. Do you know, I'm still waiting for my mink coat to trickle down?


Posted by: Patti M. at July 27, 2004 4:29 PM

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