Friday, July 30, 2004

Morning After

Obviously I can't speak about how it played "out there," but it played really well in the hall. I think the media has exaggerated the degree to which people aren't thrilled with Kerry as a candidate. Consider Gail Collins, the liberal editor of the liberal New York Times's liberal editorial page:

Despite the fact that Mr. Kerry's great selling point was being a winner, the Democrats now regard him as, at best, a non-loser who can, with great effort, possibly be dragged across the finish line ahead of the other guy.

I think Democrats recognize that the polls are fairly close and elections are hard work. These Democrats are unspecified, but the ones I've talked to wouldn't characterize Kerry as a "non-loser."

But, to the extent that there was some trepidation by convention-goers about whether Kerry had the stuff, it was pretty much melted away by the speech.

It was interesting -- excerpts of the speech were released at about 5pm or so, and they definitely portrayed a very different speech than the one that was given. I got a copy at about 7:50 (even before Drudge!), and while I just gave it a quick skim, wanting to see it mostly fresh when he delivered it, I noticed that Kerry was taking a few risks -- it wasn't going to be a night of bland inoffensive platitudes.

To me, the whole thing was the ultimate judo move. What Kerry did was take everything the Republicans had been throwing at him and Democrats over the past few years, grab it and flip it over, including throwing their 2000 election campaign refrains back in their faces ("help is on the way", "restore honor and dignity"). It was particularly impressive how he managed to seize on the issue of "optimism" that the Bushies have been pushing and completely redefine it, to remind people what the concept of American optimism really is.

It was a strong speech. It was a proudly liberal speech. It laid out Kerry's policy ideas in general terms, though judging from the CNN coverage I'm watching the important issue is the length of the speech (shorter than had been advertised).

Good job.

...The Times actually gives some pretty good coverage for once, without Nagourney's snotty incoherency or Wilgoren's venom.