Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Sunday, August 01, 2004  

Although the Republicans are desperately trying to appear calm, cool, and collected, it's clear that Kerry's speech had a 9/11 effect on the political landscape: everything's changed. Let's run through the evidence.

This morning on This Week, Mary Matalin was in full-scale melt down. Her entire being was so suffused with anger that periodically ABC put the camera on her while others spoke, just to watch the tremors of rage ripple across her face. Near the end of the segment (with Donna Brazile, Fareed Zakaria, and George Will), she declared it a convention of hate. It was so over the top, so obviously an expression of her own feelings, that everyone on the stage snorted and protested. Will, though, wasn't much better. In a fit of pique, he compared Kerry to Dukakis--itself an absurd over-reaction--and when Stephanopolous calledWill on it, he admitted petulantly that he was trying to hit Kerry with the hardest rhetorical device at his disposal. This is typical of the right wing spinsters--they've become seriously unhinged. Let me tell you, though--these wild-eyed overstatements aren't doing Bush any favors.

Next we have the President himself, who has completely retooled his stump speech. Although the spinsters are still trying to peddle the "dour Democrats" message, it's obvious Bush doesn't believe it.

In an excerpt meant to show his optimism, Bush says: "We have turned the corner, and we are not turning back."

Devenish said Bush's campaign bus would also have a new look. Gone is the slogan "Yes, America Can." In its place, she said, are "Heart and Soul" and "Moving America Forward."

A sitting president doesn't change his stump speech after his opponent's convention unless he's worried.

Possibly the best evidence to date is an article in yesterday's WSJ by Zell Miller. Miller, who was the keynote speaker at 1992's Democratic convention and who has publicly announced his support of Bush, will speak at this year's GOP convention. He offers the GOP talking points verbatim, but listen to the overstatement. It appears as if he's talking about JP Morgan:

No longer the party of hope, today's Democratic Party has become Mr. Kerry's many mansions of cynicism and skepticism....

And when it comes to taxes and services, you'd be pressed to find anyone more opposed to the interests of middle-class Americans than John Kerry. Except maybe John Edwards. Both voted against tax relief for married couples, tax relief for families with children, and tax relief for small businesses. Now Mr. Kerry wants to raise taxes on hundreds of thousands of small-business owners and millions of individuals. He claims to be for working people, but I don't understand how small businesses can create jobs if they've got to send more money to Washington instead of keeping it to hire workers....

All the speeches we heard this week weren't able to hide the truth of what today's Democratic Party has become: an enclave of elites paying lip service to middle-class values. Americans looking for a president who understands their struggles and their dreams should tune in next month, when we celebrate the leadership of George W. Bush.

In the Midwest (Wisconsin, anyway, where I went to grad school), tornado alerts are signaled by a siren that sounds a lot like the air raid sirens from WWII movies. Reading Miller's bizarre prose is like flipping the switch to one of those sirens. It's not a reasoned, careful argument about candidate Kerry, it's a flinch-causing screech of pure fear from the author. I don't know if Miller is fearful for his legacy or his future, but he's clearly scared of something. And badly.

So the spinsters are going on the crazy attack and Bush is going warm and fuzzy. As always, the coordination is evident. It's the message that's confused. The convention changed everything. The GOP are still trying to figure out what.

posted by Jeff | 11:09 AM |
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