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The DNC - Comments and criticisms

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  • The DNC - Comments and criticisms

    I watched the tail end of the DNC coverage (Bill Clinton's speech), and saw excerpts of the Gore and H. Clinton speeches.

    God what a difference. I don't want this to devolve into party bashing, but as a fairly conservative person, the contrasts between the staid liberalism (and I mean the "L-word") of Gore and the vital, exhuberant social conscience of Bill Clinton is amazing. I listened to Bill speak, and I wanted to vote right then and there! I'm not really kidding!

    I wasn;t all that interested befire, but after that speech I can't wait to hear what Edwards and Kerry have to say on Wed and Thurs., respectively. As a skeptic, and talking from the perspective of an outsider (or if you will, a swing voter), I think in an ironic way, Bill's speech has continued a trend. He is at once the most popular Democrat in my generation - by a long shot - and yet I firmly believe he hurts his party at every turn. He hurt Gore (not helped him) with his ambivalence in the 2000 election. He alienated a significant part of his party with his centrist position (particularly economically). Last night, and I think I can be argued with on this, I tihnk he was so good compared to Gore and his wife, that the bar is very high for the candidates. If Edwards and Kerry aren't exhuberant, energetic, open, and addressing those people that will be thinking with their wallets in November otherwise they are dead in the water.

  • #2
    I think that Bill Clinton may have just presented Kerry with his biggest problem: Clinton reminded all of the party faithful (and others) that John Kerry isn't Bill Clinton. I've written elsewhere on this site about my mixed feelings on Clinton, so I won't repeat them here, but I'm like Bill (not Clinton :) ) in that I was ready to go out and vote right then. He engaged ideas without engaging ideology. That may be the toughest thing for a politician to do. He came off seeming very measured and thoughtful, not an ideologue. I wanted to live in the world he was promising. Of course, then we were reminded that he wasn't the candidate.

    Another person who impressed me in substance, if not delivery, was Jimmy Carter. I liked that the party bosses tried to edit his speech and he refused their requests. Both major party canditates are talking about their integrity, but next to Carter they both seem silly claiming integrity as a campaign issue. Carter seems to be a person who always tried to do the right thing, which was often the politically wrong thing. While it hurt his administration, it has made his post-Presidential life world changing. Kerry might be wise to convince people that he can also be that kind of person.

    I guess I was ready to vote for two people at the end of the night. Unfortunately, neither of them were running for office.

    Comment


    • #3
      "I guess I was ready to vote for two people at the end of the night. Unfortunately, neither of them were running for office."

      Aren't politics great? I am a big fan of Carter the man (although VERY critical of Carter the President). I got to meet him briefly at Emory University, and was very impressed.

      Take this for what it is, but I wish there were more people like Carter and Clinton in active politics AND that more closely shared my political views (although as time goes on, I would probably admit that Clinton and I are converging to a degree).

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm with you on Carter. I have very mixed feelings about his presidency. His was the first I really remember with any detail (I was 7 when he was elected), so I remember him as being a little more infallibe than he is. I always saw the good man, but I didn't understand politics. Now that I do, I realize some of the problems that he created by trying to do the right thing. Sad that doing the right thing and doing the right political thing so often produce such radically different results. However, as a person, I think you can find very few to admire more.

        Now the Clinton thing. Of course you're starting to see your views start to merge. Both of you are really moderate Republicans, with a liberal leaning on social issues. I say that because of Clinton's largely pro-business policies. And if you're as electrifying a speaker... :)

        Last night was interesting to me, because it showed what is good and bad about the Democratic party. Kennedy is interesting and full of ideas (among other things), but he is a lightning rod by choice. Gephardt and Daschle are both as interesting as watching paint dry, even when they're trying their best to be dynamic. Even if I agreed with their ideas I wouldn't find them all that inspiring. Dean was Dean, and I like how he presents himself. He still came off as a fighter. The Senate candidate from Illinois (won't attempt the name) puzzled me a little bit. He made a great speech with some good ideas, but I don't get all of the people who are calling him the future of the party. I think he is interesting and think he represents a lot of what is good about the party, especially reflecting what is in some ways the ideal of the American experience.

        Then there was Teresa. I love her. Strong women captivate me, and she projected real strength last night. I'm being really serious when I say that my opinion of John Kerry has changed after hearing her speak (and seeing her in the news the last couple of days). If Kerry is doing something to make a woman like that happy, then he has to have something going on that I've not yet seen.

        Comment


        • #5
          I started watching the Gephardt speech, and I opted to something else more exciting, like re-organizing my garden hoses. Please.

          I liked the speech last night by the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer what's-her-name. She could be a player. Engaging, smart, let's not deny attractive, and believable.

          Now for the controversy (and in this regard ONLY I would probably align with Ted as a "lightning rod"). In my opinoin, Edwards did not sustain the energy of Clinton, or, more correctly, Edwards proved true the fears of those that believe that Clinton overshadows that party. Sure, he got a great reaction from the choir, but somewhere during that speech I lost my fervor to support what the Democratic Party was selling. He was rushed, he tried too hard (he talked over the crowd the whole speech rather than letting it breathe, letting it build), and I think he didn't project the authority and charisma that he needs and is so highly regarded for, respectively. That was NOT the speech he had to give to convince people like me that we could hvae the best of both worlds with Kerry/Edwards.

          (And on a personal, petty note, that "Aw shucks" stare into the rafters with the dumb thumb has got to go. He looks like Beaver Cleaver when he does that, and loses all the respect he is trying so hard otherwise to command. I don't suggest that elections should hinge on that, but I guarantee you if there are live episodes between now and Election Day, that WILL be the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit.)

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not sure that Edwards' boyish charm will have a long shelf life. It seems to me to be something that will wear thin if he tries to rely on it too much. After awhile it seems a little too put on for me.

            I'm really interested in tonight. I'm interested to see how Kerry presents himself. It seems like the presidential race is shaping up to be a contest of swagger, so I can't wait to see if Kerry can pull any of it off. I suspect that he will say a few things that seem profound, but will seem like slogans within two or three days. I also think he won't criticize enough to satisfy a lot of Demos, preferring to focus on himself.

            The Democratic strategies of the last two presidential cycles confuse me. Gore didn't want his campaign to be a referendum on Clinton's presidency, and Kerry doesn't want this election to be a referendum of Bush's. I'm not sure why those are such bad strategies, or at least part of a strategy. I understand the desire for self-promotion, but the Democrats seem to keep missing some valuable opportunities out of stubbornness.

            Comment


            • #7
              a couple of things:

              I'm confused- John Edwards thinks we have 2 Americas, but John Kerry sees 1??? I won't spend much time on Edwards- I think he is overrated because of his twangy plain folks way of talking and his boyish looks. His speech was trite, bland and boring and if I'm Al Qaeda, I'm sure I'm really shaking right now after his promist to get me.

              On to Kerry:

              I've been following this "reinvention convention" with morbid fascination for four days now, and I was still blindsided by Kerry last night. What a cynical man to think that he can fool so many millions into thinking he is a Republican. Didn't we hear after the 2000 and 2002 elections that the Democrats had to stop pretending to be Republicans to win? Kerry effectively moved to the right of Bush last night, wrapping himself in God, family values, the flag and patriotism, while promising balanced budgets, protectionist trade policies, unilateral military action if attacked, and middle class tax cuts. It is an interesting strategy- he assumes the ABB vote (anybody but bush) and is now focusing on disenchanted Republicans and conservative Dixiecrats. Hell, it might work- Pat Buchanan was gushing about Kerry's speech on PMSNBC last night, and if I have to say, the speech sounded like Buchanan-lite. I don't know how he is going to hold together the various splinter left wing groups that are the core of the Democrat party without offering them more red meat than "better health care". In fact, I don't know how he can win an election by promsing to basically do exactly what his opponent has been doing, only "better".

              Bush's response is going to be very easy- focus on Kerry's voting record. He doesn't even have to "go negative", just point out the gaping chasm between the Kerry of last night (who pretended that his years in the senate didn't exist), and the Kerry of the last 20 years who scored nothing but high marks from various leftist groups for his voting record. BTW, for John Edwards and John Kerry to both lash out against "going negative" after the Democrats have done nothing but bash Bush for the majority of the last four years is an absolute joke. More evidence of their cynicism- the Merkans watching on TV just aren't smart enough to discern that Kerry and Edwards are doing the exact thing they asking their opponents not to do. Imagine that campaign strategy- I talk bad about you, but ask you not to talk bad about me. Who would go for that?

              All in all, I give Kerry a big fat C- for delivery (forced, sweaty, uneven) and an F- for content (pretending to be a Republican, ignoring his own base and forgetting the Green Party voters).


              Well I know I'll get flamed and bashed, but that was my take for what it's worth...

              dlackey

              Comment


              • #8
                Actually DLackey, I tend to agree with you on a lot of your points. Dammit, first I agree with Bill and now you :lol:

                My biggest problem with the Democratic party over the last 10 years is that they have moved to the center in an effort to appeal to more voters. Now when they want to capture the middle swing voters, they aren't moving to the center, they are moving to the right. While many in the base of the party think this is brilliant, I think it is really isolating the swing voters that could matter the most, which are those on the left. You remember us. The ones who aren't afraid to be liberal. Last night convinced me, more than ever, that my interests have been laregely abandoned by the party.

                I guess what I'm saying is that I think the Democrats may be trying to attract the wrong swing voters. They wouldn't have to whine about Nader being a "spoiler" if they would be the party they used to be. This election is supposed to be about the swing vote, but I'm an ignored swing voter, which is why I voted Green in the last election. For pragmatic purposes, I would like to vote Democrat this year, but I suspect I won't if I vote my conscience. I've mentioned before that I have that luxury as a Texas resident.

                To directly address you dl, it's interesting that we have similar criticisms coming from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Maybe Kerry should listen to people other than the Democratic faithful.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The core issue is a problem of rhetoric. The Republicans own the rhetoric of "you can keep what you already have" - which may or may not be true, but they own it. The Democrats need to come up with a rhetoric that says "you will sacrifice some now, but you'll have more later" - which is a way harder sell and may also not be true.

                  I am reminded of a recent article I read that quoted a small businessman that lamented the recent tax breaks he recieved thanks to Bush. His basic issue was that while he was paying slightly less taxes on the income he earned, the economy was such that his actual income was way down. Consumer spending and confidence is way down, and many are starting to worry about the lack of movement in currency changing hands.

                  The promise to simply cut taxes does not stimulate the economy unless those with the money are somehow persuaded to spend it - and extreme luxury doesn't create any circumstances of real need. The most robust spending is generated by the now disappearing middle-class. The way to solve this problem is to throw money at the creation of an enormous middle-class.

                  Everybody has some money. Everybody spends some money. Confidence is high.

                  Even the ancient Egyptians knew they had to employ the lower classes, even if they were doing something as monumentally wasteful as building pyramids. It makes the economy move.

                  New Deal anyone?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Doc
                    Actually DLackey, I tend to agree with you on a lot of your points. Dammit, first I agree with Bill and now you :lol:

                    My biggest problem with the Democratic party over the last 10 years is that they have moved to the center in an effort to appeal to more voters. Now when they want to capture the middle swing voters, they aren't moving to the center, they are moving to the right. While many in the base of the party think this is brilliant, I think it is really isolating the swing voters that could matter the most, which are those on the left. You remember us. The ones who aren't afraid to be liberal. Last night convinced me, more than ever, that my interests have been laregely abandoned by the party.

                    I guess what I'm saying is that I think the Democrats may be trying to attract the wrong swing voters. They wouldn't have to whine about Nader being a "spoiler" if they would be the party they used to be. This election is supposed to be about the swing vote, but I'm an ignored swing voter, which is why I voted Green in the last election. For pragmatic purposes, I would like to vote Democrat this year, but I suspect I won't if I vote my conscience. I've mentioned before that I have that luxury as a Texas resident.

                    To directly address you dl, it's interesting that we have similar criticisms coming from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Maybe Kerry should listen to people other than the Democratic faithful.
                    I'd like to know who these "undecided" and "swingers" are upon whom the fate of the nation rests. You mean they still don't know who the f##k they support??? Those of us who follow this shit every day and pay attention are held hostage by those who watch Springer and don't know John Kerry from Kerry Collins?

                    To all undecideds and swingers:

                    STAY HOME!!! Leave the politics to those of us (on the right and left) who care enough to stay informed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "I'm not sure that Edwards' boyish charm will have a long shelf life. It seems to me to be something that will wear thin if he tries to rely on it too much. After awhile it seems a little too put on for me."

                      I watched the Kerry speech and they cut to Edwards; I said to my wife and dad "C'mon, John, let's see the THUMB!" Sure enough in about 3 seconds SPROINNGGGG! There it went. 24 hours later, he's tired and trite.

                      "I suspect that he will say a few things that seem profound, but will seem like slogans within two or three days. I also think he won't criticize enough to satisfy a lot of Demos, preferring to focus on himself."

                      This is/was a good call. "But help is on the way!"

                      "The Democratic strategies of the last two presidential cycles confuse me. Gore didn't want his campaign to be a referendum on Clinton's presidency, and Kerry doesn't want this election to be a referendum of Bush's. I'm not sure why those are such bad strategies, or at least part of a strategy. I understand the desire for self-promotion, but the Democrats seem to keep missing some valuable opportunities out of stubbornness."

                      Or arrogance. See, Clinton could pull this off now, becuase he has the je ne sais quoi to pull it off. Gore absolutely did not, and I don't think Kerry does. He is a walking contradiction. Johnny Military and he doesn't even know how to snap a good salute. My only military experience is watching "Saving Private Ryan" and I know how to do it. Sheeesh.

                      "Actually DLackey, I tend to agree with you on a lot of your points. Dammit, first I agree with Bill and now you"

                      Welcome aboard, Doc. The initiation will be next Thursday night (make sure your tattoo is done by then) and I will teach you the secret handshake so you don't get held up at the door. :D :lol:

                      "My biggest problem with the Democratic party over the last 10 years is that they have moved to the center in an effort to appeal to more voters."

                      I think you are on to something. I think dem strategists think that It movement away from "tax and spend" is enough to swell the vote count. It isn't (ask Al Gore). For all his rhetoric, there is nothing concrete in Kerry's speech that clearly says how he is going to let me keep what I have or let me have more for what I am spending. Does that make sense? I don't mean to be crass, but this "hope for the future" nonsense isn't going to resonate in Peoria. The American people have loudly and conclusively stated that they don't give a fuck about the future IF it means sacrificing the now (either by paying for it now, or what) and I can give you 100 examples.

                      "The ones who aren't afraid to be liberal. Last night convinced me, more than ever, that my interests have been laregely abandoned by the party."

                      Although, having said that, as a Republican I can say the exact same thing, what with the emergence of the Christian Right as an out-of-the-closet political force and all this FCC and constitutional amendment nonsense.

                      I think the emphasis on the swing voters is WAY over-rated. I think the "swing" has much more to do with timing than position or ideology, meaning, I say I am a swing voter to not commit, but if things stay status quo, I know exactly where I am going.

                      "John Kerry from Kerry Collins?"

                      Outstanding reference!!!! Always impressed with references to former NY Giant QBs (and I am not kidding at all).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bill
                        (Quoting me)
                        "The Democratic strategies of the last two presidential cycles confuse me. Gore didn't want his campaign to be a referendum on Clinton's presidency, and Kerry doesn't want this election to be a referendum of Bush's. I'm not sure why those are such bad strategies, or at least part of a strategy. I understand the desire for self-promotion, but the Democrats seem to keep missing some valuable opportunities out of stubbornness."

                        Or arrogance. See, Clinton could pull this off now, becuase he has the je ne sais quoi to pull it off. Gore absolutely did not, and I don't think Kerry does. He is a walking contradiction. Johnny Military and he doesn't even know how to snap a good salute. My only military experience is watching "Saving Private Ryan" and I know how to do it. Sheeesh.
                        Clinton is still the master of personality and presence over substance. Clinton is a rock star in the way that Kerry never can be. The DNC organizers may try to make "Kerry the man" an issue, but I just don't think he is a compelling figure. I do, however, agree with some of his past priorities, which are apparently irrelevant now. Conversely, I agree with few (if any) of Bush's policies, but I think there is something oddly compelling about him. It amazes me that someone has stumbled into so much good fortune in his life and gets to act like he planned it all. I wouldn't ever just vote for the person, but if it comes down to who is most interesting for some voters, I think Kerry is in trouble.

                        I cringed when I saw the salute. Not just becuase it wasn't nice, crisp, and at the correct angle like they taught us in basic training, but because of what it represented. If so much is riding on Kerry's service in Vietnam, shouldn't I vote for someone who outranked Kerry?

                        Originally posted by Bill
                        (Quoting me...)
                        "Actually DLackey, I tend to agree with you on a lot of your points. Dammit, first I agree with Bill and now you"

                        Welcome aboard, Doc. The initiation will be next Thursday night (make sure your tattoo is done by then) and I will teach you the secret handshake so you don't get held up at the door. :D :lol:
                        There's beer after the meeting, isn't there?

                        Originally posted by Bill
                        (Quoting me) "My biggest problem with the Democratic party over the last 10 years is that they have moved to the center in an effort to appeal to more voters."

                        I think you ar e on to something. I think dem strategists think that It movement away from "tax and spend" is enough to swell the vote count. It isn't (ask Al Gore). For all his rhetoric, there is nothing concrete in Kerry's speech that clearly says how he is going to let me keep what I have or let me have more for what I am spending. Does that make sense? I don't mean to be crass, but this "hope for the future" nonsense isn't going to resonate in Peoria. The American people have loudly and conclusively stated that they don't give a fuck about the future IF it means sacrificing the now (either by paying for it now, or what) and I can give you 100 examples."
                        The change in political climate is really showing up in strategy, as well. It seems the Democrats are wanting to be Reagan now, wiith the generic focus on blind optimism. I'm expecting a "It's a new morning in America" campaign message at any time.

                        I agree with you about the voting public's concern for the future. We've seen far too many examples of this to think that the right here and now isn't the most important to voters. Some Dems are even saying that the intelligence issues before the war are irrelevant campaign issues, because people aren't concerned enough about what got us into a situation, they want to know how we're getting out of it. Yet they serve up "hope for the future" as the rallying cry. Nonsensical to me.


                        Originally posted by Bill
                        Quoting me
                        "The ones who aren't afraid to be liberal. Last night convinced me, more than ever, that my interests have been laregely abandoned by the party."

                        Although, having said that, as a Republican I can say the exact same thing, what with the emergence of the Christian Right as an out-of-the-closet political force and all this FCC and constitutional amendment nonsense.
                        The parties aren't like we used to know them, that's for sure. I once read that parties will adopt strange bedfellows in a two-party system, which essentially forms the coalitions of a parlimentary system. I think that may be partially accurate. However, I would at least like to choose who my strange bedfellows are. I would like to say you deserve the Christian right, but that may be too harsh for anyone.

                        Originally posted by Bill
                        Outstanding reference!!!! Always impressed with references to former NY Giant QBs (and I am not kidding).
                        I tried to find a way to work Phil Simms or Jeff Hosstettler into this post, but I couldn't :D

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Any ally that doesn't buck the plutocracy/corporatocracy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatocracy ) is okay with the Republicans and the Democrats; better even with the Republicans who will fearlessly loot our Republic and call it patriotism. At least while the Democrats are looting us they have the good taste to allow single multi-child mothers to live off of welfare - the Republicans would just cut her off to feed Haliburton.

                          I'd rather err on the side of feeding the single mother.

                          Call me humanist, not liberal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Nope, with all that "corporatism" nonsense, you're clearly "liberal".

                            Sorry, mate. If it looks like a duck...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Anonymous
                              Any ally that doesn't buck the plutocracy/corporatocracy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatocracy ) is okay with the Republicans and the Democrats; better even with the Republicans who will fearlessly loot our Republic and call it patriotism. At least while the Democrats are looting us they have the good taste to allow single multi-child mothers to live off of welfare - the Republicans would just cut her off to feed Haliburton.

                              I'd rather err on the side of feeding the single mother.

                              Call me humanist, not liberal.
                              Regardless of the label, what is most important to me is that we're being forced into choices of two evils (so to speak), more and more. I want the third or fourth choice. To use your example, I would like to feed children without feeling looted. Unfortunately, that's not an option in today's political climate.

                              Comment

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