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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Laura Bush's speech

Laura Bush gave the final speech of the evening (Transcript here). I thought that she gave a good speech, and that it accomplished a couple of strategic goals for the Republican party. The first goal, was to broadly attest to, and humanize the President. She combined personal viewpoints with her thoughts on the various accomplishments of the administration such as No Child Left Behind and the tax cuts. Her second goal, was to counter the image of the President as a lover of war and show his reluctance, and concern over sending American men and women to war. Here is how she did that:

No American president ever wants to go to war. Abraham Lincoln didn't want to go to war, but he knew saving the union required it. Franklin Roosevelt didn't want to go to war, but he knew defeating tyranny demanded it. And my husband didn't want to go to war, but he knew the safety and security of America and the world depended on it. I remember some very quiet nights at the dinner table. George was weighing grim scenarios and ominous intelligence about potentially even more devastating attacks. I listened many nights as George talked with foreign leaders on the phone, or in our living room, or at our ranch in Crawford. I remember an intense weekend at Camp David. George and Prime Minister Tony Blair were discussing the threat from Saddam Hussein. And I remember sitting in the window of the White House, watching as my husband walked on the lawn below. I knew he was wrestling with these agonizing decisions that would have such profound consequence for so many lives and for the future of our world. And I was there when my husband had to decide. Once again, as in our parents' generation, America had to make the tough choices, the hard decisions, and lead the world toward greater security and freedom.
I think that this was well done, and will have a positive effect. From a few polls I have seen, one of the negatives against George Bush, especially among women, is that he is too aggressive, that he loves war. These women are by and large strong on the issue of defending America, but want to know that any war is needed and the President wrestles with these decisions. I think that she got that message across well. The theme for the night was more on the social agenda, the compassionate conservatism of George Bush. There was plenty of war talk too, 9/11 is on full display at this convention, but education, tax cuts and prescription drugs were a big part of tonight's message. Personally, having mixed feelings about this aspect of George Bush's presidency It was a less effective night all in all to me. I like no child left behind, and I am always for tax cuts, but the Prescription drug entitlement I dislike and the rising deficits worry me.


Blogger Jennifer said...

I thought she did a decent job also. Especially, as you said, countering the impression some people have as the President being a war-monger. Was it John Kerry who alluded to this in his acceptance speech (among other times), saying that he would never go to war unless he absolutely had to (and receiving thunderderous applause as a result)? It really bothers me that some Democrats are trying to claim that Bush brought the country into the Iraq war just to satisfy his blood-thirsty need for power, or to finish his dad's job in the Gulf War. I see most of the matter boiling down to the debate of the importance of the threat that Iraq posed. Evidently, with the intelligence that was presented to him, Bush thought Iraq was a very real and dangerous threat. Others (including many liberals) did not see that -- or just didn't want to go to war regardless of whether or not there was a significant threat. However, they do not let it stand as a mere difference in opinion; they prefer to slam Bush and imply that we went to war on a whim. I find this unfortunate and irresponsible of them.

9/01/2004 08:39:00 AM  

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