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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cheney's Speech

Cheney's Speech, following Zell Miller, was calm, measured and statesmanlike the the themes were seamless (Transcript here.) He started with a bit of domestic stuff and some nice fluffy history but the meat of the speech (red meat to be sure) was foreign policy and John Kerry as a Senator and leader.

Four years ago, some said the world had grown calm, and many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to danger. That thought might have been comforting; it was also false. Like other generations of Americans, we soon discovered that history had great and unexpected duties in store for us. Sept. 11th, 2001, made clear the challenges we face. On that day we saw the harm that could be done by 19 men armed with knives and boarding passes. America also awakened to a possibility even more lethal: this enemy, whose hatred of us is limitless, armed with chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons. Just as surely as the Nazis during World War Two and the Soviet communists during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction. As in other times, we are in a war we did not start, and have no choice but to win. Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by a superb commander in chief, we will prevail. The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity because terrorists had done so previously. But if the killers of Sept. 11 thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America and they did not know George W. Bush.
He follows with an outline of the accomlishments of the War on Terror: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libiya, and the dismantlement of the A. Q. Khan network and capture of terrorists thoughout the globe. Then he started talking about Kerry.
The President's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it. But there is also a record of more than three decades since. And on the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest. History has shown that a strong and purposeful America is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe yet time and again Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on national security. Senator Kerry began his political career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed "only at the directive of the United Nations ." During the 1980s, Senator Kerry opposed Ronald Reagan 's major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm. Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed. He talks about leading a "more sensitive war on terror," as though al-Qaida will be impressed with our softer side. He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked, and faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it and that includes the use of military force.
Let me repeat one part: "He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked." I noticed this myself during Kerry's speech and I think it is a devastating and legitimate attack.
In his years in Washington, John Kerryhas been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate and very fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a president, a president always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs and America has a president we can count on to get it right. ... Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys.
This night was probably the best political presentation I have ever seen. Devasting legitmate attacks. Two very different speaking styles that complimented each other but contained the same core message. They defined the election, and the Democrats will have a very, very tough time redefining this and if they cannot they will lose, and lose badly in my opinion. The only possible downside is that it does put a fair amount of pressure on George Bush's speech tomorrow night. Bush always seems to deliver when it matter though and I would bet he will do so tomorrow.


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