Friday, July 30, 2004

DNC Notes -- Day 4 -- The final day

It’s finally official. John F. Kerry has accepted the Democratic nomination to run for President of the United States. In the words of Laura Ingraham, “[A]fter waiting almost four years, [the Democrats] finally have their chance to smash the hated George W. Bush and his crowd of Bible-thumping, tee totaling, gas-guzzling, gun-shooting, warmongering rednecks.”

The final night of the convention was not at all the standard type of night for the Democratic party. Almost the entire evening was dedicated to glorifying Senator Kerry’s 4 months (that’s right, 4 months) in Vietnam. There were speeches by generals, appearances by comrades in arms and a video detailing Kerry’s exploits on a swift boat in the Mekong Delta. It was highly unusual fare for the DNC. After all, this is the party that convinced America in 1990’s that military service was meaningless when the draft-avoiding Bill Clinton defeated war heroes, George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole in consecutive elections.

Senator Kerry finally took the stage for his address around ten o’clock at night. Kerry began his acceptance speech with these words: “My name is John Kerry, and I am reporting for duty.” He then saluted. After his salute, he talked for over 45 minutes. Kerry’s choice of topics was quite interesting. Based on his choice of topics, Kerry either has the most selective memory in history or believes that the American people do.

Kerry talked about being born in the West Wing of an Army hospital in Colorado. He also talked about playing in a rock and roll band in high school but did not talk about the fact that he attended a Swiss boarding school. Kerry talked about joining the military after college, but he did not talk about protesting the war or the fact that he admitted to committing war crimes during his time of service. Perhaps most interesting was the lack of discussion of Kerry’s vast political experience. Kerry did not once mention serving as the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Gov. Michael Dukakis, and he barely referenced the fact that he has served in the United States Senate for 18 years – a credential that most candidates would proudly hail.

Before the speech, there were rumors that Kerry would finally provide some specifics about his plans for America. That did not happen. America most certainly did not learn what Kerry actually intends to do if he is elected president. Kerry made it clear that he would do everything better and smarter than George W. Bush but offered no clear alternative plans. Senator Kerry did not address the War on Terror by name, but he did assure the American people that his administration would at least respond to enemy attacks. He said, “Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.” Although veiled, this can fairly be interpreted as a repudiation of the Bush doctrine of preemption. It is a declaration that we should expect future attacks during a Kerry presidency and that the United States will wait until those attack have come before doing anything about them.

The part of the speech that most stirred my passions came near the end. It was when Kerry invoked the great name of Ronaldus Magnus (Ronald Reagan). Kerry cited hard-core atheist Ron Jr.’s eulogy of the late President Reagan and said that like Reagan, Kerry does not “wear his faith on his sleeve.” It is certainly true that Reagan was not as outspoken in public about his Christian faith as President George W. Bush, but I would like to ask Mr. Kerry who he believes Mr. Reagan would have voted for in the upcoming election. I’ll give you a hint. It would not have been someone who believes in appeasing evil, bowing to France and the UN or murdering the unborn.