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July 30, 2004

He, Robot

Did William Saletan see a different Kerry speech than I did last night?

The power of the speech, reflected in a deafening series of ovations that consumed the FleetCenter tonight, came not from Kerry's biography or the themes he brought to the campaign two years ago. It came from his expression of widespread, pent-up outrage at the offenses of the Bush administration.

Now admittedly, he probably saw more of the speech than I did, as the Sainted Wife and I could only stomach more than a minute or two of it at a time before being driven off by the sheer woodenness of it all, but we kept returning, such was our dark fascination with what we considered to be a slow-moving train wreck. But in the parts we did watch I saw none of the "explosions" Saletan writes about. What I saw were shots of delegates dutifully clapping their hands and not much else. Certainly they weren't undergoing the ecstatic transports of Peronista-like passion that Saletan somehow detected.

For us, the most potent effect of Kerry's speech was in the instant nostalgia for Clinton it produced.

"Do you remember how we couldn't turn away when Clinton was on?" I asked her.

"Yea," she replied, wistfully. "Dammit! He's doing that thing with his hands again!"

Hands in. Hands out. Hands together. Hands out. One thumbed fist twist . Repeat ad nauseaum.

Clinton literally mesmerized us on Monday night (we weren't the only ones), and Kerry drove us away on Thursday. I don't doubt that he did the same to a million other households--if even that many were watching. If Kerry has any sense and Clinton actually does campaign for him, Kerry won't send Clinton into a state he plans to visit later. The letdown is just too much. The Clinton House of Wonders needs to follow the Kerry Cliché Burlesque, not the other way round.

As Nick Gillespie in Reason said, It may well be true that, as a number of pundits have claimed, Kerry gave the best goddamned speech of his career last night. But that's a little like saying Yoko Ono's latest CD is her best-ever: It may well be technically true, but so what?

So why does Saletan so obviously think Kerry hit it out of the park? Well, check out who else thought it was a great speech.

What matters in a speech like this is the gestalt of it... and the gestalt of it was indeed 5 stars, QT ... "my guy" (well, okay, Teresa's guy :) did us all wonderfully well tonight with such uplifting vision of social and moral purpose, turning our backs decidedly on the dark intrigues of fear and backroom corruption -- with his well-toned checkmarks against the Halliburton and Enron tribe -- but only as pinpointed counterings which dramatized JUST how much Kerry is the leader of hope and help and vision and honor.

I'm one thrilled supporter!

Kerryisms aside, Saletan's reaction obviously puts him in the Kerry supporter crowd. The only people who think his speech last night rose above the quality of something you scrape off the bottom of your shoe are those who are so used to the aroma around it that they are able to speak at length about the nuances within. It's like listening to some drunk in a bar preach on the subtleties of hop and malt he's detected in his Rock Green Light.

Posted by Bigwig at July 30, 2004 04:42 PM | TrackBack
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Yeah, I wouldn't want to be the Kleenex box or the carpet in Saletan's house after any televised John Kerry appearance.

Posted by: Blackavar at July 31, 2004 10:51 PM

What the Hell Kerry voted not to impeach that scumbag lecher. So why shouldn't he give him a good review, one 's a coward and the other is a draft dodger

Posted by: snowman1 at August 4, 2004 01:29 AM
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