Friday, September 03, 2004

Our fearless leader, who could hardly be seen beneath the metaphorical flag he wrapped himself in, began his speech by invoking 9/11. Not exactly surprising-- he just "happens" to be in New York, where there just "happened" to have been a huge attack, at a time when he "happened" to be president. Not that this adds up to anything like, say, using the pain and fear of the backdrop to one's advantage. Not a bit of it-- these guys are all totally stand up fellahs who never tell fibs. Ever. Honest.

He made an number of interesting points. Let's see....

Early on he invoked the now patron saint of the GOP, Ronald Reagan, by saying that Ronnie's

"spirit of optimism and good will and decency are in this hall and are in our hearts and will always define our party."

Which made me pause to wonder if he was talking about the good will example of firing the air traffic controlers, or the decency of the Iran-Contra affair? Or was it the good will of supporting Ferdinand Marcos and the decency of ignoring HIV/AIDS? Maybe it was just the wisdom of the man who declared that "facts are stupid things." Whichever one it was, the hall was buzzing with it!

In explaining his approach to education, Bush told us that: "... every child can learn and every school must teach..." which sure clears things up- because I was starting to wonder what the hell the schools were supposed to be doing! Now I know- teach! And all this time I thought schools were were housing sweat shops for Kathy Lee Gifford's clothing lines. But that's Central America- silly me!

On the Medicare issue, which considering the poor reception of the drug coverage (confusing, frustrating, and probably going to cost us all a heap of dough - $500 billion- without covering everybody for every drug) Bush declared that "Soon every senior will be able to get prescription drug coverage, and nothing will hold us back." I'm a little fuzzy on who the 'us' in this sentence is. Bush is not a senior. So who is he throwing his lot in with? Wait, I have an inkling of a memory coming from the back of my brain... something about the prescription drug bill precluding the ability of the government to bargain with drug companies over the prices seniors will pay for their prescriptions. Something about how the drug industry, one of the most profitable in the world, is going to make a mint from this prescription drug bill. Something like that. But I just can't figure it out-- who is he referring to as 'us'? Obviously he wasn't referring to the pinkocommie who made the ridiculous remark "Under our health care plan Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors."

"I've tried to comfort Americans who lost the most on September the 11th: .." whoop, one more time.

And then there are the tax cuts: "we unleashed that energy with the largest tax relief in a generation. " Would that be "largest" in the sense of dollars back to the top 1% income earners, or was there another critera for categorizing it as a whopper?

Suddenly I came upon this statement: " To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy. " And I felt myself being whisked back in time, across the boundless miles of New England, where I heard the voice of a Tinman who wanted to be a real woodsman, who could say things with the real heartfelt enthusiasm of a cowboy! Here's what the little guy said: "...our energy plan will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future, so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East." I didn't know his first name was Simon- I thought it was John!

" Three days after September the 11th, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the twin towers. " Oh, there it is again...

Boldly ignoring the doctrine of the separation of church and state, Bush declared: " Because religious charities provide a safety net of mercy and compassion, our government must never discriminate against them. " (the "when we are doling out big money" at the end was implied rather than stated).

" We knew Saddam Hussein's record of aggression and support for terror. We knew his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction. And we know that September the 11th requires our country to think differently. " whoo! Ten points for that slick conflation of Iraq, Saddam, and 9/11-- it's almost like they are actually connected or something!!!!

As usual, the GOP provided an amazingly on-message spectacle. Even the crowd was on-message:


BUSH: When asked to explain his vote, the senator said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop. Flip-flop. Flip-flop.

"My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose." On a roll, baby!

Senator Edwards was mentioned twice:

"And we must protect small-business owners and workers from the explosion of frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across our country."
"I've met too many good doctors, especially OB/GYNs, who are being forced out of practice because of the high cost of lawsuits. "

"Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman (Saddam)..." There it is again! Another ten points! Amazing the way he can just lump them together as if they have any-bloody-thing whatsoever to do with each other!

There were some emergent themes to the speech. One that team Bush seems to be calling "ownership society", but which those of us not linked to the campaign might call privitization. It is a favorite theme among those who call for small government, and those who wish to shrink government "down to the size where you could drown it in a bathtub." Which also may be the same people who "holds court while variously sitting on a giant red plastic ball, eating tuna from a can, rubbing his feet against a massager and sniffing hand lotion as he kneads it into his fingers... excuses himself to go to "the ladies room"", and owns what he hopes is the world's largest collection of air sickness bags. But there's nothing at all odd or worrisome about the ideas of a guy who collects objects designed specifically to hold vomit, or anything. (eeww).

Anyway, privitization cropped up a few times, first in the form of "health savings accounts." We were also told that we need no longer worry about whether or not Social Security will be there, because the market will take care of it! "We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account, a nest egg you can call your own and government can never take away." Isn't it amazing how removing a program from the public trust and public control will "strengthen" it? And all this time, I'd been thinking it would be "gutted". Now I see the error of my ways! Instead, "In an ownership society, more people will own their health plans and have the confidence of owning a piece of their retirement. " That way the burden of paying for these things is shifted off of your employers' shoulders- and on to yours! Wow, that sounds like a sure thing! I'm sure that if we " an ownership society,... (then) ownership brings security and dignity and independence." It's so much better when society tells me to shove it! I feel so independent and secure and dignified! So that's what he meant when he said that "In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path, a path to greater opportunity, more freedom and more control over your own life." It's not like the government would be yanking the social safety net out from under me by selling off my public retirement plan and health care plans to the lowest bidder-- I'd be getting more control over my own life. Whew, that's a relief!

Well no turning back, except to mention that "In the heart of this great city, we saw tragedy arrive on a quiet morning...." now on to the future!

And that future apparently involves being "hopeful," "safer" and with all kinds of "freedom" and "liberty."

"We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America, and nothing will hold us back."
"I am running for president with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and a more hopeful America."
"In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom."
"Generations will know if we seized this moment and used it to build a future of safety and peace. The freedom of many and the future security of our nation now depend on us. "
" By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. "
" Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. " Wow! He's even getting calls from Captain Kirk!

For a speech where 9/11 was invoked so often, I was a little surprised to see how few times Osama bin Forgotten, er, Laden, was mentioned. Like zero times. Other words came up a few times, like terror/terrorists (16), freedom (16), liberty (11), safe/safer/safety (10), strength/strengthen/strengthening (9), threat (5), Saddam (5)....

Hmmm. Saddam was mentioned five times. 9/11 was mentioned five times. What a coincidence. Al Qaida was mentioned three times, but the Baathists were only mentioned.... well, never. Along with Osama. Wait, now I'm having a hard time remembering--- wasn't Osama the head of the, uh, the Baathists? And now that the Afghan women can vote, then Saddam is a madman in a spiderhole who had to be caught because of the lessons from 9/11. Did I get it right?

He rounded up the evening by mentioning that he had some faults-- hey, when he told the reporter "I'm sure something will pop into my head here..... I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."-- he wasn't kidding! Im glad to see that since that April 13th press conference, something finally did pop into his head.

After mentioning his English language disabilities, he stated "Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking." Now and then I come across as a little too blunt, and for that we can all thank the white-haired lady sitting right up there."

Please add your suggestions for rephrasing below.


Blogger fast eddie said...

Now and then I come across as little too evil, and for that you can thank the haliburton guy with the crooked smile over there, the older guy sitting next to the white haired lady who looks a little like me, the ugly guy with the glasses who sits down on k street pulling all my strings, and all you fine people out there who support me when i am screwing you, your family, your friends, and pretty much all the values that you hold dear.

September 4, 2004 at 12:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, how about some people say I'm dumb as a doorknob, but in Texas we call that Yale legacy. Some people think I'm mean as a snake, and we can all blame that white haired lady right up there.

September 6, 2004 at 9:45 AM


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