Time reports that Bush has opened a double digit lead
! (Via Instapundit) The Convention was extremely successful. I don't know how to analyze exactly what made it so, but there are a number of explanations: the contrast with the glum Demovention, the childish and violent behavior from demonstrators intent on disrupting the convention (which the Republicans played very cleverly by respecting their right to protest), the telling attacks on Kerry, especially by Rudy Giuliani and Zell Miller, or just the reminder that we're in a war and we've got a president who has gone on offense instead of waiting for the next attack while we investigate and try to arrest those involved in the last one.
Cheney's speech reads better than hearing it. He isn't a rousing speaker, but he is steady, cogent, experienced and wise. I wish he could let out some of that spirit he unleashed only too briefly on Pat Leahy. Bush's speech was partly too much like a State of the Union, but I suppose he had to set out his political goals in the next term. But he soared, and became a great communicator, when he got personal about the decisions he's had to face, his humility and his love and respect for our men and women in uniform and their families, and the promise and hope of America. Fred Thompson's presentation leading up to the speech did all the praising of his care and compassion very effectively, but Bush demonstrated that care and respect with the lines I found very true and very American:
And I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers � to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong.
I've been feeling the need for some time for the president to address why Iraq is so important to the main strategy in this war. The Democrats and the msm have painted it as a diversion from the War on Terror and a failure. Last night the president layed it out:
I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances � heart by heart, and nation by nation � America will be more secure and the world more peaceful.. . .
This young century will be liberty's century. 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. This is the everlasting dream of America � and tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward � grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.
This was what I've been yearning to hear him say. It was Reaganesque, a call to respond to vicious hatred not just with retribution, but with the power of freedom to strike at the roots of that hatred and at the despair of people who have been told to blame their misery on us.
By overthrowing Saddam, we freed 25 million people. There is much still to be done, and a lot of it has to be done by them, not us. They must learn that we can't just hand them a democracy. They have to demand their rights as human beings and be willing to fight for them against the terrorists and thugs in their midst, even against men who claim to be holy but urge Muslims to kill other Muslims. They need to learn that religion without freedom is as meaningless and destructive as freedom without self-discipline.
While the Democrats brood and snarl over the past, the President is looking forward with a clarity that John Kerry and his party don't have and haven't understood for years. Kerry responded with the same old drivel
about attacking "my patriotism and even my fitness to serve as commander in chief." His patriotism wasn't the issue. His commitment to defending this country was, and that necessarily goes to his fitness to serve as commander in chief.
His whining only hurts his own argument when we remember what he and his party have been saying about George W. Bush for the past year leading up to this moment, and when he follows it up with the scurrilous charge, "I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could've and who misled America into Iraq." Bush has just served for four years with great distinction and Cheney has served this country and accepted far greater responsibilities than Kerry has ever had to. There are more ways to serve your country than serving in the infantry or driving a Swift boat. This insinuation that if you didn't see combat, you didn't serve your country is a slap in the face of every person in uniform, whether they work in the National Guard or in the Pentagon or as cooks, mechanics or the other millions of support roles. They also serve who only stand and wait.
Kerry is a loser, and his spiteful petty arguments ring hollower every day. His negativity and promises only work if you believe (1) that all the news is really bad and (2) that he really knows what to do about it, which his flipflopping shows he doesn't. His economic ideas are those of Jimmy Carter, and all the promises and claims he makes won't change the fact that they are failures. Bush's economic policies are those of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. Tax cuts work. They produce greater wealth for everybody. Kerry's nostrums are the voodoo economics of the thirties.