Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

September 2, 2003

by J

Saletan Slams Kerry

William Saletan slams Kerry in an article about Kerry's announcement speech. While Kerry is slipping down the list for me, I did think parts of this article were unfairly snide.
Much of Kerry's problem is superficial. He's as stiff as a GI Joe. He's infatuated with the 1960s. He keeps talking about "our generation" to an electorate that is no longer of his generation. He speaks the language of the Kennedys, which now sounds flowery and phony. He adorns his prose with words like "lavish" and "astonishing." He calls the audience "my fellow Americans." He tells them he's "honored to join you in this endeavor." For the thousandth time, he begins a sentence with the pointless preface, "And I say to you today " At another point, he proclaims, "Let me put it plainly: If Americans aren't working, America's not working." This is what audiences always have to wade through to get at whatever it is Kerry is trying to say: Nuggets of nothing, wrapped in pretentious rhetoric, compounded by the pretense of plain speaking.
Yikes. I don't think that Kerry says "nothing" and I don't think his rhetoric is "pretentious." Well, at least it's not very pretentious. The guy's smart, educated, and monied. He talks like who he is, except that Saletan is right on the latter bit. I do sense a bit of pretense. Kerry hasn't convinced me that he's actually angry (or even a bit piqued) about anything Dubya's done. As a patriotic American, he should be, though, or he's not as intelligent as I think he is.
Posted by J at September 2, 2003 09:58 PM

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