Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

July 31, 2004

by J

Steve Gilliard on Kerry's Speech

I don't read Gilliard's site regularly (I know he's famous on dKos, but that's about it) and there are a few things I would take issue with in this analysis, although I'm hoping that the fundamental point -- that Kerry's speech was deliberately designed to get under Dubya's skin -- is accurate and that it will work.
The speech last night, make no mistake, was an aggressive, even brutal attack on Bush. The first line was the opening shot in a speech where Kerry called Bush a liar and a coward. He never said those words, he couldn't. But the implication was clear and direct. He attacked Bush for failing in Iraq and destroying American crdedibility. Which was fine. But then he called Bush out, called for an "honest" debate, implying he has to fight dirty to win.

[...] It is rare in American politics to have such a personal and aggressive speech towards an opponent, but Kerry has nothing but contempt for Bush and it dripped from the speech. Because this was not a policy debate, but an attempt to get Bush to react. It was personal. And, it appears, Bush knows it.

Because this morning Bush said "The most important reason to reelect me is to keep Laura Bush as first lady". A none too subtle attack on Teresa Heinz Kerry. Now, most men don't attack other people's wives, but George Bush did. This is the kind of subtle, nasty attack used by alcoholics and dry drunks. Which means Kerry can claim his own mission accomplished.

Posted by J at July 31, 2004 11:07 PM
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