Blogs > Cliopatria > Advice to John Kerry

Jul 28, 2004 11:09 am


Advice to John Kerry



So far it's been a good convention, John. Nobody's acted out. There have been no crazy Dean howls. Americans might even think that the Democrats have gone to anger management school, as Arianna suggests in her latest column. Clinton gave a great speech. So did Gore. (I actually thought Gore's speech was better. He got off the best line of the convention so far:"Let's make sure not only that the Supreme Court does not pick the next President, but also that this President is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court.") And we can be sure John Edwards will deliver a good solid, inspiring speech.

But what about you? You're no crowd-pleaser, that's for sure. Not even the best speech writers in the world are going to turn you into Bill Clinton or Al Gore. You're no Ronald Reagan.

But that doesn't mean you can't succeed.

So what should you say? One point you need to hammer home. You've got to tell Americans that the enemy they face is Islamist terrorists and that you are angry about what they have done and what they plan to do. If you enrolled in Arianna's angry management class, forget what you learned when you get to the part in your speech about the terrorists. SHOW US YOU DESPISE THEM AND HATE THEM.

We know the Democrats hate George W. Bush. What we haven't seen is that Democrats also hate the terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9-11--and who plan more attacks.

I'm deliberately keeping this memo short so you can go rewrite your speech. There's not much time left to get this right.


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Jonathan Dresner - 7/29/2004

I'm struggling with why this 'memo' rubs me the wrong way, and I can't quite pin it down. This approach basically asks Kerry to mimic the demonization carried out by Bush by recreating artificially a "proper" reaction to 9/11, three years after the fact. Perhaps this is, indeed, the most effective rhetorical strategy, but I'd much rather see a leader who knows how to balance contesting priorities instead of fixating on one thing at a time, a leader who can tackle both short-term and long-term problems with vigor and clarity, a leader who will NOT let his own base emotions drive policy but instead will focus on what the American people need.

But then, I look for different things in leaders than most, people tell me.

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