I wrote the following at 5 this morning so please forgive the typos.
(I have to admit, I didn't watch this speech. Generally I find that the delivery of a speech can interfere with how you hear it, which is generally why I prefer to read them. Also, I watched Kerry for about a minute and immediately disliked him because of how he was delivering the speech. He came off as fake and icky. But now that I'm looking at excerpts of the speech, I have to admit, it's pretty good. There isn't much to criticize. Actually, after reading through the speech, it's clear to me that Senator Kerry should be writing speeches for his wife.)
From the website of the Democratic National Convention
Senator John Kerry
Excerpts of Senator John Kerry's Convention Speech(As Prepared for Delivery)
(Can't argue with this. . . pretty good opening) My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime. The stakes are high. We are a nation at war -- a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have ever known before. And here at home, wages are falling, health care costs are rising, and our great middle class is shrinking. People are working weekends; they're working two jobs, three jobs, and they're still not getting ahead.
(Can't argue with this either. It's pretty optimistic. The word optimist is right in the excerpt.) We can do better and we will. We're the optimists. For us, this is a country of the future. We're the can do people. And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves -- and we can do it again.
(I got nothin') So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation -- here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom -- on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion, and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot --- for the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day and the families who pray for their return - for all those who believe our best days are ahead of us - for all of you -- with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.
(This is kind of tricky. Again, I don't support the war but I don't think George W. wanted to go to war. I believe he genuinely think we needed to. Criticizing the current President is like insulting your former boss in a job interview. It's just bad form. Also, I'm sure that if a Dem had been President, they would most likely have received the same misinformation, although I don't know if Gore would have jumped to go to war. Also, W. isn't the sharpest crayon in the box and his decision making process is incumbered by a possibly low IQ and strident belief that God is his friend.) As president, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system - so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as president, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.
(Oh. That old chestnut. WE GET IT!!! W. used his "get out of jail free card" during Vietnam and Kerry didn't. Even if W. had fought in the trenches with the generation that was almost killed off, he still would have made the decision to go to war, just like his daddy! With that said, you can't fault Kerry for fighting the good fight regardless of the legitimacy of that police action turned askew.) I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.
(Okay. Here he is saying that the Democrats are no pussies and that we shouldn't be scared that our military is going to fall to shit when and if he becomes Prez. Not much to make fun of here either.) In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals. We need to make America once again a beacon in the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared. We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation - to keep the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the most dangerous hands in the world. We need a strong military and we need to lead strong alliances. And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose and we will win. The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.
(I wonder if 95% of our container ships are really coming into our ports without ever being physically inspected. That seems like a high number. HEY!!! SOMEONE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT!!! He supports Homeland Security, interesting. So, I guess George W. and his people weren't completely full of shit. I don't really get that Firehouse remark but I'm sure the Dems at the convention ROARED when he said it.) And the front lines of this battle are not just far away - they're right here on our shores, at our airports, and potentially in any town or city. Today, our national security begins with homeland security. The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As president, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn't be letting ninety-five percent of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn't be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in the United States of America.
(Overall, based on the excerpts, I'd say this was a good speech. The part I turned off was Kerry talking about pomp and circumstance and knew that not all of the speech would be terribly interesting. It's much better this way!!)
My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values. In the end, it's not just policies and programs that matter; the president who sits at that desk must be guided by principle. For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. They're what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.
(I don't believe there is much that Kerry can do to lift the quality of our lives. It'll probably take a couple of administration's before the economy evens out and repeats it's performance of the 90's. But hey, what harm can he do by believing he or any President has any control over the economy at all. I'm still voting for him, simply because he is not BUSH. I'm just glad his wife isn't running. I hope she doesn't have that much influence over him.)
We value jobs that pay you more not less than you earned before. We value jobs where, when you put in a week's work, you can actually pay your bills, provide for your children, and lift up the quality of your life. We value an America where the middle class is not being squeezed, but doing better.