"I’m going to be candid with you. I had hoped to be back here this week under different circumstances, running for re-election. But you know the old saying: you win some, you lose some. And then there’s that little-known third category."
Al starts with an old joke he's used a thousand times. He should have tried a new one. But the rest of the joke is new, and rather clever, I think:
"But I didn’t come here tonight to talk about the past. After all, I don’t want you to think that I lie awake at night counting and recounting sheep. I prefer to focus on the future, because I know from my own experience that America’s a land of opportunity, where every little boy and girl has a chance to grow up and win the popular vote."
A Republican friend of mine says, "Well, maybe when Al grows up, he'll win the popular vote," which I must admit is a good riposte. But I think Al's dealing with the 2000 election in a self-effacing manner is rather effective. And this is strong and resounds somewhat:
"The second lesson from 2000 is this: What happens in a presidential election matters. A lot. The outcome profoundly affects the lives of all 293 million Americans, and people in the rest of the world, too. The choice of who is president affects your life and your family’s future."
And he's right to point out the fact that these clowns aren't "conservative" at all. What the hell, exactly, are they conserving?
"And it is in that spirit, that I sincerely ask those watching at home tonight who supported President Bush four years ago: did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for? Is our country more united today? Or more divided? Has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled? Or do those words now ring hollow?
For that matter, are the economic policies really conservative at all? For example, did you expect the largest deficits in history, year after year? One right after another? And the loss of more than a million jobs?"
His rap on the economy is accurate, but pretty weak: he's right, of course, that the new jobs being "created" aren't as good as the old ones, but without specifics, the statement has no force. The specifics are that not only are their one million fewer jobs, but the new jobs being created have an average salary of 9,000 a year LESS than the ones being lost. 9 grand a year. That's one large chunk of change.
He's good to challenge the Naderites, too:
"And I also ask tonight for the consideration and the help of those who supported a third party candidate in 2000. I urge you to ask yourselves this question: Do you still believe that there was no difference between the candidates? Are you troubled by the erosion of America’s most basic civil liberties? Are you worried that our environmental laws are being weakened and dismantled to allow vast increases in pollution that are contributing to a global climate crisis? No matter how you voted in the last election, these are profound problems that all voters must take into account this Nov. 2."
And THANK GOD, the Democrats aren't ONLY talking about the economy, but are having to courage to "bring it on" when the subject is Iraq. Bush has ROYALLY screwed up foreign policy like it's never been screwed up in my lifetime and the Democrats should say so loud and clear:
"Regardless of your opinion at the beginning of this war, isn’t it now abundantly obvious that the way this war has been managed by the administration has gotten us into very serious trouble? Wouldn’t we be better off with a new president who hasn’t burned his bridges to our allies, and who could rebuild respect for America in the world? Isn’t cooperation with other nations crucial to solving our dilemma in Iraq? Isn’t it also critical to defeating the terrorists?
We have to be crystal clear about the threat we face from terrorism. It is deadly. It is real. It is imminent. But in order to protect our people, shouldn’t we focus on the real source of this threat: the group that attacked us and is trying to attack us again: Al Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden? Wouldn’t we be safer with a president who didn’t insist on confusing Al Qaeda with Iraq? Doesn’t that divert too much of our attention away from the principal danger?"
This is all good. But he should have talked more about Kerry. His buildup of Kerry at the end of his speech comes across as an afterthought, and lacked specifics. Democrats should NOT be afraid of specifics.
"For example, he had the best record of protecting the environment against polluters of any of my colleagues bar none. He never shied away from a fight, no matter how powerful the foe. He was never afraid to take on difficult and thankless issues that few others wanted to touch. like exposing the threat of narcoterrorism and tracing the sources of terrorist financing. He was one of the very first in our party to take on the issue of drastic deficit reduction. And he’s developed a tough and thoughtful plan to restore our economic strength and fiscal discipline."
This stuff cries out for fleshing out with specifics. HOW did the expose the threat of "narcoterrorism"? HOW did he take on deficit reduction? This is stuff most Americans are unaware of, and they should be MADE aware of it.
Vague BS favors the Republicans. Specific facts favor the Democrats.