Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



A few clarifications from the DNC

A few clarifications from the DNC

I listened to Kerry's acceptance speech as I drove home from the gym. I went to bed thinking "Vapid". While I slept, electrons buzzed and burned as the blogsphere dissected the speech en masse and in detail. Conservatives were as one in finding the opening "reporting for duty" nauseous. Many pointed out that Kerry's Iraq policy was what Bush is doing, that Kerry's "war on terror" would be defensive and reactive, that the "faith and values" talk was all mendacious, insinuating Bush-bashing, and that the economic policy was incoherent, such as ending "corporate welfare" while "reward[ing] the companies that create and keep good- paying jobs . . . in the good old USA".

And liberals seem to be underwhelmed.

But Kerry isn't the Democratic party. He is its instrument. How the convention reacted to his speech tells us who the party is. Here are a couple of points about how the speech was received that I don't think have been made.

The biggest cheer was for this line, which had pride of place at the beginning of the peroration:
And let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.
As OpinionJournal pointed out, this is a veiled reference to the Federal Marriage Amendment. It brought the whole convention to its feet, not just the Polymorphous Polygamy caucus. So we know what they really care about. The video of the speech shows audience members, including Hilary, turning to each other and nodding--"He got it in. Yeah!"

Nearly as enthusiastic were the reactions to his call for stem cell research and to "we are on God's side". He prefaced the latter with a reference to Lincoln's humble prayer that we might be on God's side, but Democrats don't need to pray on that. They believe they are on the side of history, of the people, of progress. Why not throw God in there; it's a nice affirmation.

The Patriotism Question

"And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose, and we will win." I'm sure no one at the convention realized that this is yet another crib from a Republican. In 1977, Ronald Reagan told Richard Allen, who would be his National Security Advisor, that his policy toward the Soviet Union would be "simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: 'We win and they lose.'" On Thursday night, the crowd's reaction was muted and even seemed to be more of a groan than a cheer.

Kerry's brave declaration, in the face of vicious right-wing opposition, "That flag doesn't belong to any president . . . to any ideology . . . to any party. It belongs to all the American people." was well received, but perhaps the Dems were just celebrating stealing the flag.


"I defended this country as a young man . . .". But . . . but . . . Vietnam was an unnecessary, criminal war of aggression, inspired by an inordinate fear of Communism. I thought the real patriots were the draft dodgers. That's what they told us 35 years ago.

John Kerry sounds more dynamic at 140% speed (thank you Windows Media Player).

Unilateralist: A Republican who defends America with a 50-nation coalition.

Multi-lateralist: A Democrat who won't defend America unless France and Red China say OK.

So-called: Anything positive that is achieved during a Republican administration: war coalition, economic recovery, war on terror, religious conviction, improving air/water quality, values, tax cuts, summer weather.

Lying: The difference between what the Democrats say you said and what they now say you should have said.

Nuance: The difference between what the Democrats said then and what they say now.

Fight: 1) Bush: Fight. 2) Kerry: Talk about fighting.


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