James Lileks, Master Of His Domain

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Teachers Pet?


Debate I: After Action Report


Kerry's job for the past 20 years has been to do what he did last night. Talk, followed by more talk, followed by a polite photo op for the folks back home. He's good at it, and as talk goes, it doesn't have any consequences, if it did, he would have been run out of town on a rail a long time ago because of his long standing tradition of consistently being on the losing side of history in every opportunity that history has provided him during his tenure as a Senator.

For all the skill of talking that Kerry has honed over the past 20 years in the forge of the Senate floor, I found Kerry to be almost as incomprehensible as Bush. It's the next day, and I've read the transcripts twice, and I'll be damned if I can figure out what the hell Kerry is talking about.

Bush didn't say very much, and what he did say he didnt say well. If I wanted a company spokesman for president, Kerry would have a shot. However, these are serious times, and serious times aren't times for talk, they are times for action.

I'd give anything for Bush to be able to inspire with a good speech and stagecraft, but Im not willing to trade a man of action for a man of words at this stage in the Jihadi War. Our problem in the West isn't that we dont sound good to the other countries of the world, it's that for too long we have neglected to take action.

Kerrys action plan is a "summit". Wheeee! Doesn't that make your heart just swell up? I'm old enough to remember decades of "summits", and not a damn thing ever changed in the world as a result. Once a President took action to end the Soviet Union rather than try to get along with it, the world changed and it changed for the better.

Oh, and by the way, President Reagan took that action against the advice of the rest of the world, many of his advisors and other countries governments, but he did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. The lesson was clear, You don't accomodate evil, you end it.

Take Action Now. This is what I want from a president.

( Thanks Punch and Jeff for the Inspiration)

Update: In what is surely a sign of the coming end times, David Brooks of The New York Times covers the same subject, and comes up with another angle but seems to reach the same conclusion.

The Money Quote:

" I suspect that the reason Bush's approval ratings hover around 50 percent, despite a year of carnage in Iraq, is because of the reason many of us in the commentariat don't like to talk about: in a faithful and moralistic nation, Bush's language has a resonance with people who know that he is not always competent, and who know that he doesn't always dominate every argument, but who can sense a shared cast of mind. "

In that simple sentence, David Brooks brings into stark reality the true nature of the American voter versus the European voter. We see polls that constantly say that if it were up to the voters of France or even Europe as a whole, Kerry would win by a wide margin.

Many people in the press, effected by the malarial fever of the Vietnam infection that has ruined the minds of so many of his generation cannot understand how any president taking what he deems to be "great losses" is at 50% approval ratings. Here we are in what he feels is an illegal war, losing troops every day, oil at $50.00 a barrel, everyone hates us around the world, and Bush is at roughly the same point now as the beloved President Clinton was in 1996.

David Brooks puts his finger on one of the key differences between America and the rest of the world, and also puts his finger on why it is that President Bush is also hated by the left. America, despite its obvious decadence, is actually quite a religious nation, much more so than Europe. President Bush is also an expressly religious man. The expression of a religious belief by a politican is anathema to many in the liberal world and the leftist mindset, but to a wide majority of Americans, the expression of religion is a central part of their lives.

I offer by way of a parallel this observation: There are constant jokes about Wal-Mart in the media and our culture at large, but the thing that everyone is missing when they laugh at Wal-Mart is that every Wal-Mart you ever see if chock full of people, and these people tend to think about the world the same way that George W. Bush thinks about the world. Everytime the "commentariat" laugh and deride President Bush, they are really laughing at a large portion of American voters. What must also be truly shocking to those of the left, is that 20 years ago, these same people were reliable Democrat voters, but today, 'Democrats at Wal-Mart' are far and few between. Worse still, Wal-Mart is the fastest growing business is America. What does that tell you about election trends in the long run for Republicans and Democrats? More Wal-Marts equals more Republicans? It sure looks like that to me.

One other cultural difference that I've noted over the years is that in America, we are told repeatedly when we are kids that "Someday, you can grow up to be the President'. The effect of this simple tale is to teach every generation to look at the President as being "just one of us". All Americans get uneasy about a Presidential candidate who is somehow is not a 'Regular Guy". Europeans are taught that there is another class of people who take care of you, the average European is certainly not raised with the phrase "someday son, you too can grow up to be Prime Minister". The result is that "haughtly and snotty" is actually a selling point for a candidate in europe as is shows that the candidate is part of the ruling class, where its a serious drawback here in the US. Most Americans live in dread fear of speaking in public and empathize with President Bush and his inability to put on a good show, while the patrician upper class pacing of John Kerry voice grates on the ears and nerves of many who live in "Wal-Mart America".

In America, anyone can be President, Bill Clinton and George Bush are both proof of that.

October 1, 2004 at 03:36 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Debate I: After Action Report



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