I’m guessing 3 to 5 points. Arnold is giving a sensational speech. Not a word of it is true, but it’s brilliant. And he’s delivering it with dazzling oratory. All the speakers are remaining relentlessly on-message, and the mood in the hall can only be described as euphoric. It’s working.
Bush may win, I’m resigned to that possibility. It’s definitely still a toss-up, but it looks like their strategy of putting forth the moderate faces of the party who believe in many things in direct opposition to their platform is working. Sure it’s misleading and deceptive, but hell, it’s working and Rove knew it would.
It’s as though they are describing a world in another universe. A world where the economy is soaring and prosperity waits “just around the corner.” A world where there’s no Abu Ghraib, no Guantanamo Bay, no incredibly bloody war raging in Iraq. A world where we’re on the verge of winning the war on terror (whatever that is) and where everyone’s safer because a powerless old dictator is now in prison. A world where good old American know-how, can-do attitude and elbow grease will solve all our woes.
Unfortunately, I know how susceptible some Americans can be to this kind of crap, so I have to face reality. As I said, it’s working.
The best we can do is to jam the air waves with our message, reminding people what’s really going on, reminding them that jazzy slogans and manipulative speeches mean little for Americans on the ground, be they fighting militants in Fallujah or scraping for work in Buffalo. Virtually everything shrub has done has been a calamity, from his No Child Left behind canard to his magnificent tax cuts for those who need them least to his dragging us into the most pitifully unnecessary war since Vietnam. But, he never waivers, he stands firm, he gave a good speech after 911 and he can be folksy and adorable.
911. I hope you all watched the convention last night as the party milked the slaughterfest for every ounce of bathos it was worth. It was the entire theme: bush was brave in the wake of the great attack on America. Funny, how to the best of my recollection he was reading My Pet Goat when told of the attack, and sat there squirming like a frightened child. And then, did our feckless leader go to Washington to set an example of courage? No, he flew away, not to be heard of for the entire day. And then, after doing the right thing, the only thing possible — going to war with Afgahnistan — what did he do? He launched a war based on an old feudal grudge and brought the “war on terror” to a grinding and permanent halt. And we are just as vulnerable today, though our personal freedoms have been compromised and the quality of life in general has been drastically reduced.
Okay, I’ll go listen to Laura tell us how great things are now in Afghanistan (never mind that the Taliban are on the rise and the country’s for all intents and purposes has fallen into civil war).
Remember, don’t let the volume decrease. Jam the airwaves. Remind people of the difference between perception and reality. Don’t let them forget that what bush is doing to Kerry now is exactly what he did to McCain in 2000. And remind them that when McCain asked Kerry to pull an ad he deemed offensive, Kerry promptly did so. McCain asked bush to condemn the SBVFT ad, and bush was silent. Which is the better man, the man of greater integrity and conscience, bush or Kerry? Take away the fireworks and the spectacle, and bush is nothing but a fool, a scared and spoiled kid, with the power to destroy life on earth. If he can pack the Supreme Court with his choices, none of us will be safe for a generation to come. People have to get this.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.