Another phenomenal performance by President Bush tonight. His evident sincerity and resolve shone through once again; he is his own best weapon. His exposition of the Iraq situation was eloquent and compelling, and should shift the terms of the debate from here on. Even the domestic catalog was better than I expected–generally speaking, everything between tax cuts and foreign policy leaves me pretty much cold. But the African AIDS initiative, in particular, was very effective and, in truth, sounds like a good idea. The speech’s conclusion did a beautiful job of linking our present situation both to America’s heroic role in the history of the 20th century, and to the September 11 attacks. I think the President seized the initiative tonight, and there seems to be a fair prospect that he can hold it.
It is always interesting to watch as the cameras pan over the Democrats in the audience. Tonight, John Kerry seemed cadaverous and oddly unresponsive, almost catatonic. Hillary Clinton was jumping up to applaud at precisely the moments where applause would befit a 2004 Presidential candidate. But most enjoyable to me were the repeated shots of a sour-faced Tom Daschle, looking utterly dejected and defeated. On the whole, an excellent night for the forces of truth and justice.
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