Having watched much of the Democratic convention (my sense of obligation to our readers is boundless), it’s pretty clear what that party’s message is — on the domestic side, we’ll take from the well-to-do and give to everyone else; on the foreign side, we’ll be just as tough as Bush but smarter and more honest, with more allies; on values, see the domestic message.
For those wondering what the Republican message will be, check out President Bush’s speech at a rally in Springfield, Missouri. I didn’t see him give the speech, but a colleague who did said that Bush looked good and, fired up by Boston seemed ready to do battle (finally).
From the transcript, I’d say that , domestically, he’s matching the Democrats promise for promise, while touting the job growth (1.5 million new jobs since last August) that has followed his tax cut. On values, it’s all about marriage.
But it’s when he discusses the war against terrorism that, in my estimation, Bush outshines Kerry. That’s because he has a strong and unambiguous record:
Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base for Al Qaida, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own. Today, Afghanistan is a rising democracy, an ally in the war on terror, a place where many young girls go to school for the first time. And as a result of our actions, America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, Pakistan was a safe transit point for terrorists. Today, Pakistani forces are aggressively helping to round up the terrorists and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, in Saudi Arabia, terrorists were raising money and recruiting and operating with little opposition. Today, the Saudi government has taken the fight to Al Qaida and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and clear message, the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world. He was firing weapons at American pilots and forcing the world’s sanctions. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He had harbored terrorists. He invaded his neighbors. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He had murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in the world’s most vulnerable region.
I took those threats seriously. After September the 11th, we had to look at the threats in a new light. One of the lessons of September the 11th is we must deal with threats before they fully materialize. The September the 11th commission concluded that our institutions of government had failed to imagine the horror of that day. After September the 11th, we cannot fail to imagine that a brutal tyrant, who hated America, who had ties to terror, had weapons of mass destruction and might use those weapons or share his deadly capability with terrorists was not a threat.
We looked at the intelligence. We saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and they saw a threat. We went to the United Nations, which unanimously demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs or face serious consequences. After 12 years of defiance, he refused to comply with the demands of the free world.
When he continued to deceive the weapons inspectors, I had a decision to make: to hope for the best and to trust the word of a madman and a tyrant, or remember the lessons of September the 11th and defend our country. Given that choice, I will defend America every time.
I hope that this is a winning message. I fear for our future if it isn’t.
HINDROCKET adds: Further to Deacon’s point, John Kerry said today that if he captured Osama bin Laden, he would try him in a court in the United States rather than turning him over to an international court. This is apparently his idea of being tough. In my opinion, it would be possible to think of something stupider than trying bin Laden in court, with 5th and 6th Amendment protections, the right to confront witnesses, the ability to subpoena witnesses, taxpayer-funded lawyers, and so on. But it wouldn’t be easy. Kerry just doesn’t get it.