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Michael Ubaldi, September 3, 2004.
This past Sunday I predicted a 6-to-10-point post-convention bounce for President Bush. While I will be more interested in surveys beginning after Thursday, September 2nd, and will consider Gallup's results the most authoritative, Time magazine and Rasmussen Reports each have publicized polls they consider illustrative of an American electorate exposed to the Republican National Convention — and are worth considering. Scott Rasmussen shows the president with a two-day sustained lead of four; Time, on the other hand, gives the president an 11-point lead over John Kerry from the makings of a 9-point bounce. I will post polls as I find them. For now, though, the Democrats' consummate disintegration seems understandable.
Michael Ubaldi, September 3, 2004.
Good news for President Bush and the American economy: the Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced the non-farm payroll numbers for August and they're within four percent of expectations of 150,000, if slightly short at 144,000. July's low figure of 32,000 has been revised to more than double its initial count, at 73,000. National unemployment, on the other hand, has fallen again, now 5.4% from 5.5% — a pleasant surprise for economic analysts.
When in doubt, trust the American entrepreneur. For good measure, give Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan his due.
Michael Ubaldi, September 2, 2004.
TOMMY FRANKS: The former head of Central Command is responsible for two of the swiftest conventional victories in American history, and the liberation of fifty million people. It's only natural that as a civilian he'd support the only presidential candidate who respects his command and accomplishments. Straight talk — nothing fancy. Just the facts, ma'am.
PRIORITIES: At its national convention, the Democratic Party played an 8mm reel of John Kerry and swift boat crews firing into the water and jungle foliage, reenacting a battle with communists. At its national convention, the Republican Party played an 8mm reel of George W. and Laura Bush's kids. Do the math.
GOVERNOR OF THE EMPIRE: Three nights of convention-watching has left me a little, to coin the vernacular, tuckered out. George Pataki began restrained, though needfully so as the man introducing the President of the United States. Following speakers from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the governor gave us, in his own words, a past, present and future. "There will be hell to pay." This was powerful, and worth a gradual crescendo:
The US had asked for peace, went to the UN time and again, asked Saddam to step aside. But Saddam would not be moved.
NINE-ELEVEN: The left is fond of declaring inconvenient subjects and events off-limits. Republicans, playing an introductory video retelling the story of President Bush's leadership, courage and resolve since the terrorist attacks, haven't flinched.
MAN OF THE EVENING: George W. Bush came on without fanfare. Just a great man on the Madison Square Garden stage, wearing a big smile. His speech ran antithetically to John Kerry's; instead of moving through foreign policy in order to climax on stateside politics, the president began by defending and proposing domestic policies to end by describing the administration of a nation at war and the transcendent obligation for all Americans.
The first phrase striking me was one for "acts valor that would make the men at Normandy proud."
Shortly afterwards, he turned to family and said, "I am grateful to show my walk in life with Laura Bush." The camera cut to Laura; daughter Barbara turned to her. "Hey, Mommy," you could see her say.
"The story of America is a story of expanding liberty...We will extend the frontiers of freedom." The president dove headlong into a domestic agenda whose detail and breadth surprised me; some of it I didn't care for, some of it I found vital to the preservation of rightist progress made over the past four years. Eager to hear the president's foreign, moral and philosophical exclamations, I grew a bit bored. But Bush wasn't perfunctory; he was dutiful. He acknowledged outsourcing only as a fact of life in a free market, to be solved by the free market: "In order to compete, America must be the best place in the world to do business." And here, government would step aside and turn to the private entrepreneur.
On raising taxes: "that's the kind of promise politicians keep." The president called John Kerry's plan for higher taxation and institutionalized class envy for the reactionism that it is.
We saw a president wired: George gave out the address for his website.
John Kerry called the Reagan administration "eight years of moral darkness"? When hasn't the Senator from Massachusetts been standing on the wrong side of history?
Quite a record:
Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer.
Scratch two disruptive, anti-liberation plants. So sorry they don't believe Iraqis and Afghans aren't worth American lives.
President Bush picked up where Rudy Giuliani left off:
Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace.
[M]y opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America's allies, quote, a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed." That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician.
Confronting defeatism, Bush quoted from a New York Times story that was skeptical, in 1946, of postwar Germany's future. We've seen articles like it before. Advantage: blogosphere.
'NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE EASY, BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE HARD': This convention succeeded by my metric, and judging by the mood of Republicans in public view, theirs as well. The acceptance speech's conclusion was masterful; thunderously compelling. The president nearly called us a democratic paraclete:
I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty. I believe that given the chance, they will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world.
Michael Ubaldi, September 2, 2004.
The Washington Post on John Kerry's multilaterally impaired campaign huddle:
[O]ne aide said Kerry privately conceded that he, like most of his top staff, miscalculated the impact of the attacks by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the influence of 24-hour cable news in shaping public opinion, and thought the controversy would blow over. One Kerry friend said the candidate focuses on more traditional news outlets and lacks a sophisticated understanding of modern media. "You would think he would have recognized this five years ago," the friend said.
Michael Ubaldi, September 2, 2004.
The Rasmussen Reports describes a Republican National Convention that has begun to move public opinion in President Bush's favor. For the first time since April, the president is polling at 49%, now four points ahead of John Kerry, who's at 45%. The president's approval rating is also at the highest level in four months; with 86% of Republicans and a significant 53% of unaffiliated voters scoring the White House well. Elsewhere, polling results show a slide in the Democratic challenger's core support — matched by a gain for the president (the data is from a firm's exclusive content, so I will leave determining the source to you). These voter responses do not yet reflect last night's speeches by Democratic Senator Zell Miller and Vice President Dick Cheney; only half of Scott Rasmussen's telephone interviews were made after the convention's Tuesday Primetime television debut. And already we can at least infer a trend.
Michael Ubaldi, September 1, 2004.
CHAO: Holding as fast a board meeting for my Republican organization as humanly possible, I joined the convention near nine o'clock. Elaine Chao was crunching numbers — like Elizabeth Dole, warming up a slowly thawing crowd.
THE HEART OF IT ALL: Congressman Rob Portman of Ohio is holding the line on Ohio's economy, a much-abused circumstance of state Republicans generally failing their party's ideal. Ohio stumbles along in spite of President Bush's tax relief.
GRAVEROBBING: It's about time the Republican Party reminded us of what wholesale confiscation and plunder the estate tax is. Stick into the backs of entrepreneurs' minds that their largest bequest is Washington's? Discourage investment and saving? Doesn't sound very American to me.
RENEE AMOORE: Like Condoleezza Rice, she's the empowered black woman the left wants out of the picture. She credits government only for staying out of the way of her success, see? "I'm feeling good about having extra money in my pocket, you know?"
HELLO, DUTCH: Another eulogy to the man who helped Americans be Americans again.
RED AND BLUE: A fifteen-second info-blurb featured President Bush talking about the promise and character of Americans. It was the sort of stuff only lunatics try to deny. I thought back to the Democratic National Convention. Was John Kerry on the jumbotron, speaking these words? No; the closest his convention came was a rewrite recording of Credence Clearwater Revival's "Rollin' on a River," played during long pauses between speakers, entitled "Tryin' to Make a Diff'rence." Trite; especially bizarre in a time of war. Leftists want to be muckrakers, defense attorneys; nurses. Rightists just want to be leaders.
SENATOR ZELL MILLER: "Where are is the statesmanship in this country? Where is the bipartisanship when we need it most?...And nothin' makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators." Devastating. Zell Miller is a picture of the Democratic Party as it once was, and will be — when the morbid left has receded back into the shadows.
MORE MILLER: The speech is rhetorical brilliance. Antiphony, triads; wonderful rhythm and rhetoric. With just a little touch of Georgia grit. "This is a man who wants to be the commander in chief of our US armed forces? US forces armed with what? Spitballs?" Up went a tsunami of a cheer. Brilliance.
CHENEY, MISSUS: Well-paced, temperate. An introduction from a very level-headed woman.
CHENEY, THE LEGEND: He set himself up against John Edwards immediately. And subtly. Where John Edwards' America is fractured into two, coach and first class, with only Democrats handing out tickets, the vice president's America is open to all.
On the war, Cheney moved through every event chronologically as if he were reading a history book. "The lasting peace that only freedom can bring." Between men, there is no other.
The crusher, exposing the left's go-back-to-sleep denial for what it is: "[Kerry] declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America — after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked."
Michael Ubaldi, September 1, 2004.
I'd consider attendance yet unconfirmed — but I've been invited to a campaign rally greeting President Bush in the county next door. Needless to say, the prospect appeals.
Michael Ubaldi, August 31, 2004.
PREAMBLE: Tonight's events don't begin for a bit. But I'm watching delegations cast their votes on television — there's something indescribably warm and charming about the advocates' matching pride for state and candidate. Delightful.
STAND WHEN CALLED: I'd almost forgotten about United States territories — American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Advocates from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have already spoken and delivered their votes; both declared their honor to fly our flag. The woman from the Virgin Islands thought highly of statehood. We'd be happy to throw out the old flags, madam.
VERY PLEASANT: As I said, domestic politics deserve acknowledgment despite their lower priority. But tonight's the night. Elizabeth Dole was sweet; George P. Bush was a bit over-practiced but sincere. Dapper fellow; like his father. His speech, pedestrian at first glance, is a prologue for the Ownership Society: Americans deserve to keep as much of their own money as possible, Social Security and other federal programs cannot continue as the overfed leviathans they've become. These are messages that appeal to the increasingly involved younger generations: an intersection of renewed, rugged individualism and the global, entrepreneurial economy will only usher in change sooner.
HARK! THE HAROLD ANGEL SANG: Erika Harold was as finely cultivated as...as a former Miss America. Her introduction of a maimed police officer and his introduction, in turn, of an example of faith-based charity was poignant. Sam Brownback spoke immediately after, taking care to remind us of the horrors in the Sudan — let's hope the president speaks more of that.
MAJORITY LEADER: Bill Frist is a stately, gentle man. He does the job on Capitol Hill. See my comments on Dennis Hastert. On the other hand, what he's saying needs to be said; when exactly did socialized medicine come to be known as the palliative "universal health care"?
GENUINE OLD PARTY: Danny and Joe remarked last night that from signs to songs to natural, often off-cue applause, Republicans are downright sincere. It continues tonight.
ON THE SAME PAIGE: Now we're in for some oratory. Federal control of schools' pursestrings or standards leaves me unimpressed but Paige's theme of progress and reform is encouraging. He's very correct: the other side offers nothing but the old standbys.
SAY IT: Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, black, referred to the 1964 Civil Rights act as being passed in defiance of "segregationist Democrats." He referred correctly. He was genial. Relaxed. Impressive.
More Steele. I paraphrase. "John Kerry said he didn't want to use the word 'war' to describe what we're fighting. Well, I don't want to use the word 'Command-in-Chief' to describe John Kerry." He went on to flay quota-bigotry and demeaning race politics. Sharp. Did I say "impressive"?
TERMINATOR: You've got to love a man who could give a forty-minute speech, start to finish, made entirely of homage to his own movies. Arnold settled with an opening joke over True Lies.
Nixon brought Schwarzenegger in. "'What party is he,' I asked my friend...'Then I'm a Republican, too.'" He then made peace with his differences on party policy — respectfully, magnanimously — and barreled through a litany of mainstream beliefs that happen to be in the Republican Party's platform, answering each antecedent with "then you are a Republican." Tax-hikes and class warfare? Backwards notions from "economic girlie-men"! Within ten minutes he had the crowd electrified.
JENNA AND BARBARA: They're not politicians. Or public speakers. They're somebody's daughters, talking to the world. How would yours do? It was cute.
DUBYA: For a moment, he was less president or "father." He was "Dad."
LAURA: Her contrast to Hillary Clinton — which is to say, her modest aversion to the Washington spotlight — is bittersweet, as America deserved to see and hear more of her these last four years. There's always another four.
So a convention that began with guileless heart ends with the same on its second night.
Michael Ubaldi, August 31, 2004.
Looked terrible, until I actually read the exchange. He is clearly saying that the war cannot be won in four years; he is probably right; and the Democratic spin Jonah [Goldberg] mentioned [in a previous Corner entry] should not be taken seriously.
In fact, I've just been informed that the president is on the Rush Limbaugh show, clarifying himself. Apparently he's saying, "I should have been more articulate." No, Mr. President, you should not have taken for granted that you were responding to Matt Lauer, a man who couldn't understand what you were talking about.
ELSEWHERE: The president clarifies.
Michael Ubaldi, August 31, 2004.
Continued from last night, I present my review of the Republican National Convention. Everything here has been transcribed from a legal pad, written there between observations, questions among Danny and Joe and I, whoops and hollers.
MULTICULTURAL THIS: Not twenty minutes into the convention and we get an Imam's blessings from Allah and Broadway showtunes. Terry McAuliffe, eat your heart out.
Of course, there's always Union revenge. As the ballad singers ended their set, Danny sighed, "And they'll never work again."
CHEESE ALERT: The Saturday Night Live homage hit like a gut punch. As Danny put it, "I don't know if Republicans do 'hip' very well." And what happened to Ed Gillespie's teleprompter — and introduction?
NO PRIMETIME: With no major audience, Republicans frontloaded arcane — and goofy — party rituals. Everybody does it. At this point I very much looked forward to the night's speakers.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And not so the convention. Dennis Hastert is a Congressional business man. That is all.
GOD BLESS GERALD FORD: Why is it only Republican ex-presidents who know how to retire with dignity?
RON SILVER: He told the past like it was. In the immortal words, "we was attacked." And we will build a better world because of it.
"EARNEST, UNCOMPLICATED": What Republicans lack in style they possess abundantly in substance.
THE TRIBUTE TO OUR ARMED FORCES: Incredible. This is what American political conventions are all about. The only thing missing was the Death Star exploding at the end.
ZAIHAB AL-SUQAIJ: She spoke of "the gift of democracy and the freedom to determine [our] own future." She expressed, for all Iraqis, thanks to our troops; especially the fallen. "Their noble sacrifice was not in vain...We will never forget what your sons and daughters did for us." Earth to Democrats: Iraqis like being free, thank you very much.
PRIORITIES: Joe noticed this: who sat next to a former president at the Democratic National Convention? Michael Moore. Who sat next to George Herbert Walker Bush tonight? Decorated veteran Roger Hernandez.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, JOHN MCCAIN: He captured the past, present and future masterfully. He made the Democrats' mewling cry for "allies" sound like a 16-year-old brat calling for friends to play Twister:
They stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies.
WHAT TIME IS IT, MOORE?: Terrorism's favorite propagandist ought to thank his lucky stars John McCain went easy.
AMAZING GRACE AND 9/11: A proper tribute to heroes and those who remember them. The singer was arresting.
AMERICA'S MAYOR: Not privy to his speeches before, I enjoyed Rudy Giuliani's style, lighthearted but dead serious. His conversational demeanor connected almost immediately; stuffed full of phrases for journalists to quote, he was the perfect closer. His audience applauded John Kerry for the senator's military service; then Giuliani held Kerry to account for his record in Congress with a priceless shrug. Most importantly, Rudy gave us the past, present and future:
In any plan to destroy global terrorism, removing Saddam Hussein needed to be removed. ...But the reasons for removing Saddam Hussein were based on issues even broader than just the presence of weapons of mass destruction.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Only one night, and every obligation has been met. Well done, GOP.