Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Schwarzenegger's Barack moment

Over at Daily Kos, there’s some guessing going on as to why rumors are flying about Mitt Romney’s speech tomorrow night. Some speculate that it’s simply to build buzz prior to the speech, in an attempt to generate similar reactions to Barack’s speech. And after reading this comment I think it neatly sums up why I think we just saw our Barack moment of the RNC. Here’s how John Campanelli sums up what Barack’s speech meant:

  • It articulated and encapsulated the vision and philosophy of the Democratic Party.

  • It inspired by appealing to the better angels of our nature.

  • It brilliantly celebrated both the commonality and differences among us.

Schwarzenegger made a convincing play for the middle when he laid out what Republicans are about: fiscal responsibility, free enterprise, government accountability. (That the Bush Administration has come up short on these criteria is conveniently overlooked.) He spoke glowingly of the American Dream, appealing (in a different way) to the same “United States of America” that Barack did. And he talked directly to what unites the country, while at the same time celebrating our differences.

For those that love political rhetoric, regardless of your political persuasion, there’s no denying that he gave a great speech. Of course, when you dig beneath the surface you’ll see that Schwarzenegger spoke admiringly of the Republican Party of old. It bears little resemblance to George Bush’s Republican Party. But that distinction will be lost on the majority of people who watched. What they heard was a brilliant speech, delivered expertly by a very capable politician who stood up for his president.

Coupled with rumors of a shake-up coming at Kerry/Edwards, I think Bush will see a nice bounce out of this week. And I’d say Bush owes Schwarzenegger big time.

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