Primetime Bush bashing
Democratic convention Night 2
Before the convention began, Sen. John Kerry asked speakers to highlight the Democratic Party’s positives and tone down the attacks on the President. On the second night of the convention, they apparently got the message, well almost all of them did. Sen. Ted Kennedy, speaking in his Boston backyard, delivered a vintage, hard hitting Ted Kennedy convention speech, leading the second night primetime speakers with 18 Bush bashes. He accused President Bush of dividing the country, “One community against another, urban against rural, city against suburb, whites against blacks, men against women, straights against gays, Americans against Americans.” He went on to say, “America needs a genuine uniter, not a divider who only claims to be a uniter.”
He criticized the President for a “misguided war,” alienating long-time allies, making America less secure and making it harder to “win the real war on terrorism, the war against al-Qaida.” He also bashed Mr. Bush for what’s taken place since 9/11. “How could any President have possibly squandered the enormous goodwill that flowed to America from across the world after September 11,” asked Kennedy.
Kennedy also said the administration “brings fear”: “Fear of rising costs for health care and for college, fear of higher unemployment and lesser pay, fear of the future of social security and Medicare, fear of greater bigotry, fear of pollution’s stain on our magnificent natural heritage.” And he borrowed a line from Franklin Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush.” Senator Kennedy even compared Bush to “some monarch named George who inherited the crown.”
The evening’s other speakers focused more on convincing people to vote for Kerry, although there were a few more Bush bashes. Howard Dean said he’d like “a foreign policy that relies on the President of the United States telling the truth to the American people before we send our brave American soldiers to fight in foreign wars.”
The U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois, state Sen. Barack Obama delivered his single Bush bash by also talking about U.S. troops, while not mentioning the President by name. “When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going,” said Obama.
Ron Reagan, who became an active supporter of embryonic stem cell research after his father, President Ronald Reagan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, held off from bashing President Bush directly, as he delivered an impassioned plea for stem cell research. Bush ordered restrictions on federal funding of such research. Reagan did criticize opponents of the research, perhaps Bush included, when he claimed that “a few of these folks…are just grinding a political axe and they should be ashamed of themselves.”
The evening’s last speaker, Sen. Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, talked about her past, her beliefs and her husband, without criticizing the President. She made one veiled reference to Bush when talking about Kerry’s military service. “He earned his medals the old-fashioned way, by putting his life on the line for his country,” she said.
Two more nights of speeches from the Democrats and yes, we’ll be keeping track of the Kerry criticisms at the Republican convention as well.
Definition of Bush Bash – any criticism of President Bush, whether about him personally, or his policies.
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