A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I still haven't gotten. . .

. . .any of the major pundits' takes -- at least not in detail. I've read a few blurbs here and there, and some takes over at Lucianne, but I'm getting the impression that I'm not alone. Not that I thought I would be. I'm among the Bush partisan crowd, and I don't see any point in denying that.

But, if Paul Begala and James Carville can have a full 20-something minutes on TV five days a week, I don't see why I can't appeal for five minutes out of a person's day. And, I'll at least make some attempt at fairmindedness. After all, I don't make any money in politics -- in that regard, I don't have a stake in who wins -- unlike Begala and Carville.

Be that as it may, I think the President spoke to just the right people last night in that debate. I think he came across exactly how he needed to with regard to people of my age group -- 30-murmurs. We grew up in the Reagan era. We remember "tear down that wall" and we remember the wall being torn down. They happened in our formative years and had an impact on our worldview.

President Bush came across as a man who has the kind of vision and determination to fight the War on Terror aggressively, and not simply wait until thousands more civilians die. He came across as a man who understands that this is the time to demonstrate resolve, even at the expense of diplomacy. He has shown that he understands that this is a long war, and that 9/11 was just a calling card foretelling what will come if we don't kill this enemy right now.

John Kerry came across in an entirely different way. He sounded like a man who is overly given to compromise when it comes to America's interests abroad. In that sense, when people say Senator Kerry seems "French", the word has come to mean "internationalist".

My age group is familiar with internationalists. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale spring immediately to mind, and that's not exactly the image the Kerry campaign wants to conjur. For all the fawning that people do whenever they talk about Carter's post-presidency, and how he's the greatest former president in history, you don't hear a lot of people longing for the Carter days, when Battle of the Network Stars and CPO Sharkey were America's diversion from thinking about gas lines and hyperinflation.

And there's just something about internationalism that strikes many in my age group as being a little "too good" for America. It's as if they're saying to us, "America's interests alone aren't sufficient justification for action in all circumstances. Sometimes, we must have the approval and cooperation of all the allies we've had in recent history, and it must not provoke those who would do us harm." Thirty-mumbles don't buy into that. And, at this point, I should qualify that.

When I refer to "my age group", I mean the part of my age group that Bush needed to target. That is the part of my age group who are living and voting in the battleground states -- mostly middle America. The coasts are already sewn up, and there was little point in appealing to people whose minds are already made up, and have been since 2000. In the battlegrounds, there may very well be a few moms out there who haven't been able to pay attention to the presidential campaign because of work/school/soccer/church/civic/you-name-it responsibilities. And there may very well be some guy out there who's been working swing shifts and hasn't really been able to focus on the election to the degree he'd like to. Not all "undecideds" are simply "uninspired" -- a sloppy generalization I made very recently. Some people are just too busy in their daily lives and don't have the energy to give a damn all the time.

George Bush seemed to understand that last night, and he said things that had a strong appeal to the people who generally fall into that category. Young moms, working class dads, and anyone who saw what happened to those Russian school children. People generally understand that, given intelligence that an attack on our soil was imminent and that planning was taking place at a camp in Yemen or Sudan, both men would likely strike preemptively, without notice. The question isn't whether either man would willingly allow attacks to take place on America. The question is which man is most determined to get out in front of the situation.

Americans don't let their homes get infested with rats before putting out the poison. George Bush understands that. John Kerry seems to be asking, "What rats?"

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