Tuesday, July 13, 2004

USATODAY.com - Democrats' convention lineup emphasizes 'America's values'

"But even before the Democrats announced their featured speakers, the Republicans accused them of trying to paper over Kerry's liberal voting record.

'It will take an extreme makeover of John Kerry and the Democratic Party's rhetoric to make both presentable to Americans,' said Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke."

But does it have legs? And will it fly?

Keeping Hillary, Nancy Pelosi and the other usual suspects off the platform seems a little like cleaning up the streets, banishing the bums and prostitutes. Or like Dukakis' disasterous ride in the tank, or Dean's resolve to win the hearts and minds of guys in pickup trucks with guns and confederate flags. The idea of Democrats as latte-drinking elitists is so deeply entrinched that flag-waving and talk about traditional values could just dig Democrats further into the whole, making them look like patronizing fakes.

I do hope it works though.

But what are the alternatives? It's almost tempting to imagine Kerry standing up and saying, "Yes, I am a latte-drinking liberal. I went to St. George's and to Yale, I'm stinking rich and my wife is even richer but the policies on the platform I support are good for all Americans and a whole hell of a lot better for most Americans who aren't as rich as me--or my worthy opponent--so what do you care where I came from or what I drink?

Read my lips: I am not a good old boy and I have more respect for American voters than to pretend that I am. I don't spend my spare time playing cowboy. I am not an average American--no candidate for high political office is.

And so what? Americans are smart enough, and decent enough, not to reject a candidate because of his race, religion, accent or appearance. Americans vote for candidates who are honest, competent and committed regardless of what they look like, where they come from or how they spend their spare time--so this country is full of congressmen, mayors, governors and elected officials of every kind: members of every race and ethnic group, men and women, short, tall, fat, thin, people from every part of the country.

So, I'm from back east, I speak French and I ski. So what?

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