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September 02, 2004

Cheney's Speech

I wouldn't be Cassandra if I didn't go against the conventional wisdom. And I'm sure my incredibly wise and penetrating observations are fated to be ignored.

There's a reason they always save the best for last.

As much as I enjoyed Zell Miller, I thought Dick Cheney's speech was by far the better of the two. Re-reading the two speeches this morning only reinforced that impression. A few months ago on the blogger symposium over on RightWingNews, there was debate over whether Cheney would be able to stand up to John Edwards. I opined that Cheney would clean Edwards' clock, adding to myself that he'd likely do it with half his brain tied behind his back and that wicked little smile on his face. He makes it look easy. And fun.

Even CNN's usual agenda-laden postgame analysis couldn't ruin it for me. Despite Cheney's opening remarks (he devoted about one fifth of the speech to reviewing progress on the economy, education reform, tax cuts, mortgage rates, home ownership, healthcare, and medical liability reform) CNN commentators immediately chided Cheney for saying "not a word about jobs or the economy", things of concern to most Americans. Whatever. I'm starting to think Judy Woodruff would be a lot less cranky if she'd just get something to eat. I keep expecting to see teethmarks on Wolf Blitzer - if I were him, I wouldn't turn my back on her for a second.

Cheney's speech was full of meat - the only question he left unanswered was why he hasn't been out making this speech earlier, when it could have helped his boss generate a little support on Capitol Hill. A few highlights:

...President Bush reached across the aisle and brought both parties together to pass the most significant education reform in 40 years.

[Dick, you naughty boy... reminder that "Dumbya" passed the education bill Clinton couldn't...in his first term...after a contentious election and in the wake of a terrorist attack. The Wicked Smile.]

With higher standards and new resources, America's schools are now on an upward path to excellence - and not for just a few children, but for every child.

[In a point that will be lost on limousine liberals, but hopefully not on minorities, a reminder that NCLB and vouchers are the first serious attempts to address persistent income and race gaps in academic achievement. Courtesy of the GOP: those racist finks.]

Under this President's leadership, we will reform medical liability so the system serves patients and good doctors, not personal injury lawyers.

[Shot across Senator Edwards' bow]

The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity - because terrorists had done so previously.

[Slam at Bill and Hils, and Kerry by implication since he wants to respond only if attacked. This is a return to Clinton-era thinking.]

From the beginning, the President made clear that the terrorists would be dealt with - and that anyone who supports, protects, or harbors them would be held to account. In a campaign that has reached around the world, we have captured or killed hundreds of Al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, and the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and fortunes of 25 million people. Tonight he sits in jail.

[Crowd ate this up. Action and reaction, summation of progress, Cheney goes on to tie it all together. Why hasn't there been more of this? This is what the VP ought to be doing: riding shotgun for his boss.]

This is the work not of months, but of years-and keeping these commitments is essential to our future security.

[YES, YES, YES! We need to hear this more often.]

(Of Kerry) He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it.

[That Wyoming wit again...]

Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed. He talks about leading a "more sensitive war on terror," as though Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side. He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America - after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked,

["We have already been attacked." Best line of the night. Stop, stop... you're killing me.]

But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. ...Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual - America sees two John Kerrys.

[Nice riff on John Edwards' 'Two Americas' slogan. I wonder if it hurts to be that good.]

We all remember that terrible morning when, in the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor.

[I thought this was powerful. The historical parallel is not exact, but we all remember what happened as a result of Pearl Harbor. And in any comparison of national sacrifice, the Democratic sniping starts to look very petty.]

George W. Bush saw this country through grief and tragedy … he has acted with patience, and calm, and a moral seriousness that calls evil by its name. In the great divide of our time, he has put this nation where America always belongs: against the tyrants of this world, and on the side of every soul on earth who yearns to live in freedom.

[Nice testament to his boss, reminder that Bush did not rush into war after 9/11, invoking Ronald Wilson Reagan - not without justification, I think.]

Overall, a very solid speech. It tied up all the loose ends and paved the way (hopefully) for George Bush to discuss both the war on terror and his domestic agenda.

James Joyner: "Great stuff"

Steven Taylor notes Cheney's Two Americas zinger follows one by Giuliani (which I missed)

Kevin Aylward says the bloggers at the RNC think Cheney nailed it.

Ed Morrissey thought it was a "journeyman effort"

The Key Monk (new to me, but then most people have never heard of Jet Noise either!) is reading my mind. Scary.

UPDATE: Mark Kilmer live-blogged the speech and had an interesting perspective. Great post. h/t Steven Taylor.

My final thought: It occurred to me during Miller's speech (and again during Cheney's) that people would almost certainly prefer Miller's to Cheney's. And without taking a single thing from Senator Miller, because I think he did a fine job, I think that's a shame. There was far more substance to Cheney, more appeal to reason, where Zell appealed to the emotions. Indeed the main beef with Cheney seems to be that he wasn't entertaining enough. Maybe if he'd had The Man Club dancers in the background or immersed himself in a vat of live earthworms, the ADD nation would have been able to focus on what amounted to a relatively short speech dealing with matters of national import. Yes, that's harsh. But Cheney's speech was full of subtlety, humor, and irony - we've just lost the capacity to appreciate it. Even his opening line, "I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States" was a subtle but good-humored jab at the critics who've called for him to step aside. Frankly I'm amazed no one has noticed that.

How dull we've become.

- Cassandra

September 2, 2004 at 07:50 AM | Permalink


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Because he is more nuanced than the Phrench.
Cass is whacking away with the clue bat...

Posted by: La femme Crickita at Sep 2, 2004 9:16:09 AM

"I'm starting to think Judy Woodruff would be a lot less cranky if she'd just get something to eat." I think she needs to stop sucking on lemons, since she always looks as if she just got done with one.

Posted by: ELC at Sep 2, 2004 10:07:38 AM

The Man Club Dancers would have been a welcome addition, Cass. What's wrong with a little cheesecake? Helk, we swing voters can't just ogle the Bush Twins 24/7. We need a little variety!

BTW, Tony over at Oriental Redneck has a great little post on the Zell v. Chris Matthews smackdown. (CLICK!)

Posted by: spd rdr at Sep 2, 2004 10:18:07 AM

I've always despised Woodruff, Lane. I contemplated the sucking lemons line, along with several less pleasant lines like "poster girl for anorexia/bulemia" before deciding they were just too catty.

I don't know what's gotten into me lately - maybe the pain, but I'm getting decidedly cranky. Part of it was watching them gang up on Miller last nite - the poor man was shaking after getting worked over by 2LiveCameraCrew from CNN. I'll check out Tony's post on break.

spd: if Arnold is the inner child of the GOP, I believe you, sir, may well be the inner child of this blog... or maybe just its id. I do endeavor to allow a seemly level of oinkery. sigh...

For someone who scored as low as I did (I don't think anyone scored lower than I did) on the social part of the Libertarian quiz, I really am sorely underappreciated. [sniff]

Posted by: Cassandra at Sep 2, 2004 10:32:22 AM

Is our ickle inner child having a tantrum?

I saw Barbara Bush give Judy Woofwoof whatfor once. And if you had the Man Club Dancers she might have taken a bite out of one of them.
If I were Wolf, I would ask if Judy is up on her shots.

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at Sep 2, 2004 10:43:50 AM

Jumpin' Jeffords was a hero, a courageous moderate Republican who with valor switched to Independent due to the hard right turn of his party that deserted him, and with honor voted to give the Dems a two year majority in the Senate.

Zell Miller, well that same press calls him a senile old crumegeon and traitor. Yet the man that attacked Bush in '92 as a keynote speaker at the other convention was praised. His similar, and certainly no worse, attack on Kerry is now portrayed as "mean." Mean, so it can be ignored. Not angry, because angry people may have a good reason.


Flash controls over substance for most observers, which we sadly know. While I would prefer Cheney with girls on trampolines behind him, I think he has most serious men already. He needs the beef cake with him to get all the google eyed chicks who vote for Edwards smile. Oh, and if you were willing to let people be free, maybe you wouldn't have to pout in the corner with your underappreciated and underpaid hat on. :=P

If I sound cranky, it is because I just found out I have strep, two needles were stuck in my buttox today, and I need to get two motions to compel out today.

Posted by: KJ at Sep 2, 2004 10:58:30 AM


re: if you'd let people be free...

Funny you should say that. The Unit and I were discussing that point last night :)

I was saying that I wished I were better read so I could rebut(t) (sorry - ouch!) you on the faux freedom issue. Plato could do it. Or any of the Founding Fathers.

As we've so often not-quite-clashed on, because despite your tweaking me I don't think you really believe half of what you say, there's a difference between freedom and license.

And as I've made plain before, I don't give a rat's tuckus what you do in the privacy of your home, as long as it doesn't impact me or mine. I don't need to know why you have so many gerbils. It's a free country, dude...

That said, there is also something to be said for a legal system that encourages public virtue an industry vs. indolence. In removing all vestiges of God and religion (and therefore that pesky morality) from the public arena, the ACLU is also eroding the infrastructure that holds society together and supports families. The values that ended slavery and Jim Crow. The values that reached out to Muslims after 9/11. And all this is happening at a time when we're more ethnically, philosophically, and culturally diverse.

The ties that bind us as a society and keep us civil are being loosened. All in the name of what?


That is the highest good? Not virtue? Not responsibility, or civic duty? Those things are so boring. That's why no one wants to join the military anymore KJ. That's why our best and brightest don't become teachers anymore. That's why parents don't raise their children anymore. Everything is reduced to opportunity costs and lifestyle choices: we avoid thinking of them in terms of moral choices or value judgements (which is what they truly are). And the true costs of these decisions are always passed along to someone else.

Freedom, in and of itself, is not a virtue. It's anarchy: the law of the jungle. I am "free" to kill you and take all that you have, if I am strong enough. And I know you know this - I'm just making a point.

You have remarked before that we are fairly close to being in agreement on this issue, so I will ascribe your testiness to your Hellraiser-like gluteal accoutrements and cease the ritual cluebat beating... :)

Posted by: Cassandra at Sep 2, 2004 12:30:40 PM

Kj works under compulsion? WOW.
And he had a Botox needle in his butt?
Sounds serious. Why do you need your backside frozen?

KJ, it has been eight years since Zell spoke for Clinton. Therefore he has a full blown case of Alzhiemers' since he came over to the Light side of the Force.

I am also cranky because my tender tiny feelings got stomped on by a demoncrank.
I think it is that 'time' for it.

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at Sep 2, 2004 12:31:38 PM

LFC: Actually, 12 years. He keynoted in '92. That was why he was bashing Bush 41.

Cass, License and freedom are different. The difference is many people feel like they have to regulate the conduct that qualifies as freedom in order to reduce the conduct that becomes license. Stop the drug user in his home, so that we prevent the crime he might later commit.

Is freedom the highest virture? Of course not. Few Christians believe that, and not that many libertarians. But John Stuart Mill have a word to say about from where the right to limit freedom should come. Our founding fathers decided to put a few freedoms in the constitution.

One, just eg, is speech. I have said here many times (and at TOB) that the left often claims that someone should be applauded for "having the courage to stand up and say something controversial." I disagree. I don't think the fact that someone will stand up and say something is noteworthy. WHAT that person says may make it noteworthy. The content of the speech is much more important than the act. We allow the act, always, under the 1st Amend. There are different rationales for that. Mills was we should allow all speech because we can learn from the good and bad speech, that the market place of ideas leads us in the right direction over time, and that even "wrong" ideas often have some truth in them. He also relies on rule utilitarianism in this discussion.

And I do not always just rely on freedom as its own virtue, though I think that is relevant. I am more than willing to move into utilitarianism to defend many of my points. Some things are about freedom (and not license) - eg, private gun ownership and drug use - both can easily be "connected" to crime under any modern theory. But both are defendable under a cost/benefit analysis that seeks to limit crime. I have made the argument before that I don't need to rely on freedom for drug legalization, that the cost benefit analysis is sufficient - lower enforcement costs, less jail costs, more tax revenue, less errosion of other constitutional rights, and less crime induced by the profit motive built into drug prohibition. You disagree with the analysis I have offered, but at least we can speak the same language. Similar arguments can be made for gun ownership, with which you probably would agree.

This conversation reminds me of when I was looking for a home. Lots of real estate people were very excited to tell me about how this neighborhood has covenants that prevented certain types of house colors, types of grass (not pot, the lawn kind), colors of your shades, types or any kind of fences. I would tell them that I wanted the freedom to have the type of house I wanted, and I could live with a neighbor that had the same freedom. Get me a neighborhood without any rules other than normal residential zoning laws. Their face would become this tangled mess of confusion. It was great. I live in a neighborhood with freedom, and everyone (except one house with a non-resident owner) takes great care of their home. They may have a weird color, or have several dogs, or they cut trees down their neighbors wish they would leave up, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have the backyard surounded by a fence I chose, my daughter has a little 10'x14' play house that would be against many covenenant neighborhoods, and my landscaping and shades are my choice. I can live with my quircky neighbor to my south and his odd landscaping and home additions. I wouldn't trade for security by regulation any day.

Posted by: KJ at Sep 2, 2004 1:10:38 PM

And let me address one thing. I leave the Libertarian Party on several issues - (1) national defense, and (2) national security issues. For that reason, I believe that a draft should not be taken off the table. I agree with a government that promotes civil virtues - one that would have the courage to say (1) vote, but be informed when you do (2) our military is basically good and there to protect us all - volunteer. I remember defending the movie Starship Troopers here once. It is a campy movie, but I loved it. It was very partiotic (it was set in the future, so the government was a "world government", but it was not really pro-UN). The director admitted to being pro-military and partiotism in doing the movie. The military was voluntary even though there were wars going on with the "bugs." To become a "citizen" you had to serve. The military tested you and determined what role you would have. I would not have a problem with an apporach similar to that in the US on some issues - that is purely an abstract statement without any realy thought into the details, so don't push me on it for now.

It was really a great movie from that perspective, and the women in it were easy on the eyes. *oink*

Posted by: KJ at Sep 2, 2004 1:19:55 PM

Oh it's underwear is in a twist, isn't it, Precious? Botox for the Buttox made it all hurtful, did it? It had to correct the Cricket...poor little chirping thing and have the gall to be right! Well, we knows how to gets the best of him, we does...we will just AGREE!

And on that note, I will second my approval about living under 'restrictions.' Our other property in Missouri is in an unincorporated area. TALK ABOUT FREEDOM! You can smell the tar and hear the chickens being plucked at town hall meetings when people's property is being put on the line for some asshatted scheme to enrich liberals.

Our other house is in a rural area. for those of you who hunt Bambi, we have deer grazing by the garage, quail and pheasant
all over the place, and it is only one acre.
I have a woodburning stove that we used when the power went out in the winter and we had a water supply just in case the water supply got shut off, as has happened. So, yeah, I can rough it but I choose NOT TO.

Well, in this rural area, there are a grand total of 200 houses spread out over several hundred square miles. And the local banker and Wicked Witch real estate agent (who had built houses in violation of the waste water
laws...whatever they call em)were trying to get the taxpayers to get Big Brother in to build a waste water treatment facility costing 30 million dollars because they couldn't pay to fix their problems that they warranted weren't there in writing!

Of course we all snorted with laughter and
said "no." Well, it wouldn't die. I was even asked to opine. I was for constructed wetlands, contracted between neighbors and costing about 200 per household versus 15 THOUSAND over three years per household, and then a whopping 100.00 a month bill to keep the sytem going. It would die because they were going to take it to OTHER rural commnities to 'spread the cost'. Hm. Like manure, right?

So we went to the second meeting. This time the perp that was going to run the facility was there. He had done a horrid job at the local Army base on THEIR treatment facility and there were Rumors of Misappropriated Funds. I had lived in the quarters when he was in charge. Need I say more?

Anyhoo: He tells us that the payment will be part of the debt owed to the government, part will be a 'slush fund builder' and part will be the cost to maintain the facility.

Silence. Then the Cricket chirped:
"Uh, can you tell us what happens to the payment when the loan is repaid? IOW, will we have to keep on paying for that?"

Response from Eager Hopeful: "That will be up to your board of Directors."

Cricket: "Well, there is just one problem with that. It isn't YOUR MONEY. It belongs to the taxpayers and you already have a 'slush' built in. You don't need the extra fifty a month."

Oh boy...you should have HEARD the whooping and hollering. It was voted down.

People were not willing to let neighbor contract with neighbor to solve the problem.
Now, if KJ's septic were leaking, it follows either the contractor that built the system either didn't do it right OR it is so old that it needs to be redone. Where is that my problem? HOWEVER, if all the systems are bad in a two year old subdivision, and the contractor is bankrupt, then we smell a rotten fish.

And since the lawyers and bankers and real estate agents are all related, then you KNOW there is a problem...and you have the power to vote your pocket book.

I dislike covenant neighborhoods because your property isn't your own. Not really. Okay.
I am done with my soapbox. Maybe I am not brilliant, but to protect my corner of rural heaven, I will chirp.

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at Sep 2, 2004 1:55:28 PM

I LOVED Cheney's speech! He biRch slaps in such a way that the slappee has to look in a mirror to see the handprints on their face before they figured out what happened to them. (-;)

I also appreciated that he prefaced his "Here's John Kerry in the here & now" words with sincere thanks for Kerry's service time in Vietnam. Classy and dignified.

His "A senator can be wrong 20 years without consequence to a nation, but a President casts a deciding vote." comment, IMHO is the ultimate "Kerry or Bush,YOU DECIDE 2004" banner statement.

Zell-- B-1 Bomber
Cheney--stealth bomber

Posted by: CoLoRaDo KiT cAt at Sep 2, 2004 3:14:26 PM

Hey, BTW, I missed Zell's speech last night. Did he say anything different than his speech introducing Kerry 3 years ago?

(text from Zell's Introduction of Senator John Kerry

Democratic Party of Georgia's
Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

March 1, 2001

It is good to be back in Georgia and to be with you. I have been coming to these dinners since the 1950s, and have missed very few.

I'm proud to be Georgia's junior senator and I'm honored to serve with Max Cleland, who is as loved and respected as anyone in that body. One of our very highest priorities must be to make sure this man is re-elected in 2002 so he can continue to serve this state and nation.

I continue to be impressed with all that Governor Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Taylor and the Speaker and the General Assembly are getting done over at the Gold Dome. Georgia is fortunate to have this kind of leadership.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.

In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.

John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.

He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.

As many of you know, I have great affection – some might say an obsession – for my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Woodrow. It turns out John is a fellow dog lover, too, and he better be. His German Shepherd, Kim, is about to have puppies. And I just want him to know … Gus and Woodrow had nothing to do with that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Senator John Kerry.


Posted by: just annoying at Sep 2, 2004 3:27:06 PM

As a matter of fact, he did, annoying. Try reading his speech. You might also check out his answer to that same question posed by CNN.

He pointed out the date of this speech (3/1/2001). If you were to whip out your handy pocket calendar, you might notice that six months and 10 days after that, 3000 people were killed in a terrorist attack in NYC and the Pentagon and in a field in PA. My husband was in Pentagon that day, annoying. I was a bit more than just 'annoyed'.

If you were to then start paying attention, as Senator Miller did (he explained that people generally don't do in-depth research on someone before introducing them before a speech), and do some research, you might discover Sen. Kerry's 18-year voting record on defense and intel was not that good:


You might discover that they accused their fellow vets of being war criminals, something that might be expected to make a former Marine like old Zell a bit testy:


You might look around and see your own party sabotaging national security for the sake of partisan advantage. These things might make you change your mind and decide to take a closer look at a man you view before as just another colleague: someone you weren't viewing with a critical eye. Someone whose own version of events you had been content to accept.

Just a thought. Annoying things, thoughts, aren't they?

It's so much easier to sit back and say, "I haven't bothered to read the speech".

Posted by: Cassandra at Sep 2, 2004 3:51:09 PM

Wow! He's a dog lover??? How could I have been so wrong about the man! If he loves dogs, then he must be SUPREMELY capable of commanding the world's sole remaining superpower in the war on terror. Golly! I mean, when was the last time a cat lover became president? All the great presidents had dogs. FRD had Fala. Nixon had Checkers. And Clinton had Monica. I am going to rush out RIGHT NOW and cast my vote for Miller!

Posted by: spd rdr at Sep 2, 2004 5:07:38 PM

Spd, next time warn me ...

Posted by: Purple Raider at Sep 2, 2004 6:57:45 PM


Posted by: spd rdr at Sep 2, 2004 7:27:40 PM

A dog lover? Would that be dogs of righteous bloviation?

I have learned from my lovely bride that in China dogs don't say "woof" they say "want". File that under worthless information that Pile didn't need to share.

Posted by: Pile On® at Sep 2, 2004 8:23:21 PM

Ask your lovely bride if she's every heard of the Ancient Chinese saying, "if its back faces Heaven, it's edible".

I'm full of these little bits of trivia (some of them quite unprintable) about the Orient. Of course they're all apocryphal.

Posted by: Cassandra at Sep 2, 2004 8:27:45 PM

Ancient Chinese saying:
Inner child makes light work of heavy hitters because it's reach is below belt.

Posted by: spd rdr at Sep 2, 2004 8:42:18 PM

I hate "'s"
They make me lok sutpid.

Posted by: spd rdr at Sep 2, 2004 8:44:12 PM

Uh, I checked, and the answer is, I don't understand, that must be a bad translation. Heh. :)

Posted by: Pile On® at Sep 2, 2004 9:40:37 PM

LF Cricket,

If my correction came across as mean spirited, and I offended, I appologize. I am not awake enough (I am still sick, though better) to understand the story I don't think, so I can't comment right now.

FWIW, I live near the Hooch, in suburbia ATL, and I have a photo of 3 deer eating my wife's flowers. And it would be illegal to kill them just b/c I have a bunch of home of .5-1 acres lots around me. Huh!

Posted by: KJ at Sep 2, 2004 10:58:10 PM

You were NOT being mean spirited! I was teasing you. Some things just don't translate well, and FWIW, I just love everyone here at Jet noise. I know you are more than likely feeling like garbage, and the antibiotics in the tush might have helped a great deal, but well, I was hoping you would laugh.

Here is hoping you feel better, okay?

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at Sep 3, 2004 12:22:27 AM

Last night I was tired and coming out of my fog. After my post I was wide awake, and stayed up all night, though not at the computer. Today, surprisingly, I am still wide awake, and feeling pretty good. Your story is funny:=)

Posted by: KJ at Sep 3, 2004 10:07:31 AM