July 28th, 2004

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

Quick take on tonight's DNC featured speakers

Richard Gephardt: Missed his speech. Don't care. He still has no eyebrows, which is kind of distracting. ;)

Ted Kennedy: I didn't tune in to hear his puffery, and couldn't possibly care less. I've always found him pompous and annoying.

Howard Dean: While I appreciate some of Dean's stances, particularly his opposition to the Patriot Act, I don't think he delivered very well tonight. I thought his interview with some of CNN's talking heads the previous night was better. He did have a few strong lines, like the "this was never about me: it was about us," but overall, I found it somewhat disappointing. Tons of pre-speech applause, however, so he probably could have read the phone directory and made his very sympathetic audience happy.

Barack Obama: Holy smokes, a speech better than Clinton's. Actually, I'd bet a batch of cheese wafers that some of Clinton's speech writers worked on Obama's keynote address, 'cause there were excerpts that sounded very Clintonesque. Excellent speech, well delivered, and one that actually reached out to moderates in some passages. If he's careful, and can walk his own path through the people trying to groom him, he may have a bright political future ahead of him.

Ron Reagan: Though not as electrifying as Obama, Ron Reagan was actually the perfect follow up, providing an opportunity for the viewers to rest and think. I definitely appreciate his committed outreach on stem cell research, and commend his courage for sticking to his beliefs regardless of his parentage. Rather than all the bombast and shouting, he got our attention quietly and with dignity, which was the perfect tone for his message.

Teresa Heinz Kerry: I don't care if she speaks five languages, can she articulate her thoughts in any one of them well? I found her speech to be meandering, dull, and transparently pandering to women: there are those of us who pride ourselves on being "smart and well-informed" who found it patronizing, outdated, and grating.

I've seen many good speakers, both male and female. Teresa Heinz Kerry is not one of them. Note to John Kerry: really, don't let her out too much before the election. You don't want your wife to become a negative factor for you in this close a race. Your core constituency may love her, but don't mistake that for general widespread appeal.

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

Free speech, but only for some

Well, mumpish beat me to it in the fifth paragraph of this post. I'd seen a link from MetaFilter this morning regarding the free speech zones, and had intended to write about it (it's a different link from the Wired article). Unfortunately, just as I was about to start typing, my husband called to warn me of a wreck he'd heard about on the radio, indicating that I needed to get on the road to work sooner rather than later.

In short, my perspective is simply that all of America's public space is supposed to be a free speech zone. Although I've recently made posts expressing my disapproval of rude remarks made by Dick Cheney and Teresa Heinz Kerry, and I do still feel that both displayed poor judgment and a lack of tact in the way they conveyed their sentiments, I absolutely and unquestionably defend their right to speak their minds.

The sheer irony of Democratic speakers aggrandizing this constitutional right while it is denied to those outside the convention building is appallingly hypocritical and, dare I say it, un-American. As mumpish mentioned, the Republicans will be giving protesters similar treatment when their convention rolls around, so they're culpable as well. In neither case is it a good thing.