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Bush's Speech and Failed Presidency

I'm listening to Bush and so far he's not saying anything. He's boring. He should fire his speech writer. 1,000 soldiers died in Iraq and he wants to talk about creating a new tax code and going after trial lawyers? George Pataki's speech was more impassioned and heartfelt than his. Here is John Kerry's response to Bush's speech:

“The election comes down to this. If you believe this country is heading in the right direction, you should support George Bush. But if you believe America needs to move in a new direction, join with us. John and I offer a better plan that will make us stronger at home and more respected in the world. And we need your help to do that.

“I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America. And we have a specific plan to do just that. So tomorrow morning, John and Elizabeth and Teresa and I are hitting the road across America’s heartland. From here, we’ll go out and talk with Americans in towns across Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. And because a stronger America begins at home, we’ll talk about our plan to create jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, lower health care costs, and make America safer and more secure.”

John Kerry is holding a midnight rally tonight in Ohio. Tune out Bush, Tune into Kerry. George W. Bush, Flip-Flopper in Chief.

Update: Read Michael Berube on last night's speeches. The best so far.

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Republicans Abandon Zell Miller

What poetic justice. Yesterday the Republicans were hailing Zell Miller as their new champion. After the massive criticism of Miller's attack on Kerry, they have disowned him.

After gauging the harsh reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike to Sen. Zell Miller's keynote address at the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign - led by the first lady - backed away Thursday from Miller's savage attack on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, insisting that the estranged Democrat was speaking only for himself.

Late Thursday, Miller's name was removed from the list of dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family's box during the president's acceptance speech later in the evening. No explanation was immediately offered, but the change was made only a few hours after Laura Bush, asked about Miller's deeply personal denunciation of his own party's nominee, said in an interview with NBC News that "I don't know that we share that point of view."

Aides to President Bush and his campaign said Miller was not speaking for all Republicans.

Markos of Daily Kos writes:

LOL. All those smug f***s, braging about bagging a Democrat as their keynote speaker, can't run far enough in the other direction. They welcomed him with open arms. He's theirs. We're not taking him back.On the other hand, we like our keynote speaker. Ours -- Barack Obama -- represents the future of this country. Zell was the past. They can have the past.

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RNC: Daytime Appearances

If anyone's looking for Zell Miller today to let him know what you think of his speech, he'll be signing books at the Hilton. (1335 Avenue of the Americas, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.)

If you'd rather catch Arnold, head over to Planet Hollywood. (1540 Broadway, 11 a.m.) where he will be hosting a lunch for the California delegation.

[Via National Journal]

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Zell Miller: 'Get Out of My Face'

Amazing fight between Zell Miller and Chris Matthews on Hardball. Miller is a hothead, to put a positive spin on it. Matthews was freaked by the attack. Now even JC Watts is sticking up for Matthews. But Matthews is interrupting Watts the way he does everyone. I like Matthews, but he needs to watch the tapes of his shows and let someone else talk. That rat-a-tat-tat takes a toll on the viewer. But, again, Zell Miller just unloaded on him...catch the rerun if you can. Howard Dean was a puppy by comparison--at his loudest.

Update: The mock jury on msnbc loved Zell Miller's speech. One called it "uplifting and optimistic." They said he had more credibility because he was a democrat. Only one person said he was overboard. If this represents voters in general, this country is in big trouble. The war machine is here to stay.

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Cheney Bashes the Trial Lawyers

I have to say, after the fanatical Zell Miller, Cheney is easy on the ears. But what about substance? He's co-opting FDR as his own. He's pushing his own family values.

He wants every child to have a chance to suceed. He wishes his grandkids a world of freedom, safety and peace. So do we all, why doesn't he understand that this is why Bush needs to go?

A gratuitous slap at the trial lawyers. Rote applause. Did someone flash a sign that said "Clap now?"

Lots of trite platitudes in the speech. Whoops, there goes a protester. Cheney smiles.

One nice touch. He mentioned Kerry's Vietnam service and said "We honor him for it." The crowd applauded.

Then he attacked Kerry's record. On cue, the crowd boos for Kerry's record. They are like marionettes with someone behind the podium pulling their strings.

I'm looking at the delegates for the first time. It's a sea of white....like mayonnaise.

Now Cheney is praising the use of military force. The crowd cheers. Warmongers all. He criticizes Kerry's vote for the war but against funding it. Now the crowd is chanting flip-flop.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the screen, here's what's flashing: "Terror alert elevated."

Cheney is pleased with himself. Listing the flip-flops. Now on the Two Americas--"America sees two John Kerrys."

Nice speech, no impact. Nothing new. Tuning out now.

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Zell Miller Time: Bring Out the Bimbos

Zell Miller is a joke. How will Kerry fight in Iraq?...he'll bring out the bimbos. Classy guy (not.) This is the speech of a former Marine. He's angry and impassioned, but it's all fire and brimstone. Inflammatory junk. He's a scary nutcase. Here comes the religious references. Let the praise by the wing-nuts begin. It will.

He should not be calling himself a Democrat. He's a turncoat and a preacher. Nothing more.

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Michael Reagan's Pro Life Speech

Michael Reagan is turning his adoption into a pro-life platform. He says because Ron and Nancy and his adoptive mother and his birth mother were pro-life and pro-adoption, he is here today. He's making it sound like he was surrounded by love his entire life. He sure told a different story in his 1988 family tell-all, "On the Outside Looking In." Here's one account of the happy family from the book (Washington Post, 3/31/88)

...a two-career family, a divorce, third-party child care, a hated stepparent and a second family, sibling rivalry, teen-age rebellion, estrangement. Add emotional traumas from adoption and childhood molestation suffered by a man later branded the family troublemaker who capitalized on the family name, and accused of being a kleptomaniac, and you have Ronald Reagan's own family as seen through the eyes of his elder son.

Michael Reagan on his adoptive mother, Jane Wyman: (Newsweek 3/21/88):

"When are you going to stop living off your father's name? I can't believe you have anything to say at this time of your life that's worth reading." Michael Reagan, quoting his adoptive mother, Jane Wyman, after she learned he was writing a book about his life with her, Ronald Reagan and stepmother Nancy.

Washington Post: 2/17/89, on Barbara Bush visiting Neil Bush's newborn child:

It's a sharp contrast to the family life of former President and Nancy Reagan, who didn't see son Michael Reagan's daughter (coincidentally also named Ashley) until the child was 20 months old ...

On Michael Reagan's book:(Wash. Post, 5/22/88):

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Protest Photos

Theoria from Daily Kos was not able to convey his marriage proposal to Janeane Garafolo of Air America Radio's Majority Report last night, but he did get some great protest photos.

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NOW Protest in Central Park Tonight

Protest tonight by the National Organization for Women from 7 to 9 in Central Park--East Medow

PROTEST The Bush Administration'sWAR on WOMEN

Enter the park at 90th Street, at Fifth Avenue or Central Park West

Also today, Run Against Bush:

4pm-12am Run Against Bush - Runners will leave each hour from The Tank at 432 W. 42nd St. between 9th and 10th Aves. It will be a highly visible relay in small teams near the convention site to make sure everyone knows how they feel about the RNC and the Bush administration. Joggers of any ability level are more than welcome. To join a relay team or for more info, email Tim Haft at RNCrelay@runagainstbush.org,or call Tim at (646) 654-0668 or Stefan at (917) 306-1892.

On a humorous note,

6pm Panty Performance Protest A "Mass Flash" to create a media spectacle that lays bare the shameful tactics of the Bush administration and boldly demands an end to political cover-up." More info at axisofeve.org. In Battery Park City, Southwest Manhattan....Meet in front of Golden Sphere Sculpture in Battery Park, near the entrance. Subways: 4,5 to Bowling Green; 1,9 to South Ferry; R,W to Whitehall. From Bowling Green, exit station and enter park. From South Ferry and Whitehall, walk along State street until you reach park entrance.

Sure beats listening to Dick Cheney.

Here's one more:

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Bush Daughters a Bust

Update: The bad reviews are universal. Worse than bad. They made a sex joke about their grandmother? Even the conservative press is appalled. Send them off to graduate school (not Iraq, we should be asking people to come home from there, not to go there.)


Amy Sullivan and Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly say the Bush daughters were a bust. So did the Fox News commentators tonight.

Even Conservatives Hated Them....The verdict from the Fox News crew on Jenna, Barbara, and Laura is not good.
Bill Kristol: "The last half hour did not help, as far as I can tell, Bush's campaign for reelection."
Mort Kondracke: "Those two girls were ditzes. I'm surprised they were allowed on the program."
Fred Barnes: "I think she [Laura] had no place up there or the daughters either....Their mother said they'll be pursuing their own careers. I would advise them to look in some field other than comedy."

So do the TalkLeft commenters in the open thread on tonight's speeches. One wrote:

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Dem Response Team Makes an Appearance

Did anyone watch John Kerry's speech today? Both Fox News and MSNBC played it live...I think for the duration. It was long. He promised veterans he'd protect their rights when they came home. No fire though. He needs to ratch it up a notch or two.

Finally, this morning, the Dems have been getting some rebuttal air time. Their rapid response team is beginning to show up on Fox and MSNBC. Where has it been so far? I commented on this last night while watching Hardball. So did Daily Kos. Better late than never, but they have a lot of catching up to do.

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Security Breach: Protesters Get Inside RNC

This morning a handful of Act Up protesters got floor passes and inside the Garden to wave some signs on the floor. The RNC officials looked baffled. The protesters were quickly jumped on --actually it looked on tv like people were swatting at them like flies--and tv news reports some have been "detained" by authorities.

If you have more details, please put them in the comments.

As an aside, Jerome Armstrong from MY DD got a press pass for a few hours yesterday and listened to the speeches. He sounds disgusted with the Republicans. Go read.

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Giuliani: Out of Context

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post analyzes Guliani's peech and its attacks on Kerry and finds them misleading because they were taken out of context.

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What's Missing from the RNC?

Michael Scherer in Mother Jones hits what's missing from the Republican Convention and Madison Square Garden--

There's something missing from this convention. Call it energy, spirit. Call it people....There's an aura of weirdness about this convention. It's different from last month's Democratic show in Boston.

How so?

On the first night in Boston, Bill Clinton had sucked every bit of air out of the FleetCenter. The journalists packed their risers; the nosebleed seats overflowed. You couldn't carry on a conversation. It was an early climax, not topped by either Kerry or Edwards, but it set the tone for the four days.

I agree with Scherer's description of the Fleet Center, so I have no reason to doubt his description of the Garden. I can say that outside the vicinity of the Garden, New York seems like a shadow of its normal self. Traffic isn't bad. I went from midtown to SoHo tonight in almost no time. SoHo had street parking available. There are no hordes of people, and that has included my trips to the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, midtown and Hell's Kitchen.

While there are plenty of tourists in Times Square, they don't seem connected to the convention. They seem mostly interested in eating their ice cream cones. All over town, looking inside restaurant windows, I've seen plenty of empty tables. Glancing up the avenues in the late afternoon and early evening, it seems most taxis have their "available" lights on.

There's still two days to go, so I don't want to proclaim New York a snooze yet, but I have to say, it's leaning that way.

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1,000 Protesters Arrested Tuesday

New York police report that 1,000 protesters were arrested Tuesday:

Nearly 1,000 protesters were arrested across Manhattan on Tuesday as swarms of activists massed in the streets for marches to the site of the Republican convention - by far the biggest day of arrests since the demonstrations began last week.

There were no immediate reports of violence, but police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said officers showed "great restraint in the face of relentless provocation" by the protesters.

No violence? Then why were they arrested? Wasn't it just last week Mayor Bloomberg was offering shopping discounts to non-violent protesters as a welcoming gesture?

Heightened security against the protests has turned Manhattan into a crazy-quilt of barriers, heavily armed police and street-corner activists.....Outside the New York Public Library, in the streets near the famed Herald Square and at the site of the fallen World Trade Center, demonstrators pointed themselves toward Madison Square Garden and promised to get their message across that they want President Bush out of office.

On the library's stone steps, hundreds of protesters gathered for the march. Verbal confrontations erupted as police moved them away from the library's front door and wrapped the block in orange netting, and about 75 people were taken into custody before the crowd thinned out.

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