I’m not sure what was more disgusting, the sheer number of adoring delegates dwarfed only by the number of lies told, the Zell Miller meltdown, the acceptance speech itself, or the whole 9/11 orgy.
The inspiration the president provided, however, was overshadowed by the disturbing nostalgia for Sept. 11 that preceded it. The phenomenon of "faster nostalgia" keeps accelerating, and the decades we reminisce about grow closer and closer to the present with each passing year. But the two political conventions this August must be the first recorded instances of nostalgia for the 21 st century.
During the Democratic convention, too many speakers looked back to 9/11 with fondness. They didn't recall the months after the worst foreign attack in American history as a sad and tragic time. Instead, they appeared to remember those days as a warm-and-fuzzy time of national unity, now lost because of Republican partisanship. But the GOP's wistful look back at the tragedy as a marvelous occasion that somehow justifies the re-election of President Bush was even more stomach-turning. The convention's final night had the air of a VH-1 special: I Love Sept. 11.
I don’t buy Suellentrop’s assessment of the Democratic Convention. That convention was about many things and 9/11 was one of them. But he’s spot on about how much this election hinges on that vision of Bush cheerleading on the charred ruins of the Twin Towers.
In Sunday’s times Frank Rich has a discouraging piece on how the image of Bush as a fake war hero has (so far) succeeded in trumping Kerry’s real war heroism. I do agree with Rich in that Kerry gets into trouble when he lets himself get caught up in a pissing contest with Bush. But I don’t think the answer is to create a new image of Kerry as the vet who stood up to the Vietnam war. I personally prefer that image above all else (if you haven’t seen the footage of him testifying before Congress after his tour of duty, check out C-SPAN). But I think that’s a loser at this late date, Kerry’s problem is that he is too hesitant to turn the tables on the opposition. Take this story on Bush’s National Guard days. This article should be in the talking points of every Democratic operative out there. Part of image-making in a campaign is doing damage to the other guy’s image. And Bush in vulnerable.