Primary victories, and thus party nominations, are still measured in delegates. But the delegates themselves, most of them pledged to a candidate based on the voting in their respective states, are reduced to extras in the tightly scripted play that is a 21st-century national convention.
This week in Boston Democrats repeatedly insisted that they are just as committed as Republicans to providing for the common defense. The trouble was, whenever the featured players read from that part of the script, the extras were on a different page.
On Wednesday John Edwards promised that a Democratic administration
None of this drew a reaction from the crowd. Only on the next line did the applause come:
Bored by talk of strengthening the military, delegates were enthralled with an appeal to the Clintonian conception of foreign policy as popularity contest.
Last night, in the midst of rushing through his acceptance speech, John Kerry assured us:
Again, nary a peep from the crowd. But this nakedly isolationist dig at the campaign for hearts and minds drew loud cheers:
When the delegates did cheer for, say, the bravery of our troops, it was rarely with the same furor as Democratic bread-and-butter; when Kerry promised to “roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year, so we can invest in job creation, education and health care,” the wild applause began at the word “individuals.” Wesley Clark — reinvented once again, this time as a hawk — was reduced to begging:
Tonight, please give them a round of applause. Honor them, our veterans, our families. Give them a round of applause. We love our men and women in uniform.
They have given so much.
I want all America to see our party and how we respect the men and women who serve.
He didn’t add because there are cameras here, you idiots, but the crowd got the message: the applause, politely granted when he first asked for it, rose to cheering on that last line.
Of course, the crowd had little use for poor Joe Lieberman. There were no cheers when he so rudely compared “Islamist terrorists” to “Nazis and Communists.” Lieberman declared:
The crowd had no reaction, until Lieberman followed up by lauding Kerry and Edwards for their commitment “to supporting them and their families when they come home.”
In fact, the delegates were happiest when the script was trashed altogether. Al Sharpton departed from his six-minute script and ad-libbed for nearly a quarter-hour, bringing his speech to 20 minutes, and all but equated Bush to Bull Connor. The crowd loved it.
None of this is a surprise: If they cared about guns as much as butter, most of these delegates wouldn’t be Democrats at all. And that’s why a tack to the right on defense can only take Kerry so far. Whatever Kerry’s rhetorical stance of the moment, there remains a foreign policy liability built into the D next to his name on the ballot.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?