Law School Discussion

Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?

Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2004, 11:28:12 AM »
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MaroonOut2005

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Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2004, 01:45:21 PM »
Well, let me rephrase.  I judge politican's speaking abilities on the basis of whether it fits their image well.  Kerry is playing the role of the intellectual, and I think his speaking abilities match that image well.  He is posed, he makes concise points, and he knows how to use tone well.  True, he's not the most exciting person to listen to speak, but I don't think that's what he's going for.  Just my opinion though.

Thanks and Gig 'Em,
Jason

Ya know what's funny? MaroonOut says something complimentary about Kerry, and I disagree. I thought the speech was well-written and hit the right points, and I think Kerry has a good voice, but I was not impressed with his speaking skills at all.

Kerry is an excellent public speaker...


Holy crap! I left the office for about an hour and a half, and in that time I missed not only a opportunity for LSD-fueled hair-splitting but also a political argument between family members consisting of approximately forty emails. I gotta get my priorities straight (or maybe I don't; after all, I wasn't doing anything worthwhile when I left the office either).

Buster doesn't seem to be around today so there has to be SOMEBODY to fill in and split hairs.

lucky7

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Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2004, 12:12:32 PM »
I don't agree with everything he said, but I thought his delivery was very good, much better than usual. Although the start was a bit corny, when he saluted and said he was "reporting for duty" or something like that ::)

nathanielmark

Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2004, 12:48:13 PM »
the salute thing may have been awkward, but i think it was a barb at bush who is known to have avoided showing up for duty, in contrast to kerry who has served his country well.  this fact seems to have been lost on the press even.. i was surprised.  but yeah, about 5 minutes in to the speech in nearly turned it off, but then he got very passionate.  i thought it was a very strong speech.  i think he was a little nervous in the beginning too, which is understandable.


I don't agree with everything he said, but I thought his delivery was very good, much better than usual. Although the start was a bit corny, when he saluted and said he was "reporting for duty" or something like that ::)

Bman

Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2004, 01:11:51 PM »
I thought it was a collection of cliches and superficial arguments, while the most important issue of the election in my mind, Iraq, was handled quite non-specifically and poorly. Calling for an internationalization of the occupation may be good politics but it's not made in good faith. Anyone with even a remote knowledge of international relations, which includes Kerry, knows that France, Germany and other countries have neither the capabilities nor the inclination to provide serious manpower of the kind that would allow us to withdraw a significant number of troops.

But that's not the most important observation I have. What I found the most irritating was the stunning disingenousness of Kerry's call for a positive campaign. Let's recap: He accused the Attorney General of subverting the constitution, accused the vice president of allowing polluters to set the country's energy policies, accused the President of misusing and politicizing intelligence, misleading the nation, fighting an unnecessary war, alienating our allies, breaking with fundamental American values and constructing a fiscal policy that benefits the top one percent while starving the rest of the nation of critical needs as well as much more. You can agree or disagree with all of those accusations. But to do all of that and then turn around and lambast the REPUBLICANS for being negative and running a politics is preposterous. Yet that's Kerry's strategy. When Bush points out the axiomatic fact that Kerry has been a conventional left-liberal politician without much of a distinguished record in the Senate(indeed, this last part is certainly true. why do you think kerry spent so much time on his Vietnam record but very little on the thirty five years since then?) Kerry will rip into him for offering insults over positive solutions, as if it's illegitimate for an incumbent to criticize his challenger, while he is ripping into every aspect of Bush's record at the same time.

buster

Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2004, 04:53:13 AM »
Bman, I think your post is fair.

I'd like to take this opportunity, though, to draw a distinction I think you'll agree with. To me there are essentially three ways to be "negative" in a campaign:

1. misleading or inaccurate statements
2. generalizations about your opponents character
3. spreading of rumors

Accurate statements about your opponent's record are not negative. A broader definition that defines essentially any discussion of your opponent as negative is sometimes used, but is, to me, just silly. Would you agree?

I'm not trying to get into an argument about whether or not what Kerry said about Bush's record is accurate, but I think some ground rules are in order if we're going to talk now or in the future about negative campaigning.


I thought it was a collection of cliches and superficial arguments, while the most important issue of the election in my mind, Iraq, was handled quite non-specifically and poorly. Calling for an internationalization of the occupation may be good politics but it's not made in good faith. Anyone with even a remote knowledge of international relations, which includes Kerry, knows that France, Germany and other countries have neither the capabilities nor the inclination to provide serious manpower of the kind that would allow us to withdraw a significant number of troops.

But that's not the most important observation I have. What I found the most irritating was the stunning disingenousness of Kerry's call for a positive campaign. Let's recap: He accused the Attorney General of subverting the constitution, accused the vice president of allowing polluters to set the country's energy policies, accused the President of misusing and politicizing intelligence, misleading the nation, fighting an unnecessary war, alienating our allies, breaking with fundamental American values and constructing a fiscal policy that benefits the top one percent while starving the rest of the nation of critical needs as well as much more. You can agree or disagree with all of those accusations. But to do all of that and then turn around and lambast the REPUBLICANS for being negative and running a politics is preposterous. Yet that's Kerry's strategy. When Bush points out the axiomatic fact that Kerry has been a conventional left-liberal politician without much of a distinguished record in the Senate(indeed, this last part is certainly true. why do you think kerry spent so much time on his Vietnam record but very little on the thirty five years since then?) Kerry will rip into him for offering insults over positive solutions, as if it's illegitimate for an incumbent to criticize his challenger, while he is ripping into every aspect of Bush's record at the same time.

Bman

Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2004, 07:06:42 AM »
Buster, I think the distinctions you make are well-considered. But I don't think that this is the definition of "negative" made by political reporters and being used as a soundbite by the Kerry campaign. When the news media say that a candidate has "gone negative" they don't generally mean that the candidate is running misleading ads, spreading rumors or making character an issue- if any of those three are the case, they will simply call it that instead of the more broad term of negative. What they generally mean is merely that the candidate is criticizing his opponent as opposed to extolling his own positive traits. Consider the following hypothetical statement that Bush might make (without considering whether you believe it to be accurate):

Bush: "Throughout his career, my opponent has consistently opposed the measures that I believe were necessary to protect American security. He voted against the first Gulf War, opposed President Reagan's strategy of funding anti-Communist guerillas in Latin America during the 1980s, supported the nuclear freeze movement, and has been a reliable vote against missile defense systems for most of his career. He has recently stated that he believes the war on terrorism is more of a matter for law enforcement than the military. All of this is in addition to his current, widely varying views on Iraq. Senator Kerry says he wants to be judged on his record. I agree. Take a look at his record in the Senate and judge for yourself whether you think he is the man to lead the United States in a time of war."

Does this statement fit any of your three criteria? I don't think so. It doesn't comment on Kerry's character. It does not spread rumors. It's technically accurate and only misleading to the extent that all arguments are- they marshall the facts that support the case they're trying to make. Yet if Bush made such a statement, the media would certainly call it negative and so would Kerry. Kerry has reacted to legitimate criticism several times by critiquing the President for negative campaigning. And even under your restricted definition, it seems to me that Kerry's campaign would qualify as negative (they have relentlessly critiqued the President's credibility, encouraged inquiries about his military service, accused him of misleading the nation, promised to restore character to the White House, etc.). I think this is wrong but my critique is not that they've engaged in negative campaigning; my point is that he's a hypocrite. Anyone can see that both sides do this and yet in the very same speech, he attacks President Bush and then bemoans the politics of negativity.

buster

Re: Kerry's Acceptance Speech, good, bad or what?
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2004, 07:22:57 AM »
Maybe you're right; maybe my definition of negative campaigning is just different than the popular definition. (I think mine is the right one, but that's irrelevant, isn't it?) To me, what you're talking about (running on your opponent's record as opposed to your own) is something different.

Regarding your hypothetical (?) statement, I would not consider it to be negative (with the possible exception of the "widely varying views on Iraq" portion," simply because it's intentionally vague in a provocative fashion. But I don't think this sort of thing is what the media has been referring to in describing Bush's campaign as negative. Rather, I think the campaign got that reputation with the ads they Bush campaign ran (starting in February, I think) touting claims like the "voted to raise taxes 350 times" ridiculousness.


Buster, I think the distinctions you make are well-considered. But I don't think that this is the definition of "negative" made by political reporters and being used as a soundbite by the Kerry campaign. When the news media say that a candidate has "gone negative" they don't generally mean that the candidate is running misleading ads, spreading rumors or making character an issue- if any of those three are the case, they will simply call it that instead of the more broad term of negative. What they generally mean is merely that the candidate is criticizing his opponent as opposed to extolling his own positive traits.

Consider the following hypothetical statement that Bush might make (without considering whether you believe it to be accurate):

Bush: "Throughout his career, my opponent has consistently opposed the measures that I believe were necessary to protect American security. He voted against the first Gulf War, opposed President Reagan's strategy of funding anti-Communist guerillas in Latin America during the 1980s, supported the nuclear freeze movement, and has been a reliable vote against missile defense systems for most of his career. He has recently stated that he believes the war on terrorism is more of a matter for law enforcement than the military. All of this is in addition to his current, widely varying views on Iraq. Senator Kerry says he wants to be judged on his record. I agree. Take a look at his record in the Senate and judge for yourself whether you think he is the man to lead the United States in a time of war."

Does this statement fit any of your three criteria? I don't think so. It doesn't comment on Kerry's character. It does not spread rumors. It's technically accurate and only misleading to the extent that all arguments are- they marshall the facts that support the case they're trying to make. Yet if Bush made such a statement, the media would certainly call it negative and so would Kerry. Kerry has reacted to legitimate criticism several times by critiquing the President for negative campaigning. And even under your restricted definition, it seems to me that Kerry's campaign would qualify as negative (they have relentlessly critiqued the President's credibility, encouraged inquiries about his military service, accused him of misleading the nation, promised to restore character to the White House, etc.). I think this is wrong but my critique is not that they've engaged in negative campaigning; my point is that he's a hypocrite. Anyone can see that both sides do this and yet in the very same speech, he attacks President Bush and then bemoans the politics of negativity.
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