Procrastination Nation

Things that Robert is thinking about that keep him from accomplishing anything.

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Friday, July 30, 2004
I watched Kerry on tape last night, so I missed the Morgan Freeman-narrated video and other preliminary speeches. I don't see why pundits or Democrats are jazzed about his speech last night. It's only real virtue was its relative brevity, at 46 minutes. If I have an unusual amount of typos, forgive my copy editing as the glare from Kerry's chin sweat burned my retinas. Is there not a corner man to come over and wipe him down? Or a nurse? He looked like Ted Striker trying to land a plane.

His oratorical limitations are substantial, but I see it as the job of the speech writer to place the words in his mouth in such a way as to compensate for them. First, he crams too many words into each breath. (I'm going to go through and count some samples from tape tonight.) Second, the sentences are too long. As I've complained before, he needs to remove conjunctions (I'll check that, too), but removing excessive clauses will help substantially. Perhaps the clauses were an attempt by the speech writers to force some pauses and breaths. The excessive wordiness and pace make even the slightly memorable images still more slight. Will anyone remember this speech in a week? Is a "family values, valuing families" turn of phrase the best they can do?

I fear this speech is a "success" in the same way pundits regarded Dukakis' speech in '88 as a successful speech at the time. Appealing to the American ideal of immigration, connecting his personal story to his policy. He had a 17 point lead and everything. Yeah, quite memorable: "Because this election isn’t about ideology. It’s about competence." We see where that got him.

I suppose, ultimately, the success of a speech is not in the speech but in the candidate. I don't believe Kerry will carry this off.

On the plus side, though, I have to give a thumbs up to using Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" for an intro song, not so much because it's evocative, but because I'm a Springsteen fan. At least they didn't fall for the ironically titled "Glory Days." And, even if it was from the Van Hagar era, "Dreams" is a definite improvement from Fleetwood Mac and "Don't Stop" for listenting purposes. Unfortunately, I'm not sure '80s nostalgia is to a point where it will connect to enough voters.

I'll take your votes by email for '80s songs they should have used. They have to fit the message and be recognizable to enough people. If you have RNC song suggestions, send those, too.

For theme music, the GOP could use this Adam Sandler RNC Song:

What a dream: Adam Sandler at the RNC!

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