Sorry to miss Friday. Much to say about the Convention if I ever get time . . . the highest hotel bill I have ever paid in my life! . . . but I found the link to the video of the Barack Obama speech that I mentioned. It was the ‘keynote address’ to the Convention, but none of the networks carried it.

(The Conventions are about democracy and the future of the country and the planet in truly perilous times. Each network broadcast just 3 of our 28 hours and will be doing the same in New York next month. This is one of the reasons the times are so perilous. If the citizenry has relatively little idea what’s going on, how can it make wise choices?)

The real keynote speech, of course – indeed, the only speech that really mattered – was John Kerry’s.

I knew it would be good and hoped it might be very good. But it was great – a home run.

This isn’t to say the good Senator will be able to score well against President Bush in the debates. Intelligence, knowledge, experience, grit and good judgment are prized qualities in a president, but mean little in the modern form of ‘debate,’ where the real contest is just to see who’s more likable.

President Bush has never lost a debate – even against the brilliant, funny Ann Richards or the vastly more qualified Al Gore – in part because his team does such a good job of lowering expectations.

In the weeks leading up to the debates (slated for September 30 at University of Miami, October 8 at Washington University in St. Louis, and October 13 at the University of Arizona), you might spread the word: President Bush has never lost a debate. His priorities are awful, but his aw-shucks debating style is killer.

It would be terrific if Senator Kerry could hold his own against this champion debater.

But even if he can’t, folks should ignore that and put their own self-interest first. However formidable President Bush’s debating skills, his priorities are just awful for most Americans – dramatic tax cuts for people with million-dollar incomes but insufficient body armor to protect our troops . . . dramatic tax cuts for people with million-dollar incomes but cutbacks in after school programs for at-risk kids . . . dramatic tax cuts for people with million-dollar incomes but no meaningful health care aid to the sick and the elderly.

It’s terrific that Bush names Jesus as his favorite philosopher. Jesus was an amazing teacher. But what exactly did President Bush learn from Jesus? Would Jesus have shifted trillions of dollars of resources from the meek to the most powerful? Would he have abandoned so many of our treaties? Gone about Iraq in the same way?

No one can know for sure, so I say . . . just vote your own self interest. John Kerry and John Edwards will keep all the tax cuts for income up to $200,000 – and plan to cut taxes further for 98% of taxpayers. So if that’s you, vote Kerry/Edwards. If, on the other hand, your annual income significantly exceeds $200,000 . . . and taxes are your only issue . . . vote Bush.

Given his debating prowess and giant war chest and, mainly, his willingness to mislead (you will recall that in 2000, he looked into the camera and said, ‘by far, the vast majority of the help [from my proposed tax cut] goes to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder’), those of us rooting for Kerry/Edwards have our work cut out for us.

If you can, make time to see what Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards and, especially, of course, John Kerry had to say in Boston last week.


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