My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.
He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.
In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.
Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.
John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."
The press got bored with the lack of Democrat rebuttal last night, and decided to get their serve on. I give you: the adventures of Zell Miller, wherein he wishes that duels were still in fashion so he could kill a journalist. Plus it turns out that Dick Cheney as Defense Secretary, also opposed several of the military programmes that were mentioned in last night's speech.
Oh, and Mary Cheney is at the Convention. But was conspicuously absent from the family stage get-together at the end of last night.
If you're looking for baseless rumours, the word is that the reason that nobody has been making any policy statements this week is because the GOP has found their magic bullet. They really are going to dismantle the IRS, and replace general taxation with a flat tax. At this point, I still have some hope that someone in the Republican Party has the sense not to throw the country away, not to decimate people's savings, and not to destabilise the US Treasury. It sounds great (NO MORE TAXES!) except it turns out that the rich, who tend to spend less as a percentage of their income, end up paying less tax. By a considerable margin. On the other hand, the current Administration likes those types of tax cuts.
Uh? What is this line-up? A bunch of Olympic medallists (that'll go down well with the IOC), Michael Williams, the Governor of New York and Bush? Is that it? An intriguing change from this conventions ten-minute speeches, I feel.
Courtesy of Bonnie Queen of The Couch (All hail her Iron Fist that controls the Remote!), I've learnt that Kerry will be holding a rally in Ohio immediately after Bush's speech tonight. Which might explain why Democrats have been a lesser-spotted affair this week.
Incidentally — I know celebrity endorsements are not the best way to chose a candidate, but this picture is Cool:
Here come the Olympians and football players! Because, er, well, the Right likes celebrity endorsements when it gets them, despite decrying the Liberal Hollywood Bias.
Hmm. There's just stopped singing. What's going on? Laura Bush is coming back. Only she's not. She's standing in the crowd waving. That was pointless.
And now the military. Is there anyone below General on the stage? Here's Tommy Franks. Getting a rousing reception. They really are praising FDR this week. Considering he was the great liberal president of the last century, it seems a little strange (but obviously not - they're trying to associate Bush with the war-time image). "We've taken the fight to the terrorists!" And some other people who got in the way. "Some people think we should retreat to a defensive position." I'd love to meet these people, because they're not represented by either the Democrat or Republican platforms. By the way, been outside Kabul recently? I hear it's quite nice. Aww, we've just been thanked for taking part in the Iraq invasion. Yes, and if you had bothered to listen to the inspectors, you might have realised that you wouldn't have found any nuclear weapons.
IT'S BARBARA BUSH! Giving support to the Bush Twins. And introducing a Twins-presented documentary on the Bush family. LOOK AT THE CUTE BABY BUSHES!
Call Martha Reeves. And The Vandellas. Dancing In The Street?. They're currently being taken away in zip-cuffs in the street, you know.
Ah, Michael Williams is the assistant organiser of the Convention. The "some of my best friends are black people!" speech.
Aha. Laura Bush lifted the spirits of Afghanistan women. Is it just me who finds that a little arrogant and insulting?
My God! PIERCE BUSH? They are just like the Kennedys! Only without the predilection for dying young.
Stephen Colbert! Hehe.
Oh, please. Does it really matter anymore about Cuba? I mean, I know Castro isn't a saint, not be any means. But there's far worse out there, and he's not doing you any harm.
AND NOW! THE YEARNING BALLAD! WITH TEARS! AMERICAN FLAGS! AND WESTLIFE SITTING ON CHAIRS!
And now the Governor of NY. Thanking everybody for their help on 9/11. Quite sweet, actually.
I've just read Bush's speech. As expected, he's left most of the attacks to the Vice-President OH GOD! PATAKI'S JUST MENTIONED BIN LADEN! In an attack on Clinton. For not protecting America, and blaming 9/11 on Bill. Wonderful. Of course, the 9/11 commission found that the Clinton Administration stopped the Millennium Attack.
Anyway, ignoring Pataki's shameless attempt to position himself for 2008, the Bush speech is fairly ordinary on paper; a few references to his difficulties in talking, promoting his achievements in the past four years, a big name-check for Blair, and a small section attacking Kerry on the same subjects (voting for and against bills and so forth), but nothing stirring.
Time for Bush. Another Law & Order actor introducing (Fred Thompson). Some more trading on 9/11 for the introductory video. Wow, he threw a ball with an armoured jacket. (yes yes, symbolism, but they made out like he single-handedly revived New York's spirit)
Huge applause. 'Four more years' And the speech itself. I suppose the thing with Bush is that your expectations are so low, anything that sounds coherent seems like an improvement. He is much better when talking from a script. Oh, and the flat tax thing isn't in the speech. He does mention reform and simplification of the code, would could be a hint, but the speech, like all speeches, is light on the details.
I really don't have much more to say, bar Bush turning into a Space Squirrel at the end. It ends with a whimper. But Kerry's coming up in an hour, and I might just hang around for that…
'activist judges', attacks on Hollywood, the marriage amendment. It's not a speech for undecided voters.
HEY! I'm on realplayer now - did people just try and rush the stage?
A resounding endorsement of democracy! Well, I suppose you do owe your presidency to voter fraud, after all…
Look, I know he acts like a Conservative, but Tony Blair really isn't your friend.
John? I like you and everything, but I don't think that worked…