Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Elephants in NYC IV: Stand and Deliver

We've reached the final night of the Republican Convention and President Bush's acceptance speech. Before he spoke, Gov. Pataki introduced the president with a slightly above average speech, one that did include a great line.

This is a candidate who has to Google his own name to find out where he stands.

I still find it difficult to imagine Pataki as a national candidate, but stranger things have happened. I found the video introduction to Bush to be a bit too much like a Disney movie about a boy and his dog. However, the closing piece on Bush's appearance at Yankee Stadium following 9/11 was a perfect conclusion and one that I fell for completely. I remember watching the moment with Ben together, so relieved to have a World Series to watch and discuss instead of the unrelenting news that featured far too many sirens and screams. And I remember being nearly overwhelmed at the sight of 55,000 New Yorkers chanting "USA" as the president stood on the mound. I won't forget the sense that whatever we as a nation faced, we would rise above.

I though Bush's speech was nearly perfect. Compared to Kerry's acceptance speech, it was a remarkable achievement. Bush gave the best performance of his political life. He paced himself perfectly, never seemed rushed, and his body language was relaxed and confident.

The speech itself was very well structured and lacked any terribly embarrassing moments that will seem out of place in the months ahead. The overall theme, that this will be liberty's century, was terrific. It encompassed both his domestic policy, focusing on the creation of an ownership society in the areas of health care, retirement, jobs and housing, and his foreign policy, focusing on terrorism and Iraq. The domestic policy section was a bit too similar to a State of the Union speech in my opinion, but without it I'm sure there would be criticism about the lack of details.

Bush contrasted his record with that of Kerry at different junctions in the speech, making short, direct points without falling into a larger attack. The recurring theme was "You know where I stand," which even his critics would concede and directly confronts one of Kerry's greatest weaknesses. Overall, a job well done.