Convention speeches

Was troubled to hear this morning, during coverage of the Democratic National Convention, that all of the speakers had been prohibited from directly attacking President Bush.

On the one hand, I could see not wanting to turn the convention into a Bush-bashing fest, which would be easy to do and would indeed be harmful come election-time.

On the other hand, it feels like yet another refusal to take on issues that matters head-on. Bush has done horrid things for this country; why shouldn’t candidates be saying so, over and over again, with conviction and without apology? People are dying overseas in a war that looks less and less necessary all the time; security measures here are eroding civil liberties without making anyone safer. Why not say so?

The answer seems to have to do with undecided voters who might get alienated if the Dems speak out too strongly against Bush. (Who are these people who care more about their personal economic well-being than about the deaths their country is responsible for?) But inspiring those voters who are already quite decided to get out to the polls matters, too. By all statistical indicators, the 2000 election was a tie. As far as I can tell, the country is still split pretty evenly on many issues. The 2004 election will depend, in large part, on who shows up to vote.

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