Moments after the President’s address, John Kerry took to defending himself and taking a few serious swats at his Republican foes. We may have just seen the waking of a campaigning giant. His speaking style still sapped a bit of the crowd energy created by the words of the man who often introduces him, John Edwards.
But for a moment I heard some serious life in that voice. I also heard some anger in those words. But the midnight press conference came off as a bit loose and off the cuff. It could have been better timed and more effective. Kerry can get away with it this time because the conference took place at a moment of emotion. What matters here is whether or not the Dems can get some serious discipline on these and the other words they choose.
“For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here’s my answer. I’m not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.
“The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I’ll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.
“Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation.
“Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you’re still on their payroll makes you unfit.
“That’s the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it’s not going to change. I believe it’s time to move America in a new direction. I believe it’s time to set a new course for America…”
Did Kerry become a Jedi Knight? Not quite. But he’ll have to face this fight now. It’s on.