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Thursday, Aug 28, 2008, 11:22 am

John Kerry?  Is that you?

By Jarrett Dapier
Gotta say - I greatly enjoyed John Kerry's speech last night. It was a complete transformation from '04. Here was an obviously intelligent man who was angry, sick of it all, and determined not to let Republicans win. He spoke with passion and conviction and rarely stuttered. Nor did he seem afraid of how his delivery would be "interpreted."

So, that makes three formerly wooden politicians - Hillary, Kerry, and Gore - who, unfettered by the shackles of the Democratic campaign strategists around them, unfettered by the self-consciousness that so accursed their campaigns, found their convictions and voices and can now speak from their hearts. And they grabbed our attention with their freshness and honesty. Such a shame.



UPDATE: I've been reading that most networks cut away from Kerry's speech to their vacuous analyst jabberjaws sitting around various tables discussing nothing. (This was not the case with my local PBS affiliate where the DNC's been shown all week). Cutting away from a speech like this is downright irresponsible, risible, and a major shame. The total viewership should have been watching. He talks about ending torture, defending the constitution, and tears into John McCain for his battle cry - "Next stop - Baghdad!" - only a short time after 9/11. It rocks. Check it out.

UPDATE II: Perhaps the fact that Obama tapped John Kerry to speak at the convention - knowing he would say what he did - proves Obama does know how to fight, but that he is more adept, savvy, and artfulabout it than we know. Ever since the race speech he gave in Philadelphia I've contended that he is always 2 of 3 steps ahead of the analysts, pundits, and public. Perhaps what's most important is that he surrounds himself with people who know how to fight and he lets them loose. I never would have thought of John Kerry as one of those people until last night...

Jarrett Dapier is a former assistant publisher at In These Times. Previous work for ITT includes interviews with playwright Christopher Shinn and Fugazi guitarist, Ian Mackaye. He currently works with teens at the Evanston Public Library where he runs a recycled drumming program and directs stage adaptations of young adult literature. He lives in Evanston, IL.

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