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Subtle or Blistering?
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I caught part of Bill Clinton's speech last night. I'd heard they were going to "accentuate the positive", rather than bash the other party. Did they?

Here's the AP's take on the Clinton speech:

In keeping with the Democratic convention strategy of avoiding strong Bush-bashing, Clinton jabbed the Republicans sharply on the economy, tax cuts and corporate windfalls, while taking more subtle digs at the president himself.

Subtle? That wasn't really my impression from watching the speech. It wasn't the BBC's either:

Former US President Bill Clinton has fired up Democratic activists with a blistering attack on President George W Bush and fervent praise for John Kerry.

Other headlines indicate that Clinton "bashed" and "blasted" Bush.

Actually, reading the entire transcript, I think it was generally well-balanced...a good speech even if I disagree with most of it, especially bits like this:

On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that American should be run by the right people -- their people -- in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to.

Personally I'm getting sick of the "unilateral" canard. It's Michael Moore-like idiocy to call the Iraq War "unilateral", with countries like Britain, Spain, Australia, Italy, Japan, and Poland at our side (all, from what I understand, conveniently left out of Moore's film). There were 34 countries in the coalition of the first Gulf War. There were over 40 in the most recent. The United States overwhelmingly played the primary military role in both. You can say it was a minority against a majority, but it was not one against the rest of the world. That is a lie.

In the same breath, Clinton says:

They believe the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their economic, political and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on important matters like health care and retirement security.

Well, that's one way of putting it. Another is that for every dollar the government spends, only a fraction of it goes toward the actual goal, and that fiscal conservatives believe that, rather than "being left on their own", citizens should have the right to control their money, rather than being forced to pay it into bloated bureaucracies. They believe that the private sector can more cheaply and effectively provide for important matters such as health care and retirement security.

I'm all for ensuring that the basic needs of all Americans are met, and to that extent I agree with social welfare policies. But I don't believe in any such programs that are not needs-based. And Social Security, for example, is not. Social Security should be a welfare program for the elderly. I don't think the government should be in the business of planning for our retirement. They should be there to keep us from starving if we fail to properly plan for our retirement, or if catastrophe strikes.

This is another reason I could never be a Democrat. I agree with much of their social stances, but this view of government as a big, bloated daddy, not just meeting your basic needs, but planning for the well-being of those plenty capable of doing so for themselves...well, I think it's just bad policy.

Anyway, I've gone a bit far of field. Let me know what you thought of the Clinton speech.

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