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PBS Pundits: Pressure Is on Republicans to Hold Positive Convention

Reported by Marie Therese - July 30, 2004 -

At the end of John Kerry's speech, David Brooks, conservative columnist for the NYT and election commentator for PBS, summed it up really well:

BROOKS: "It was a very good speech, one of the best I've ever seen him give, almost a Republican speech in many ways....a Teddy Roosevelt speech.....he's had a good convention. We can say that now."

SHIELDS: "John Kerry had to give the speech of his life and he did....It's a speech you could not tell, if you read it, whether the speech was given by a Democrat or a Republican."

Later:

SHIELDS: "I think the gauntlet has been thrown down by this Convention. I mean, this Convention, whatever one says about it, was not Bush bashing. I mean, there was criticism of policy, yes, there were a few references to Halliburton and Enron and tax cuts, but it was not the Bush bashing that the Republicans complained about in the Democratic primaries. If New York turns into Kerry bashing, then I think they could run the risk of really losing - the Republicans could - of losing their chance of winning those swing votes."

Still later, when asked by Jim Lehrer if this would lay to rest any question of whether or not the Dems were patriotic, David Brooks responded:

BROOKS: "...I frankly don't think that many people were challenging Democrats and saying they were unpatriotic. Nonetheless, [since 1971] Democrats couldn't speak as comfortably about it...I think what you saw was a Democratic party very comfortable speaking in nationalistic language...and that sort of evens the playing field in terms of values, in terms of what used to be called 'the culture war'."

COMMENT: Amen to that, David Brooks. The Democrats have set the bar really high for the Republicans.