Letter to the Editor
The Journal News
July 27, 2004
Even though I have generally disagreed with former President Jimmy Carter, I admired his speech as well crafted and his extensive interview with PBS's Jim Lehrer. As a consequence of that speech and interview, President Carter was questioned by David Brooks of the Times and Mark Shields. Both Brooks and Shields acted like professionals in stark contrast to that troglodyte Chris Matthews. Watching Matthews bait the Governor of Michigan was the ultimate example of tastelessness in reporting and interviewing. The story isn't Matthews ambition for the spotlight and his constant interrupting harangues, but what our political leaders have to say. For my money, I find his type of so-called throw-back to gonzo journalism repugnant. Whatever happened to civility and intelligent discourse?
But of course the highlight of this great evening was the appearance of that dynamic duo Hillary and Big Bill Clinton. Mrs. Clinton, a greatly admired US Senator from New York, who nationally is the most respected woman in America, framed the argument perfectly for the former President. She spoke from the heart about the need for unity in our politically fractured land. She talked eloquently about how 9/11 changed the political and social landscape of our country and how the present administration has squandered our world-wide capital in unilateral and divisive actions.
Of course former President Bill Clinton, who holds the unique position as one of the only surviving popular two-term Democratic Presidents in American history, held the convention in his hands. Bill Clinton is still dramatically admired and respected by most rank and file Democrats, and he was welcomed with uncommon appreciation by the collective throng of the party faithful. President Clinton did not disappoint the thousands who reveled at his feet. His metaphoric prose was Clintonesque at his best. He drew strong comparisons regarding the legacy that Bush inherited and the political and military morass we currently face. President Clinton was able, with his uncommon skill, to juxtapose John Kerry's heroic leadership in war and his domestic attributes as a fighter for social justice against the failed policies of the present incumbent. His characterization that brains and strength are not incompatible brought the house down.
All in all, the lead Democratic speakers of the evening, former Vice-President Al Gore, former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Hillary Clinton and the dynamic former President Bill Clinton set the theme for the rest of the convention; leadership with strength of inclusion at home and abroad. They all stressed the cost of this misdirected war, the unfairness of the Republican tax cuts, and the unfulfilled promises of the current administration. Are we better off after four years of the Cowboy from Crawford? The convention answered a resounding no a thousand times!
Richard J. Garfunkel