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Conventional Wisdom

How the Democrats are doing so far.

12:00 PM, Jul 28, 2004 • By MIKE MURPHY
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Most notably, Tuesday night was the big solo televised unveiling of quirky
lady Teresa Heinz Kerry. While both the media sisterhood and the
all-powerful women with expensive hair highlights and quality accessories
wing of the Democratic party will surely embrace Heinz Kerry's speech and
breathlessly certify her as a wonderful and refreshing new plus to the
Kerry-Edwards campaign, I'm unconvinced. And judging from the stony looks on
the faces of various male Democratic fuglemen on the floor as they listened
to her, I am not sure those grizzled party mechanics are so persuaded
either. They have to sell this act in Cleveland. To me, Heinz Kerry's speech
seemed spacey and self-indulgent and I was stuck by the glassy eyes of a
dogmatic and inflexible mind. Trying to follow her speech, I got the feeling
she was careening around the outer zip codes of loony leftism, sorely
tempted by nature to roar right up to the unvarnished corner of Blood for
Oil, Halliburton Conspiracy, and Enviro-extremism, but wise enough instead
to veer safely off toward a less scary neighborhood of focus group-driven
Democratic boilerplate clearly tacked on her remarks by a nervous Kerry
speechwriting staff. I did get a bit lost in space during Heinz Kerry's
litany of NASA probe missions to various outer planets, and her repeated
references to her father being unable to vote in Mozambique's African
dictatorship left me wondering if her father's being unable to help
determine the course of Mozambique might have provoked protest howls about
European colonialism at a less rigged Democratic gathering--but like Heinz
Kerry, I wander and digress.

I must admit I was depressed watching all this because the whole show was
quite effective at making the dishonest arguments that increasingly rule

American politics. Plus, the Democrats are at their campaign best when they
fake it and pretend to be Republicans. Most of all, in the face of the
president's flat-footed reelection effort and the Democrats' increasingly
effective campaign, it is becoming more and more apparent that these
illusionists might very well win and that is a depressing thought indeed.

Mike Murphy is a political and media consultant.