Where's The... Where's The Anything?

Dan Froomkin puts together a partial list of things not addressed by George Bush last night: No beef...or veggies, or fruits, or starches either. Whe

Dan Froomkin puts together a partial list of things not addressed by George Bush last night: No beef...or veggies, or fruits, or starches either.

Where's the Agenda? (washingtonpost.com): "Tonight," President Bush said at the top of his hour-long convention speech last night, "I will tell you where I stand, what I believe and where I will lead this country in the next four years." Not much luck on that last part.... [I]n substance, there was essentially nothing new last night, no detailed agenda... vague on the big stuff and otherwise small-bore. He didn't address the job losses that have plagued his tenure.... [On] Iraq, Bush defended his actions, but didn't describe a way out. Standing accused of having fudged the connection between the war on terror and the war on Iraq, he continued his attempt to conflate the two, without substantiation, leaving unclear where we go from here....

From Milbank and Allen: "The speech dealt lightly with some of the more vexing issues facing the Bush campaign. The president dealt only briefly with jobs and the economy, and the Democratic National Committee was quick to point out that he made no reference to Iran, North Korea or Osama bin Laden. The speech continued the efforts of other convention speakers -- whose remarks were vetted or written by the Bush-Cheney campaign -- to conflate the war in Iraq, which is generally unpopular, with the war on terrorism..."

From Balz: "Nowhere did he confront directly what he has heard along the campaign trail in battleground states such as Ohio and Michigan, which is the loss of jobs during his presidency and uneven economic recovery that casts a shadow over his hopes for reelection. . . . "Bush also did not confront the enormous fiscal problem that has been created during his presidency, an explosion of the deficit brought about by recession, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the massive tax cuts he pushed and promoted even as he dramatically boosted spending on defense and homeland security."

From Tom Shales in The Washington Post: "Bush, however, did not address his own recent flip-flop on whether the war on terrorism is winnable."


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From Nagourney and Stevenson: "[T]here was one notable omission from Mr. Bush's speech. The president made no mention of the foreign figure who arguably most influenced his first term in the White House: Osama bin Laden, the yet-to-be-captured leader of Al Qaeda."

From Fournier: "He didn't mention Kerry's combat service in the Vietnam War or his rivals anti-war protests, issues that have dominate the political debate the past month. "

Todd S. Purdum... Bush "offered few critical details of the second-term domestic agenda he outlined. His big policy ideas -- restraining government spending, simplifying the tax code, offering tax credits for health savings accounts, allowing personal investment accounts for Social Security -- were vague. And the specific proposals he cited -- increasing money for community colleges, opening rural health centers -- were mostly small. . .

From AFP: "Bush's speech was as notable for what was not in it: He did not mention the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction he cited as the reason for the war in Iraq, which has eroded US credibility. . . .

"Bush offered no new details on when the roughly 130,000 US troops in Iraq or their comrades in Afghanistan might return home, saying only that their goal was to help both war-torn nations 'get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible.' "Todd S. Purdum... Bush "offered few critical details of the second-term domestic agenda he outlined. His big policy ideas -- restraining government spending, simplifying the tax code, offering tax credits for health savings accounts, allowing personal investment accounts for Social Security -- were vague. And the specific proposals he cited -- increasing money for community colleges, opening rural health centers -- were mostly small. . . .

John Tierney and Sheryl Gay Stolberg write in the New York Times: "The Walter Mondale Where's-the-Beef Award [goes to]: George W. Bush, who told the conventioneers, 'Anyone who wants more details on my agenda can find them online.' Ever the wonks, we followed the directions to georgewbush.com, seeking the details of the crowd-pleasing promise in his speech to 'lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code.' Here's all we found: 'President Bush will work with Congress to make the tax code simpler for taxpayers, encourage saving and investment, and improve the economy's ability to create jobs and raise wages.' "...

Los Angeles Times: "His well-written speech would have been more convincing if he had not actually been president for the last four years."...

From Howard Kurtz on (washingtonpost.com) "There was, you might have noticed, no mention of the nearly half-trillion-dollar budget deficit."

Unfogged: ...guess what word—other than "a," "and," and "the"—occurs most fr frequently in the acceptance speech George W. Bush delivered tonight. The word is "will." It appears 76 times. This was a speech all about what Bush will do, and what will happen, if he becomes president.

Except he already is president. He already ran this campaign. He promised great things. They haven't happened. So, he's trying to go back in time. He wants you to see in him the potential you saw four years ago. He can't show you the things he promised, so he asks you to envision them. He asks you to be "optimistic." He asks you to have faith.

My favorite moment was when Bush touted the No Child Left Behind Act. No more social promotion, he promised. "We are transforming our schools by raising standards and focusing on results. We are insisting on accountability." Wasn't this speech, full of unfulfilled promises and appeals to good character, basically a plea for social promotion? Isn't that the message of the entire Bush campaign? Shouldn't the president have to show results, too?

Number of times the following words/phrases (or variants) were uttered in George W. Bush's acceptance speech Thursday night:

  • Deficit: 0
  • Unemployment: 0
  • Balanced Budget: 0
  • Surplus: 0
  • Blue Skies Initiative: 0
  • Intelligence Failures: 0
  • Gay/Homosexual: 0
  • Estate Tax: 0
  • Corporate Fraud: 0
  • Elderly: 0
  • Prosperity: 0
  • Investigation: 0
  • Commission (any commission): 0
  • Osama Bin-Laden: 0
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction: 1*

* "We knew Saddam Hussein's record of aggression and support for terror. We knew his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction. And we know that Sept. 11 requires our country to think differently." [The 9-11 Commission reported 'no credible evidence' linking 9-11 and Saddam - Ed.]

And, for the record, here are a few other things he didn't mention:
• The prison abuse scandal or allegations of torture in IIraq.

• His proposed mission to Mars.

• The value, past or future, of having a Republican-contrrolled Congress.

• His "miscalculation" in Iraq.

• A headcount of the dead in Iraq.

To be fair, one should note that Bush was very resolute in his refusal to address any of these things. The only problem, really, with the president's big speech was that the policies he's actually pursuing bear little resemblance to the policies he was talking about, the candidate he's actually running against bears little resemblance to the candidate he was talking about, and the world he's actually living in bears little resemblance to the the world he was talking about.

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