September 03, 2004
Badger State is Bush Country
The second stop for the President and First Lady after a successful GOP convention in NYC was at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, WI just next door to Milwaukee. At the rally the President proudly accepted the endorsements of both the Milwaukee Firefighters union and the Milwaukee Police union. National unions may be backing Kerry, but there are some grassroots groups with the courage to defy the groupthink. Bush also took a jab at John Kerry for mangling Lambeau Field.
Bush's speech repeated many of the lines and most of the themes from last night's acceptance speech. If you heard him last night you weren't surprised with what he said today. What was different was the ratio between domestic and foreign policy was almost 50/50. That seemed like more emphasis on his domestic agenda than in his acceptance speech. Some of it had to do with today's release of new jobs data showing 144,000 new jobs were created in August which marked a full year of monthly job growth. Adjustments to the June and July figures show 59,000 additional new jobs were created in those two months. [You Big Mouth, You! has lots of jobs charts to see what progress has been made.] He talked about medical savings accounts and partial privatization of Social Security--dressed up in compassionate conservative rhetoric. He only offered a few sentences about education.
On foreign policy, Bush spoke of his administration's accomplishments in the Islamist War. Afghanistan and Iraq are free from oppressive rulers with national elections to take place in months. Al Qaeda is on the run and being destroyed. Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq by giving his audience the context of his decision. The world knew the awful history of Saddam's Iraq. The world thought he still had WMD--that's why U.N. sanctions were still in place. Given the Sep. 11 attacks a policy of reacting to threats instead of being proactive meant more Americans would probably die. President Bush weighed all this and determined that Saddam had to go.
Bush couched the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan as means to long-term American security. Bush said that free nations are peaceful nations. The best chance for Americans to be safe from the Islamist threat is a relentless pursuit of liberty worldwide.
The blogospheric buzz about the West Allis event is whether some of the audience booed upon hearing news President Clinton was in the hospital. Before diving into his new stump speech the President asked us all to keep him and his family in our prayers. The exposition hall filled with polite claps, but I'm pretty sure I heard some boos. Not many, only a few. None can be heard on this audio clip, and Lisa didn't hear any either so maybe I was hearing things. Maybe it was the sound of those annoying thunder sticks. If there were boos shame on them!
I could bore you with talk of the other speakers, but they were either forgettable (Rep. Tom Petri) or just plain bad (State Treasurer Jack Voight). The star was President Bush, and he didn't leave anyone there disappointed.
Below the fold are some pics I took, and here are Lisa's.
UPDATE: Lisa bossed The Man (I like that nickname) around and helped a little old lady.
The lines were long to see the President. We had to wait hours.
Part of wait was because of the security. The Secret Service had to try out my new digital camera. Either he wanted to get one for himself, or he had to make sure it was what it was.
Laura introduces her husband.
The Man himself.