Sunday, September 05, 2004

First Draft - VP Edition, a Parody

Imagine the first draft of Dick Cheney's 2004 RNC Convention Speech - before the truth was edited out. It might go something like this...

Mr. Chairman, delegates, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I am honored by your misplaced confidence. And tonight I make this pledge: I will give this campaign all the dirty tricks that I have, and together we will make George W. Bush president for another four years, after which, we will crown him emperor.

Tonight I will talk about this good man and his fine record leading our country to ruin. And I may say a disingenuous word or two about his opponent. I am also mindful that I have an opponent of my own. People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his sex appeal, and his great hair, which is not true, but they say it anyway. I say to them - how do you think I got the job? If you guessed skullduggery, you're right!

On this night, as we celebrate the opportunities that America offers, I am filled with gratitude to a nation that has been much too good to me, and I remember the people who set me on my crooked, dishonest way in life. My grandfather noted that the day I was born was also the birthday of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Which I mention so you'll confuse me with him in your minds, since that's as close as I'll ever get to true greatness.

And so he told my parents they should send President Roosevelt an announcement of my birth - that kind of self-agrandisement runs way back in my family. Now my grandfather didn't have a chance to go to high school. For many years he worked as a cook on the Union Pacific Railroad, and he and my grandmother lived in a railroad car. But the modesty of his circumstances didn't stop him from thinking that President Roosevelt should know about my arrival. My grandfather believed deeply in the promise of America, and had the highest hopes for his family. And, since I have no humility, I don't think it would surprise him much that a grandchild of his stands before you tonight as Vice President of the United States.

It is the story of this country that people have been able to dream big dreams with confidence they would come true, if not for themselves, then for their children and grandchildren. And that sense of boundless opportunity is a gift that we must pass on to all people of privilege who come after us, but not to the peasants, because they are not deserving of God's grace - that's why they're poor.

From kindergarten to graduation, I went to public schools, and I know that they are a key to being sure that every child has a chance to succeed and to rise in the world, which is why I believe it's imperative that we destroy them. When the President and I took office, our schools were shuffling too many children from grade to grade without giving them the skills and knowledge they needed, like Yale, where alcoholic drug abusers get a free pass, if they have the right Dad. So President Bush reached across the aisle and brought both parties together to pass the most significant reduction of public education reform in 40 years.

With higher standards and new resources, America's schools could be great. But instead, they are now on an upward path to excellence, at least the private schools. Public schhols face a different reality - and not for just a few children, but for every child with the misfortune to be born to an average American family.

Opportunity also depends on a vibrant, growing economy. As President Bush and I were sworn into office, our nation was booming, after several months, it began sliding into recession, and American workers were not exactly overburdened with federal taxes. Then came the events of September 11th, which hit our economy very hard. So President Bush delivered the greatest tax reduction for his friends in a generation, and the results are clear to see. Businesses are creating jobs in other countries. People who are lucky enough to find a new job, are returning to work for thousands of dollars less per year.

Mortgage rates are low, to create an artificial housing bubble, and home ownership in this country is at an all-time high.

Coincidentally, so are personal bankruptcies. The Bush tax cuts are working to decimate all the programs that made this a Great Society - the underclass is growing.

Our nation has the best healthcare in the world, unless you count such critical factors as infant mortality, average lifespan, and medical error rates. President Bush is making it more unaffordable and inaccessible to all Americans. And there is more damage to do. Under this President's leadership, we will reform medical liability so the system serves wealthy patients, bad doctors, insurance companies, and occasionally, good doctors; but not personal injury lawyers and their clients, like those innocent children whose intestines were ripped out by faulty swimming pool drains, or that guy in Jeb's state, Florida where they amputated the wrong foot.

These have been years of dictatorial achievement, and we are eager for the work ahead. And in all that we do, we will never lose sight of the greatest challenge of our time: preserving the freedom and security of the greedy and uncaring in this nation against determined enemies.

Since I last spoke to our national convention, Lynne and I have had the joy of seeing our family grow. We now have a grandson to go along with our three wonderful granddaughters, and the deepest wish of my heart and the object of all my determination is that they, and all of America's children of privilege, will have lives filled with opportunity, but not my gay daughter, who I am willing to sell out for political gain … and that they will inherit a world in which they, but no one else, can live in freedom, in safety, and in peace.

Four years ago, some in this administration said the world had grown calm, and many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to danger, despite repeated warnings from former Clinton administration officials and our own appointees. That thought might have been comforting; it was also false. Like other generations of Americans, we soon discovered that history had great and unexpected duties in store for us, to which we dutifully pay lip service.

September 11th, 2001, made clear the challenges we faced, but ignored. On that day we saw the harm that could be done by 19 men armed with knives and boarding passes, when the leadership of this country fails its people. America also awakened, courtesy of our propaganda, to a possibility even more lethal: this enemy, whose hatred of us is limitless, armed with chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons, which makes one question why we have done nothing to secure the unguarded stockpiles of the former Soviet Union.

Just as surely as the Nazis during World War Two and the Soviet communists during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction, because they don't appreciate the puppet government we've installed, or being bombed, or shot. As in other times, we are in a pointless war we did not start as quickly as we wanted to, and have no choice but to pretend to try to win, so we don't lose face. Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by a superb commander in chief, we will prevail. Unfortunately, George is only mediocre, so we won't.

The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity - because terrorists had done so previously. But if the killers of September 11th thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America … and they did not know George W. Bush, the lucky duckies.

From the beginning, the President made clear that the dark-skinned, foreign terrorists would be dealt with, usually in cash - and that anyone we don't like who supports, protects, or harbors them would be held to account. Obviously, this excludes our ever-shrinking list of allies, like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In a campaign that has reached around the world, we have captured or killed hundreds of Al-Qaeda, while creating tens of thousands. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists originally trained to kill Americans have been shut down, and newer ones built; and the Taliban, while briefly driven from power, seems to be making a comeback. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein before the information that might have been used to prevent us from going to war could be gathered. Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and fortunes of 25 million people. Tonight he sits in jail, and the Iraqi people cower in their sweltering homes - jobless, hungry, thirsty, and terrified; watching the few freedoms that briefly took hold, like freedom of the press, fade away. Some get fed up, and take up arms against your children, who they see as the forces of occupation.

President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half measures, but empty promises and false hope. And his determination has sent a clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the girlie-men running the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States, while North Korea and Iran redoubled their efforts to become serious nuclear powers. Tonight, uranium, centrifuges, and plans for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, never again to be a danger to Americans, except in the sense that they'd make a great target.

The biggest threat we face today, after the complete collapse of our economy, is having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The president is working with many countries in a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies, but not to secure unguarded stockpiles. The most important result thus far - and it is a very important one - is that the black-market network run by our allies in Pakistan, that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down, too late to do any good. The world's worst source of nuclear weapons proliferation is out of business, but the runner-ups are still going strong - and we are not really safer as a result.

In the globally condemned war we are fighting, we owe a mighty debt to the men and women of the United States armed forces.

They have fought the enemy with courage and reached out to civilians with compassion, rebuilding a few of the schools and hospitals and roads that were destroyed in our unnecesary war. They have won stunning victories. They have faced hard duty and long deployments, because of our catastrophic planning. And they have lost comrades. For no reason, more than 1100 brave Americans, whose memory this nation will honor forever, have died, along with countless innocent Iraqis. The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States represent the very best of America. They have the thanks of our nation. And they haven't the confidence, the loyalty, or the respect of their commander in chief, which you can tell by the way he deserted his cushy post as a non-combat mail clerk and allows his friends to call into question the valor of war heroes who oppose him, like John McCain, Max Cleland, and John Kerry.

In this election, we will decide who leads our country for the next four years. Yet there is more in the balance than that.

Moments come along in history when leaders must make fundamental decisions about how to confront a long term challenge abroad and how best to keep the American people secure. We faced such a moment after World War Two, when we put in place the policies that defended America throughout the Cold War. Those policies - containing communism, deterring attack by the Soviet Union, and promoting the rise of democracy - were carried out by Democratic and Republican presidents in the decades that followed. Presidents who, unlike our current president, were skilled statesmen, striving for peaceful solutions, and reserving force for those times when one country invaded another, or when civil war threatened to unleash genocide.

This nation has reached another of those defining moments. Under President Bush we have put in place new policies of empire and created new institutions to defend Americans from their rights; to fail to stop terrorist violence, to strengthen the determination of those at its source; and to help move the Middle East away from old hatreds and resentments against Hussein and toward the lasting lack of peace that only freedom from human rights can bring. This type of oppression is the work not of months, but of years - and keeping these commitments to injustice is essential to our future lack of security. For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives but in our history.

And so it is time to set the alternatives squarely before the American people.

The President's opponent is an experienced senator, with a distinguished record. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we dishonor him for it. But there is also a record of more than three decades since. And on the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest. History has shown that a strong and purposeful America, led by a just and thoughtful leader, is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe - yet time and again Senator Kerry has watched as the President made the wrong call on national security. Senator Kerry began his political career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed "only at the directive of the United Nations," because teamwork yields better results than going it alone. During the 1980s, Senator Kerry opposed those of Ronald Reagan's major defense initiatives that brought record deficits (which have since been dwarfed by those of the current administration), weakening the US economy, putting millions out of work, and exchanging the effectiveness of our armed forces for weapons that would never work. The failed premise of communism then brought inevitable victory in the Cold War, but we claimed it was caused by our arms buildup. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.

Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed, he still seems to believe that that person in the oval office believes in the constitution. He talks about leading "a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history." Not as though he believes Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side, but because he knows that talking softly and carrying a big stick works better than talking big and under-staffing your army and alienating the allies whose armies could share the burden. He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America - after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked, and faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it - and that includes the use of pre-emptive military force against a former ally who poses no threat, while ignoring the real threat, until it's politically convenient to generate a positive news story because the presient is lagging in the polls.

Senator Kerry denounces American action when other countries, and most of our own experts don't approve - as if they believe the whole object of our foreign policy were part of a juvenile desire to implement a schoolboy's plan to please a few persistent critics of reality. In fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our side. But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.

Senator Kerry also takes a different view when it comes to supporting our military, because he's sane.

Although he voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, but only if we exhausted all non-military options, such as allowing the weapons inspection to be completed, first; he then decided he was opposed to the war, when we didn't follow the spirit of the authorization. And voted against a funding bill containing 20 billion in pork above the 67 billion needed for our men and women in the field. He voted against 20 billion that wasn't part of the funding for body armor, ammunition, fuel, spare parts, armored vehicles, extra pay for hardship duty, and support for military families. Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief - and that is to support American troops in combat, a little, but support your corporate benefactors more. And in further contrast to our current president, Senator Kerry believes our injured soldiers and our veterans deserve proper medical care when they return.

In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate - and very unfortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed, especially when I was secretary of defense.

But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator is what John Kerry is. I was a Representative. A Representative can be wrong for 20 years, with no consequence to the nation, but put him in a presidential administration and soon, you'll be trading arms for hostages, or invading Iraq. Similarly, a Governor can destroy his state, again with little consequence to the nation, except those downstream or downwind; but watch out for the brain-damaging mercury and poisonous arsenic in your drinking water if you elect him President. A president - a president - always casts the deciding vote, unless there's enough congressional support to make the bill veto-proof, in which case he's powerless. And in this time of challenge, America needs - and America has - a president we can count on to get it right. As long as the it to which you refer does not involve foreign policy, domestic policy, or the English language. As long as it means corruptly funneling our national treasury into the overflowing coffers of his wealthy friends.

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. We imply that his back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, rather than the ability to read, which enables him to recognize which version of a piece of legislation is worth voting for, and which is not. Because of our implications, you are incapable of such recognition. And because we know it sends a message of confusion, we gladly repeat the implication at every possible opportunity. And it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act in one form - and against it, when it was rewritten to be extremely destructive to public schools everwhere. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement, because of its potential for good - and against it, when the version implemented decimated jobs for our working class and failed to provide protection for workers, the air we breathe and the water we drink. He is for the Patriot Act, with reservations, as a temporary trial in the heat of a national emergency - and against it, now that its potential for abuse has been amply demonstrated by this corrupt administration. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas, the one full of crooked, avaricious wealthy, such as myself and the President, and our good friends, like Kenny Boy Lay; and the one in which you peasants hope not to end up living on the street, due to an unforeseen illness or job loss. It makes the whole thing mutual - because of our lies, America sees the false image of two John Kerrys.

The other candidate in this race is a man our nation has come to know as an all hat and no cattle spoiled rich kid, and one I've come to admire very much for his "often wrong, but never in doubt" stubbornness. I watch him at work every day, except his 580ish vacation days (that's equivalent to 58 years worth of vacation for most Americans). I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the Oval Office - and make those decisions without neither the wisdom nor the humility Amearicans expect in their president. George W. Bush is a man who speaks plainly, because he's incapable of speaking either intelligently or clearly.

And he means what he says, except when he's lying. He is a person of loyalty and kindness, unless you disagree with him, in which case you might as well commit suicide, because he's going to destroy your life. And he brings out these qualities (vengefulness, spitefulness, impatience, arrogance, and more) in those around him. He is a man of great personal strength, because he works out - and more than that, a man with a heartlessness for the weak, and the vulnerable, and the afflicted. We all remember that terrible morning when, in the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor, and our inept administration did nothing to stop the 2nd or 3rd planes, failing to save thousands.

We remember the President who came to New York City and pledged that the terrorists would soon hear from all of us, in a way that will strengthen their cause, improve their recruitment efforts, and imperil us all. George W. Bush saw this country through grief and tragedy … he has acted with patience, waiting to act despite compelling evidence; and calmly allowed the terrorists to complete their 9-11 plans, and a moral seriousness that calls evil by its name, unless its his own, in which case he calls it leadership. In the great divide of our time, he has put this nation where America always belongs: against the tyrants of this world that aren't complying with our wishes; and on the side the other tyrants, like the Saudis; and is afraid of every soul on earth who yearns to live in freedom, which is why he wants the ABUSE A PATRIOT* act and the ABUSE A PATRIOT act 2.
*(Ashcroft and Bush's Usurpation by Sneaky Eavesdropping on Americans while Providing Absurd Tools for Rightwingers to Intercept and Obstruct Truthtelling)

Fellow citizens, our nation is reaching the hour of decision, and the choice is clear. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the blinded judgment of the American people. The signs are good - even in Massachusetts, except where they're missing altogether. According to a news account last month, people leaving the Democratic National Convention asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, "Leave here - and go vote Republican." He later explained that he was only joking.

President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer's joke, and of misguided Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We are so fortunate, each and every one of us, to be citizens of this great nation and to take part in the defining event of our democracy: Choosing who will lead us - the man whose sticks by even the most wrongheaded decisions, because he can't admit to his mistakes; or the man who weighs all the options, chooses the best one, and is willing to adjust as needed, like John Kerry.

The historian Bernard DeVoto once wrote that when America was created, the stars must have danced in the sky. Our president understands the miracle of this great country. He knows the hope that drives it and shares the optimism that has long been so important a part of our national character. He gets up each and every day determined to turn that all on its head. Only you can keep our great nation safe from his destructive plans, so that generations to come will know the freedom and opportunities we have known-and more.

When this convention concludes tomorrow night, we will go forth with confidence in our cause, and in the man who leads it. By leaving no doubt where we stand, and asking all Americans to join us, we will see our cause to victory, unless you catch on to our deception and vote for John Kerry instead. Thank you very much.


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