Tuesday, September 07, 2004

First Draft – Zig-Zag Zell Edition, a Parody

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

Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller Family has been born: Four great grandchildren, which is entirely irrelevant, but I want you to like me.

Along with all the other members of our close-knit family -- they are my and Shirley's most precious possessions; not beings worthy of respect, but possessions. And I know that's how you’d feel about your family also, if you believed in keeping chattel, like me.

Like you, I think of their future, the promises and the perils they will face. Unlike you, I can use my influence to protect mine from the folly of this administration’s policies. Like you, I believe that the next four years will determine what kind of world they will grow up in. Unlike you, I don’t have to care. And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the warped vision, the maniacal willpower and, yes, the artificial backbone, which is why he walks like that; to best protect my family from countries that pose no threat, from their constitutional rights, and above all, from the French?

The clear answer to that question should worry you. Carl Rove has placed me in this hall with you tonight, because he couldn’t find anyone sane who would do it. For my family is more important than my party, and they threatened to challenge my family to a duel if I didn’t come here and read their script.

There is but one man to whom I am not willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush.

In the summer of 1940, I was an eight-year-old boy living in a remote little Appalachian valley. Our country was not yet at war but even we children knew that there were some crazy men across the ocean who would kill us if they could. President Roosevelt, in his speech that summer, told America "all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger." A danger that was not fictitious, unlike the so-called imminent threat from Iraq.

In 1940 Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee. And there is no better example of someone repealing their "private plans" than this good man. He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime draft, an unpopular idea at the time, just like now. But that won’t stop us from drafting your kids to fight an unnecessary war against a country that was, until we invaded it, well under control.

And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue, unlike President Bush. President Bush's mission is to get the press to focus on a partisan cat fight instead of the war, because his unwarranted invasion has been catastrophic. Mission accomplished.

Shortly before Wilkie died he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom", he would prefer the latter. George W. Bush would prefer the former.

Where are such statesmen today? Where is the bi-partisanship in this country when we need it most? You might try asking the republicans, who will go so far as to extend a vote deadline until they can sufficiently browbeat any bipartisans in their party into toeing the partisan line. Republicans don’t believe in “bi,” in either their partisan or their families.

Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq for no reason, and in the mountains of Afghanistan, because we pulled their brethren over to Iraq; our nation is being torn apart and made weaker by George Bush’s policies, not because of the Democrat's romanic and well-justified obsession to bring down our insane Commander-in-Chief.

What has happened to the Republican party I've spent my life working in, as opposed to the Democratic party I pretend to belong to?

I can remember when Democrats and Republicans believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny, not to preemptively attack a country just because someday that country could pose a threat to some country somewhere, but probably not the USA. Now it’s just the Democrats.

It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, because they had invaded Iran; who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city. It was President Bush who took our troops out of Afghanistan, where the terrorists were hiding, and attacked Iraq, who wasn’t doing squat, having had its army and weapons programs destroyed by the first Iraq war and subsequent sanctions.

Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today, when the Democrats wanted to focus on the threat, but the Republicans wanted to play empire.

Slow learners, motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, the Republicans don’t “get” why today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator. And nothing makes this irrational former Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators, even if we are occupiers.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers, and they’ll agree that this time we are occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers. They’ll agree that this time we are occupiers who have endangered them like never before by causing North Korea to redouble their efforts to become a serious nuclear threat.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers, which is entirely unrelated to their freedom, since Reagan sent no troops to make that happen. They, also, would agree that this time, we’re occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier, and the French resistance, and the British who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy and throughout Europe. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home, especially when we work with our allies to ensure that the numbers of troops are sufficient to prevent insurgency, and when we fully staff our police departments and hospitals.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is not the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press, but our Constitution. It is not the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech, but our Constituion. It is not the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest, but our Constitution. It is the not soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag, but our Constitution.

No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home, except when our soldiers have been misused in a crazy empirical occupation, in which case he should consider them occupiers. No one should be Commander in Chief who won’t listen to his own military advisers, preferring his civilian friends and their “cooked” intelligence. No one should be Commander in Chief who does not believe in the fundamental rights bestowed by our Constitution, for all our citizens at all times.

But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. Unlike the Republicans, who in their warped way of thinking, believe that American dissent and any other country that poses no threat to us is the problem, not the solution.

They don't believe there is any real danger in the world from Iraq, well, at least there wasn’t, except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy. And they are right.

It is not their patriotism – with the Republicans, it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter's pacifism would not lead to peace. They were wrong, but they were so determined to prevent peace that they did everything they could to sabotage its chances in the world, including selling to Iraq the very arms that were used against our troops and the very WMDs Hussein used against his own people; selling to Iran the arms they are preparing to use against us should we invade them, too.

They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would not lead to war. Luckily, the Soviet economy was in such bad shape, the country was dissolving of its own weight, so they were wrong, but not because of the buildup.

And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two lazy, spoiled, unthinking rich kids running the country: George Bush and Dick Cheney, unlike the two hard working, dedicated Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that Dick Cheney opposed, even though we had won the Cold War, and these systems were no longer needed. And now the President claims we are winning the War on Terror, even though, before we invaded Iraq, it was a secular country whose crazed Muslim fanatics were under control, where a year ago, there were only 5,000 insurgents; and where now, there are approximately 20,000 insurgents, despite the thousands we have killed or captured, and the number is growing.

Listing all the weapon systems that Dick Cheney, along with his colleague Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security, but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Dick Cheney and Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40% of the bombs in the first six months of the unnecessary Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) renamed from Operation Iraq Liberation (OIL), because it was too obvious.

The B-2 bomber, that Dick Cheney and Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and, unnecessarily, Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Dick Cheney and Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadafi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Dick Cheney and Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Dick Cheney and Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Dick Cheney and Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11, but thanks to President Bush, not in time to prevent 9-11.

I could go on and on and on: Against more of the faulty Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel, sometimes, when they were lucky; Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the ineffective, money-wasting Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the obsolete Trident missile, against, against, against. Against unnecessary additional weapons of the types that are ineffective against terrorists and insurgents, but would work pretty well against a non-existent standing army, like that of the former Soviet Union.

This is the man who is our Vice President, and also his colleague.

Who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? Lots of people. U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs? Or perhaps armed with accurate instead if faulty intelligence? Or armed with protective vests, armored vehicles, functional communications systems, and weapons that work in the desert? All of which could have been funded by the money wasted on those systems these men voted against.

Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than twenty weeks of campaign rhetoric. Senator Kerry’s voting record, unlike Representative Cheney’s has been exemplary.

Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside, which is how you can tell I'm a Republican. Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if necessary, and to share the burdens of war, he would endeavor to have such actions approved by the United Nations, to ensure strength in numbers for our troops.

Kerry would not let Paris decide when America needs defending, but would ask Paris to join us in the fight. I want President Bush to decide, because I like sending your kids to die for no reason, it’s fun, like dueling.

John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing jobs, wants instead to outsource George Bush, because he knows how important that is to our national security.

That's right, he wants to outsource the most dangerous President we’ve ever had. It would be the best outsourcing of all.

This politician, John Kerry, wants to be leader of the free world, not ruler of an empire. Free for how long? That depends on whether he succeeds. Let’s hope he does.

For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been very effective, whereas when he was a Representative and again as Secretary of Defense, Vice President Cheney was more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure.

As a war protestor, Kerry blamed our military for the well-documented atrocities encouraged by the high command. As a Senator, he voted to weaken those unfit elements of our military while strengthening the fit ones. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny 20 billion dollars in pork-barrel spending that was slapped onto the bill meant to provide protective armor for our troops in harms way, in a galaxy far-far-away, that he cares about responsible government.

George Bush understands that we need new strategies to meet new threats, but he doesn’t like them, and even if he did, wouldn’t understand how to implement them.

John Kerry wants to re-fight the errors we are making now that we also made in yesterday's war. George Bush believes we have to fight today's unnecessary war with your children, not his. And you should be ready for tomorrow's challenges, when he reinstitutes the draft, so you should start working on Canadian citizenship now. George Bush is committed to providing the kind of forces it takes to root out terrorists, then redirecting them to fight someplace else instead, sacrificing your children so that Vice President Cheney and former President Bush can make more money.

They cannot disguise the fact, no matter what undisclosed spider hole they may hide in or what undisclosed rock they crawl under, George Bush and Dick Cheney are bent on world domination. Meanwhile, John Kerry wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go - unlike the President, who needs to get a better grip on reality.

From John Kerry, they get a reasoned decision-making process, not a "yes-no-maybe" bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends - like the President’s stance on whether or not we should have a department of Homeland Security, or his waffling on whether or not to investigate 9-11.

I first got to know George Bush when we served as governors together. I admire this man’s ability to hold his liquor. I am impressed by his anger. I am moved by the respect he shows the First Lady, his unabashed love for his parents and his daughters, and the fact that he is unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America. Too bad he is indifferent, himself.

I can identify with someone who has lived that line in "Amazing Grace," "Was blind, but now I see," and I like the fact that he's the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning, thanks to the hair of the dog that bit him.

He is not a slick talker, in fact he’s barely coherent without a well-rehearsed script, but he is a straight shooter and, where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words, because we can’t understand words. So shooting things, or hitting golf balls, or fishing, or riding his bike, takes precedence over reading documents that could prevent great national tragedies.

I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home - not him, because he was on vacation; but a God-fearing man with a good heart who thought he had bought into a time-share in Florida. But I have faith that George will be back some day, with his spine of tempered steel, which is what makes him walk like that. It looks pretty uncomfortable.

The man I trust to protect my most precious possession: my family, is Alexander Hamilton, who liked to duel, or maybe Aaron Burr.

This election will change forever the course of history, and that's not any history. It's our family's history. The only question is how. The answer lies with each of us. And, like many generations before us, we've got some hard choosing to do.

Right now the world just cannot afford any indecisive voters in America. Fainthearted, self-indulgence, like voting for George Bush, will put at risk all we care about in this world. In this hour of danger, brought about by this administration’s failures, our President has had the courage to stand up and mock everything you hold dear. And this Democrat in name only is proud to stand up with him, because I’ve gone senile, and then there’s that duel…

Thank you. God Bless this great country and God Bless George W. Bush, but don’t bless anyone else or I’ll throw down the gauntlet, and you and I will have to duel.


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