Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Tonight's theme was "compassion", and that was certainly felt with the speeches from keynote speakers California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Laura Bush.
Arnold tells his American Dream story
When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector. Growing up, we were told, "Don't look the soldiers in the eye. Look straight ahead." It was a common belief that Soviet soldiers could take a man out of his own car and ship him off to the Soviet Union as slave labor.
My family didn't have a car but one day we were in my uncle's car. It was near dark as we came to a Soviet checkpoint. I was a little boy, I wasn't an action hero back then, and I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I'd never see him again. My family and so many others lived in fear of the Soviet boot. Today, the world no longer fears the Soviet Union and it is because of the United States of America!
Arnold's tale of oppression in his home country really hit the heart as Arnold tells his tale of going from nothing to the governor's mansion.
My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans, how do you know if you are a Republican? I'll tell you how.
If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government...then you are a Republican! If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group... then you are a Republican! If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does... then you are a Republican! If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican! If you believe this country, not the United Nations (news - web sites), is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican! And, ladies and gentlemen ...if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican!
There is another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ... and faith in the U.S. economy. To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "Don't be economic girlie men!"
This was the heart of the speech as Schwarzenegger (type that really fast) hit the traditional Republican values and struck them home. He managed to reach out to the base and to bring in the moderates at the same time.
And even manages to poke a little fun at himself and deflect the recent criticism with his inclusion of the "girlie men" line once again.
He's a man of inner strength. He is a leader who doesn't flinch, doesn't waiver, does not back down. My fellow Americans, make no mistake about it terrorism is more insidious than communism, because it yearns to destroy not just the individual, but the entire international order. The President didn't go into Iraq because the polls told him it was popular. As a matter of fact, the polls said just the opposite. But leadership isn't about polls. It's about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions. That's why America is safer with George W. Bush as President.
He knows you don't reason with terrorists. You defeat them. He knows you can't reason with people blinded by hate. They hate the power of the individual. They hate the progress of women. They hate the religious freedom of others. They hate the liberating breeze of democracy. But ladies and gentlemen, their hate is no match for America's decency.
This is the beginning of Arnold's case for President Bush as he emphasizes the need for a leader who is unwavering and strong in his convictions.
My fellow Americans ...I want you to know that I believe with all my heart that America remains "the great idea" that inspires the world. It's a privilege to be born here. It's an honor to become a citizen here. It's a gift to raise your family here to vote here and to live here.
Our president, George W. Bush, has worked hard to protect and preserve the American dream for all of us. That's why I say ... send him back to Washington for four more years!
Thank you, America and God bless you all!
The end of Arnold's speech, and he ends with a strong endorsement for President Bush. I must say that I had no idea that Arnold was such a great public speaker.
Perhaps California isn't such a reach afterall for the Republicans...
Laura Bush softens the edge
I can't find a transcript for this one yet, but make no mistake that Laura Bush did her husband and her country proud tonight, as she laid out the case for her husband. She told of the struggles that her husband endured in the days leading up to the war, the steady determination in the days after 9/11, the character of the man she met in a backyard of a home in Midland, TX and the story of her own father who helped close down a concentration camp in Nazi Germany and the parallels between stories such as that and those of today.
Night two a hit as well
Last night's Reaganesque speech by Senator McCain followed by the intimate words of Rudy Giuliani were powerful, but tonight was just as moving with the rags to riches story of a optimistic America by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the warmth of Laura Bush.
Tomorrow night Vice President Cheney hits the stage, along with his wife Lynne. Democratic Senator Zell Miller gives the keynote address, and a tribute to the late Ronald Reagan is on the schedule as well.