Not only might the French do well to heed some of the words in the speech, they — the very same people who have been predicting a Kerry victory in November — should make a careful note that the speaker is a member of the opposition party, and that this Democrat is in no mood to throw his support in the direction of John Kerry.
…like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?Might it be that the comparison with Wendell Wilkie applies as much to opposition figures (like John Kerry) as it does to allied nations (like France)? In that perspective, it should perhaps be noted Willkie never complained that "FDR should allow me to disagree with him" and "FDR shouldn't ask me to be his vassal"…
The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party.
There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush.
In the summer of 1940, I was an 8-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Roosevelt, in his speech that summer, told America "all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger."
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.
And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue.
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.
Where are such statesmen today?
Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most?
…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.
Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.
And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.
Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.
Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.
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.
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, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.
For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.
It is the 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.
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.
But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution.
They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy.
It is not their patriotism — it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace. [Jimmy Carter, of course, is a fellow Georgia Democrat of Zell Miller's.]
They were wrong.
They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war.
They were wrong.
…In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him.
(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)