The Green Papers Commentary
 

RETURNING FIRE
President Bush is formally re-nominated and his Vice President speaks

Thursday, September 2, 2004

by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
TheGreenPapers.com Staff

The Fourth Session of the 38th Republican National Convention was gaveled to order by Convention co-Chair Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia at just after 7:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time (2310 UTC) on Wednesday 1 September 2004. The Presentation of the Colors was by the New York City Fire Department Colors team. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Sarah Pyszka of Bethel Park, PA- confined to a wheelchair by her cerebral palsy but able to communicate via a diavox [a computerized speech device], and the National Anthem was sung by the choir of New York City's own Central Baptist Church, appearing before the Convention via live video feed from their church's sanctuary. The Invocation was offered by Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

After a video presentation illustrating President Bush's overall vision for the future of America, there was the first "RNC-TV" "CJ" 'vox Pop' of the evening, this time from the New York delegation where Jim Kelly, the former quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, was "interviewed". After this, Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii took to the podium: President Bush pulled our Nation's economy out of a recession he inherited and he put us on the right track: the economy is strong and getting stronger... Are things better in Hawaii better than they were four years ago? You bet they are! Governor Lingle then introduced Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval, who declared: At home and at work, I have accepted the same obligation embraced by President Bush: keeping America's most vulnerable citizens- our children- safe from harm. President Bush made fighting crimes against children a top priority, swiftly signing into law the Protect Act- the most important child protection legislation passed in twenty years... For America to fulfill its Promise as the Land of Opportunity, each of us must be safe from crime. President Bush has made great strides in making America safer. With President Bush in the White House, we can focus on pursuing our dreams without fear. Our strength as a Nation lies in the fact that America's Promise is passed safely and equitably from generation to generation. Its fulfillment requires courage and convictions, qualities this President has demonstrated time and time again.

This was followed by a film, with Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, extolling the virtues of the Bush Administration's Healthy Forest initiative, after which Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, chairman of the Republican Conference, came to the dais: Pennsylvania put the President "over the top" last night and Pennsylvania will put the President "over the top" in November, he declared. You know, in America, every generation has but a moment to carry the torch that defines who we are and what we will be. Will our torch shine brighter?- or will it diminish?

Today, Senator Santorum opined, too many of our children are surrounded by an impoverished culture causing an emptiness not only of the stomach, but of the heart- and it's doing to our children what the Great Depression did to our economy... The key to a richer culture is a strong family and the key to a strong family are strong marriages. That means mothers and fathers doing what they have been doing so well for over the centuries: giving love and hope to their children... John Kerry's response? He joined Senate Democrats in blocking the President's welfare reform bill and faith-based initiative. He says he is concerned about the Separation of Church and State: Senator Kerry should worry more about the separation of children from their fathers. Now we all agree that Religion in America should never be established but it also must never be exiled, the Pennsylvanian declared. George Bush has shown his compassion by advancing his faith-based initiatives, strengthening Marriage and fighting to let the American People define Marriage, not left-wing judges.

Another "RNC-TV" "CJ" 'vox Pop' was held in the Arizona delegation followed by a satirical film entitled Barneycam III (Barney being the President's Scottish Terrier) in which the First Dog is seen working for the Bush/Cheney campaign trying to win his master the "canine vote" and turn every State in the Union into a "red State". After this film, Convention co-Chair Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele of Maryland came to the podium to call assistant Convention Secretaries Jeanette Bradley of Ohio and Bonnie Garcia of California to finish up the "Rolling Roll Call" of the States in which all the States which had passed on the previous three portions would now cast their votes. This final part of the Roll Call proceeded as follows:

Rolling Roll Call Vote
Wednesday 1 September 2004
JurisdictionVotesBush(not voting)
Carryover from 31 August1,8971,897 
Florida112112 
Illinois7373 
Iowa132311
Kentucky4646 
Michigan6161 
Missouri5757 
Nevada3333 
New Jersey5252 
New Mexico2424 
Ohio9191 
Oregon3131 
Total2,5092,5081

Notes

1. After the chair announced 32 votes for Iowa, the Iowa delegation announced that they cast 31 votes for Bush. The 1 apparent abstention was not formally announced.

After the Roll Call was completed, Lieutenant Governor Steele announced the final tally: 2,508 (of 2,509) votes for President Bush. A motion was made to make the President's re-nomination unanimous and it was adopted viva voce. This led immediately to a rather weary celebration of this fact (even Steele was forced to note Oh, we can do better than that!... Come on now: bring it home for the President! the Marylander exhorted the assembled). After a little partying, as Steele admitted, the Chair appointed a committee of distinguished Party members to officially inform President Bush of his nomination (a traditional formality at National Conventions, even though nowadays this is hardly necessary), after which it was time for the Convention to turn to the Vice-Presidential nomination. A motion to nominate Dick Cheney by acclamation and suspend the vice-presidential nomination Roll Call was adopted viva voce, after which co-Chair Steele appointed a similar committee of distinguished Republicans to formally inform the Vice President of a nomination he, of course, already knew about.

Next came a live video feed from the headquarters of Italian-American Charities of New York in Elmhurst, Queens, after which Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky came to the podium to introduce his wife, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao who declared: This President will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one... President Bush speaks our language: the language of opportunity, family and a better future for each new generation. This is a language we speak in America: this is America's Promise of Opportunity. Our ability to put the talents of the Nation to work depends on the re-election of our President: President George W. Bush! She was followed by Congressman Rob Portman of Ohio, who said Those of us from Ohio are proud to support Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. We're proud for a very simple reason: we're proud because George Bush and Dick Cheney have proven to Ohio and the Nation that, when times are tough, we can count on their strong leadership.

Next came yet another campaign video, this one about President Bush's promotion of economic and educational opportunity, after which two small businesswomen- Patricia Pliego Stout, founder of Alamo Travel Group in San Antonio, Texas, and Lurita Doan, founder of New Technology Management of Great Falls, Virginia- took turns at the podium talking about the Bush Administration's policies to help small business. Ms. Doan opined that small businesses benefit from Republican leadership. Then there were two more "RNC-TV" faux 'vox Pop's- first, from the Ohio delegation and then from the Iowa delegation.

The next speaker was Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who said: When George Bush entered the White House, he inherited an economy that was sliding toward recession, the stock market was declining, the 'dot-com' bubble had burst. In response, President Bush delivered broad tax relief for all Americans because he understands that people, not government, start the businesses and create the jobs that drive our economy... During his twenty years in Washington, John Kerry never met a tax increase he didn't like... there is one explanation: this is one place where John Kerry never flip-flops... John Kerry believes that government can spend our money better than we can- but most Americans don't share this view. That's why John Kerry has to preach the politics of division, of envy and resentment- that's why they talk so much about two Americas. But class warfare is not an economic policy and the politics of division will not make America stronger and it will not lead to prosperity. I say to them: Anger is not a governing philosophy.

There now followed a video about the President's home ownership plan filmed in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This led into a live video feed from Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. After a musical interlude provided by the group Third Day, the next speaker at the dais was Michael Reagan, the adopted son of the recently deceased President Ronald Reagan who introduced a film tribute to his father, after which one of the "CJ"s- this time in the California delegation- "interviewed" Fred Ryan, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Reagan Library.

After yet another musical interlude sandwiched between two Bush/Cheney campaign videos, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey took to the podium: That is a fabulous reception for someone from Massachusetts named Kerry, she joked. Now, we have all been hearing what that other Kerry was doing 35 years ago but have you noticed he tends to leave off his resume when he had my job... John Kerry doesn't like talking about serving as Michael Dukakis' lieutenant... we don't hear much about Kerry's 20 years in the Senate, either... he voted 126 times against tax cuts for American families. You all know what John Kerry says about higher taxes: Bring it on!... John Kerry can't win by telling us the truth- the truth is he is out of the mainstream and he shifts with the tide; the truth is that John Kerry, not Ted Kennedy, is the most liberal Senator in the United States. Lieutenant Governor Healey next introduced her boss, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

I'm proud to be from Massachusetts, Governor Romney began, where John Kerry will be the junior Senator for four more years. You see, I don't believe Senator Kerry is the leader our country needs. I respect his four months under enemy fire in Vietnam: it's John Kerry's record in his nearly 40 years since Vietnam that is the question- study that record. If you want someone who voted for tax hikes 98 times, send in John Kerry; if you think trial lawyers need more money, our economy needs more lawsuits, and malpractice costs should go even higher, then send John Edwards with him. And, Senator Edwards, if you don't like hearing that- sue me!

American values are under attack from within, Romney opined. Hard work, personal sacrifice, education, integrity and the foundation of Family have been, and always will be, the source of our strength... George W. Bush is right and the "blame America first" crowd is wrong!... We step forward by expressing tolerance and respect for all of God's children, regardless of their differences in choices: at the same time, because every child deserves a mother and a father, we step forward by recognizing that Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Governor Romney was followed by yet another Bush/Cheney campaign video, sandwiched in between two musical interludes and one in which the President extolled his love for his twin daughters, before Senator Zell Miller- a Democrat who is, nevertheless, endorsing President Bush's re-election and the keynote speaker at this Convention, as he had been in this very same arena for his own Party's Convention twelve years before- stepped up to the podium.

Senator Miller declared that 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 W. Bush... Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most? Miller cried. Today, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our Nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of a Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief. What has happened to the Party I've spent my life working in? I can remember when Democrats believed it was the duty of America to fight for Freedom over Tyranny... 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, the Georgian continued, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator... 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, that has given us 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 he abuses to 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, Miller opined. In their warped way of thinking, America is the problem not the solution. They don't believe there's 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 Judgement that has been so sorely lacking... and no pair has been more wrong more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts- Ted Kennedy and John Kerry... This is the man who wants to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces? U.S. forces armed with what?- spitballs?! Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than twenty weeks of campaign rhetoric. Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are; how you vote tells people who you really are deep inside.

Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations, Senator Miller declaimed. Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide! John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our National Security- that's the most dangerous outsourcing of all! This politician wants to be leader of the Free World: free for how long? For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of Freedom and Security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure. As a war protester, Kerry blamed our military; as a Senator, he has voted to weaken our military... George W. Bush understands that we need new strategies to meet new threats. John Kerry wants to re-fight yesterday's war; President Bush believes we have to fight today's war and be ready for tomorrow's challenges. President Bush is committed to providing the kind of forces it takes to root out terrorists, no matter what spider hole they may hide in or what rock they crawl under. George W. Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip: from John Kerry they get a yes-no-maybe bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends.

I am moved by, the Georgian said of the President, the fact that he is unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America. I can identify with someone who has lived that line in Amazing Grace "I was blind, but now I see" and I like the fact that he is the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning. He is not a slick talker, but he is a straight shooter- and, where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words. I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home: a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel- the man I trust to protect my most precious possession: my family.

Lynne Cheney followed Senator Miller at the podium to introduce her husband, Vice President Dick Cheney. The Vice President began his remarks with a salute to the previous speaker at the dais: I'm sure glad Zell Miller's on our side... I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States, Cheney told the Convention. I'm honored by your confidence and, tonight, I make this pledge: I will give this campaign all that I have and, together, we will make George W. Bush President for another four years. Tonight I will talk about this good man and his fine record in leading our country and I may say a word or two about his opponent. I'm also mindful now that I have an opponent of my own. People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked because of his god looks, his sex appeal, his charm and his great hair. I said: How do you think I got the job? he joked.

Cheney continued: Four years ago, some said the world had grown calm and many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to danger. That thought might have been comforting: it was also false. Like other generations of Americans, we soon discovered that History had unexpected duties in store for us. September 11th, 2001 made clear the challenges we face. On that day, we saw the harm that could be done by 19 men armed with knives and boarding passes. America also awakened to a possibility even more lethal: this enemy whose hatred of us is limitless armed with biological, chemical or even nuclear weapons. Just as surely as the Nazis during World War II and the Soviets during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction. As in other times, we are in a war we did not start and have no choice but to win. Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission and led by a superb Commander-in-Chief, we will prevail!

The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity, the Vice President opined, 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. From the beginning, the President made clear that the terrorists would be dealt with and that anyone who supports, protects or harbors them would be held to account. In a campaign that has reached around the world, we have captured or killed hundreds of al-Qa'eda; in Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans, the camps have been shut down and the Taliban driven from power; in Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein: 17 months ago, he controlled the lives and the fortunes of 25 million people- tonight, he sits in jail. President Bush does not deal in empty threats and halfway measures and his determination has sent a clear message- just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States: tonight, the uranium, the centrifuges and plans and designs for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away in Oak Ridge, Tennessee- never again to threaten America.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives but in our History, Cheney offered, and so it is time to set the alternatives squarely before the American People. The President's opponent is an experienced Senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam and we honor 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 is vital to preserving Freedom and keeping us safe- yet, time and again, Senator Kerry has 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. This elicited a rain of "boos" from the assembled.

Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed, Cheney continued. He talks about leading a more sensitive war on Terror as though al-Qae'da will be impressed with our softer side. This elicited much laughter from the delegates. 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. We're faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us and we can't wait until the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it and that includes the use of military force. Senator Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve as if the whole object of our Foreign Policy were to please a few persistent critics. But, in fact, to 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 nations and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American People!

Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of Commander-in-Chief, the Vice President noted, yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a Commander-in-Chief and that is to support American troops in combat. In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate and, fortunately, on matters of National Security his views rarely prevail. But the Presidency is an entirely different proposition: a Senator can be wrong for 20 years without consequence to the Nation but a President always casts the deciding vote and, in this time of challenge, America needs- and America has- a President we can count on to get it right.

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats, Cheney opined, but Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision and sends a message of confusion- and it's all part of a pattern... Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual: America sees two John Kerrys. The other candidate in this race is a man our Nation has come to know and one I've come to admire very much: I watch him at work every day- I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that come to the Oval Office and make those decisions with the wisdom and the humility Americans expect in their President. George W. Bush is a man who speaks plainly and who means what he says: he is a person of loyalty and kindness and he brings out those qualities in those around him.

Cheney continued: We all remember that terrible morning when, in the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor. We remember the President who came to New York City and pledged that the terrorists would soon hear from all of us. George W. Bush saw this country through grief and tragedy: he has acted with patience and calm and a moral seriousness that calls Evil by its name. In the great divide of our time, he has put this Nation where America always belongs- against the tyrants of this world and on the side of every soul on Earth who yearns to live in Freedom. 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 judgement of the American People. The signs are good, even in Massachusetts.

After the Vice President had finished speaking, the Convention was entertained by Brooks & Dunn before Convention co-Chair Shelley Moore Capito returned to the podium to call Reverend Rene Gracida- Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas- to give the Benediction, after which a motion to adjourn until the following evening was adopted by the Convention viva voce at 11:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time (0307 UTC).

 


Commentary Home