The Green Papers Commentary
 

THE FIGHT IS ON!
John McCain claims his
Prize and begins his final,
maverick push for the Presidency

Friday, September 5, 2008

by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
TheGreenPapers.com Staff

The fourth and final session of the 2008 Republican National Convention was called to order by Republican National Committee Chair Mike Duncan at 5:59 PM local time in Minnesota (6:59 PM Eastern Time US [2259 UTC]) on Thursday 4 September 2008. The Presentation of Colors was by the Fort Snelling Joint Services Color Guard and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by 8 members of the U.S. Olympic team that had so recently competed in Beijing. The National Anthem was sung by Trace Adkins and the Invocation was offered by Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (The Archbishop is invited to the Conventions of both Major Parties and, in fact, Archbishop Demetrios has the distinction- assuming this can even be called a distinction! [;-)]- of being the only person who has been mentioned in my Commentaries on all six of the Major Party National Conventions held since 'The Green Papers' first went online nearly 9 years ago now).

The first speaker of the evening was Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, who came to the dais to chide the opposing Major Party: Last week we saw what Democrats are offering America: an inexperienced presidential nominee in a dangerous world; a vice-presidential nominee who's the handmaiden to liberal special interest groups; a Senate Majority Leader who declared a war was lost while our soldiers were winning on the battle field- and a Speaker of the House who promised in 2006 she'd lower the price of gas at the pump by 2008. Well, four-dollar a gallon gasoline became the norm in America this summer- and, while working Americans were paying the price, Congressional Democrats voted for a five-week paid vacation in August, rather than vote on energy solutions for Americans. No wonder Congress's approval rating is at 9 percent!

Congressman Cole was followed by several non-incumbent Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives: Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, who told the Convention: I am running for one main reason- Congress is broken, and I want to help fix it; Jay Love of Alabama, who said: I am proud to carry the McCain banner: I will be proud to help him fulfill our conservative values- fighting for the sanctity of life, the right to own a gun and lower taxes; Charlie Summers of Maine (who was deployed to Iraq just before the Primary campaign began and almost- but didn't- drop out of the race), who opined: I have been to Iraq and back and I can tell you this: it's not a liberal or conservative proposition, it's an American proposition- and John McCain is the American to make it happen; Aaron Schock of Illinois (who represents an otherwise Democratic inner-city district [in Peoria] in the Illinois General Assembly), who talked about how I worked to resolve problems for the most needy in our community: often I would get asked 'Why are you doing this? You are a Republican'- I always responded, 'This is what the Republican Party stands for: a leg up, not a hand out- helping impoverished folks become self-sufficient, contributing members of society'; and, finally, State Senator David Cappiello of Connecticut, who stated that only John McCain and Sarah Palin have proven bi-partisan experience in putting people above Party. Only the original maverick and the Alaskan maverick can reform Washington.

The next speaker was Senator John Ensign of Nevada, chair of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee: Nobody really knows what freedom is like until you have to fight for it. John McCain knows freedom- he has fought for it and sacrificed for it... John McCain knows what it means to be free- if we fail to elect leaders who understand that, we also fail as freedom's keepers... The choice in this election is clear... On November 4th, freedom is on the ballot... If we want to protect freedom, we must win these Senate races, and we must win the White House. Let's work together to keep the freedom that we all cherish.

Next came a video about "Peace", narrated by Robert Duvall, after which Temporary Convention Chair Senator Mitch McConnell now took to the rostrum to oversee one last, important piece of essential business- the formal nomination of a Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States. McConnell informed the Convention that, since only one candidate had been formally recommended for nomination, the Roll Call of the States re: the Vice Presidential Nomination could, under the Convention's own rules, be dispensed with and- following a nominating speech on Governor Palin's behalf- a motion to nominate her by acclamation would be in order.

Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah came forward to deliver the nominating speech for Palin: Hockey moms of the world unite! History will be made tonight and her name is Sarah Palin!... Last night, John McCain asked this group a question about his selection for Vice President, and tonight we're here to answer it. 'Do you think we made the right choice?' Yes!... She's a Hockey mom, a hunter and a hard-hitting reformer and, quite frankly, she's not afraid to kick a few fannies and raise a little Hell!... Stand up for Sarah, everybody!

After Governor Huntsman had finished speaking, a delegate from Alaska moved that Sarah Palin's nomination for Vice President be by acclamation-- duly seconded, it was approved viva voce. Then Temporary Chair McConnell- as had been done the evening before- named an honorary and ceremonial Escort Committee relative to Palin's formal nomination.

After a musical interlude that accompanied the celebration of Palin's vice-presidential nomination having so been made official, Convention CEO Maria Cino came to the dais and opined that putting on a Convention is like putting on a circus- you need a really big elephant and a really big tent and, all over the country, young people have been running away from home to join it.

The next speaker was Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee: Last night, for the first time in a long time, millions like me whispered to themselves, 'finally someone gets it'. We heard a voice that spoke with the accent of real America, not the washed-out, mainstream TV-speak that sometimes soothes the soul, but never solves the problem. We met a woman who, with the bravery that only the mother of five can summon, said 'thanks, but no thanks' to the good ole' boy earmarks- and, it's an honor for me to quote those constituents I heard from today when I say: 'It's about damn time!' To all the gray suits in the booths, who had their backs turned last night facing Washington, on behalf of the great gals in this room, I tell you 'listen up, boys!' As a wife, mother, businesswoman, and public servant; neither Governor Palin nor I need you to tell us what our limitations are- or when we might have taken on too much or reached too far...

Last night my NASCAR dads fell in love with our hockey mom. We are the gun-totin', God-fearin,' flag-wavin' Americans who are excited to see two crack shots on the ticket with the status quo in their sights. We don't need to elect someone to install an ATM machine on Pennsylvania Avenue that debits your liberty to fund wasteful programs and won't do the one thing that can drive down gas prices. We know the only place Senator Obama wants to drill is your wallet. Leadership is not about creating perceptions, it's about creating results- and leadership is honed and tested on Alaska's frontier, on the deck of an aircraft carrier and in a dark, squalid cell in Vietnam. Last night, when I saw John and Sarah on the stage, I saw the brilliant spark of leadership catch fire illuminating the path to a brighter tomorrow.

Next came Rosario Marin, the former Treasurer of the United States: I am so thrilled to be here, especially after hearing last night from our Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. You know, I was supposed to talk to you tonight about government reform and taxes- but, having seen how the media and our opponents have treated our nominee this week, I am compelled to talk about Sarah Palin. After all, we have a few things in common... Like her, I have been the mayor of a small town- I served Huntington Park, in the glorious state of California. But, most importantly: like her, I have had the privilege of raising a son with Down Syndrome...

When I was running for office, I was criticized as Sarah Palin has been- and, while painful, I knew that was the price I'd have to pay to leave this country a better place for [my son] and others like him. I know I speak for the millions of families that have a child with a disability: who better than Sarah Palin to understand the daily challenges of raising a family while holding a job, working on a career or managing your own business?... Sarah Palin will serve alongside John McCain as a passionate advocate for Americans with special needs.

Next, Joe Watkins- pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania- came forward to reiterate, one last time, the calls for aiding the victims of Hurricane 'Gustav'- the theme that had been the essence of the post-essential business portion of the Convention's shortened first session (as Pastor Watkins spoke, it suddenly struck me how hard it was for me to so easily recall that- but three days earlier- the pall of 'Gustav' had so hovered over this body, a body that- on its final evening- was actually behaving like a political Convention!)

Senator Mel Martinez of Florida then came to the podium: We live in a dangerous world. That is why we need a strong America and a strong Commander in Chief. That is why we need President John McCain!... What is unique is the special place our country holds for people around the world, especially those who are oppressed or denied the liberties we take for granted. The challenges and dangers we face in this uncertain world call for strong leadership and a clear understanding of the threats we face and how to meet and beat them. Only one man in this race is qualified to meet the challenges around the globe; only one man has a history of always putting country first. That man is John McCain!

He was followed by Tim Pawlenty, Governor of the State hosting this Convention- Minnesota: Let me ask you a question: How do we measure the content of a person's character? How do we recognize their fitness to serve? Barack Obama gives a good speech- but the best sermons aren't preached, they're lived. John McCain's whole life is a testimony to service, duty, courage and common sense; John McCain has walked the walk and he has always put our country first...

We live in a dangerous world: with John McCain as President, there will be no misunderstanding about where America stands and what we stand for. John McCain is tough- but he's also compassionate... he is a Purple Heart recipient with a heart of gold. He understands the concerns of everyday Americans like you and me- what I like to call 'Sam's Club Republicans': these voters are on a tight budget; they're looking for value and accountability at the store- and they're looking for value and accountability from their government. John McCain and Sarah Palin connect with Sam's Club voters- they get it: they will force Government to live within its means, just like families do...

In this time, we don't need a President who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd: we don't need rhetoric or empty promises. We need a President who has the integrity and the courage to make the toughest choices so America will be stronger and safer. I believe the times call out great leaders: this time, our time, is calling out for John McCain.

The next speaker at the podium was former Senator (and U.S. Senate Republican leader) Bill Frist of Tennessee, who said: Medical diplomacy transforms hearts and minds and revolutionizes how people of the world see us. Health is the foundation for strong families and for prosperous societies: health builds trust- and health bridges divides. That's why America's investment in medical diplomacy is a long-term investment in national security: health is a currency for peace...

But much work remains to be done: HIV/AIDS continues to hollow out entire generations of people at the prime of their lives- it's easy for people to lose hope and, when they do, the vacuum is filled with desperation, instability, and- yes- the seeds of terrorism. John McCain understands that health diplomacy can be a powerful antidote to terrorism; John McCain knows you don't go to war with someone who has saved the life of your child.

Recounting a recent trip to Rwanda the former Senator had made with Senator McCain's wife, Cindy, Frist told the assembled: One day, in a meeting with local leaders, I asked who in the room was actually in Rwanda at the time of the genocide [back in 1994]. Few raised their hands- but Cindy McCain did. You see, at a time when most of the world looked away, Cindy was there, on the ground, with medical relief, a huge heart, and open arms. Through more than 50 similar medical missions, Cindy McCain has brought comfort to those in anguish, serving as America's most passionate ambassador for peace... John McCain understands that health and responsible international assistance are core components of our strategy for national security- they become the foundation for enduring peace; John McCain understands that we can be the generation to make extreme poverty history; John McCain will lead with compassion and urgency to save lives- to show America's greatness and to spread peace through health, one child at a time, for a better, safer world for us all.

Senator Frist was followed by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Carol Mutter, who told the assembled: We live in a dangerous world, where enemies don't talk about timelines or retreat- and where old foes are emboldened enough to resurrect old ambitions; we live in a world where the enemy can accept a short-term setback for a long-term gain. This is the world we live in and, in such a world, we cannot afford to be impatient. The challenges we face as a Nation are plenty and complicated. The next Commander in Chief must not only know how to defeat an enemy but know how to inspire a Nation with more than platitudes and cliches. Our brave men and women in uniform are doing their part- it is time that we do ours: I know that John McCain will be the kind of Commander in Chief who will never forget what's at stake or who pays the ultimate price.

The next speaker was Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, still another erstwhile 2008 presidential contender, who asked the assembled: Are you ready to rock America? John McCain is a friend of mine, a colleague and an inspiration- he comes from the Teddy Roosevelt wing of the Republican Party: bold and aggressive- given to action more than words; and that's the way he lives... John McCain lives for something bigger than himself- you see, it's not about him: it's about us and taking that difficult path that has always been required for this Nation to be all that it was meant to be- the most powerful Nation in the History of Mankind... In this historic nation, John McCain is a history maker- and, with selecting Sarah Palin, a history breaker: but that's not what I like most about John McCain- what I like is that he does what he tells you he'll do, even if it hurts him. He's always working to make the team around him better and give the glory to them.

Last week in Denver, the other Party was encouraging us to 'believe'. They told America over and over, 'Yes, we can'- but, when you look at the past two years with Democrats controlling the House and Senate, all we've seen is: 'No, we can't'... While the other side may say 'yes, we can' and then votes "no, you don't', John McCain says 'yes, we will'... Are we going to win in Iraq? Yes, we will! Are we going to keep America a shining city on a hill full of hope and optimism? Yes, we will!

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I believe in American exceptionalism- that this is a special land and that, to whom much is given, much is required. We are blessed to be a blessing- but, for America to fulfill its God-given destiny, we need leaders to help take us there- leaders who deny themselves the pleasures of the moment to pursue the joy of serving others: John McCain is one of those leaders. You know, John McCain is easy to understand- he loves America and feels a duty to his very core to serve this nation he so loves... I don't know about you, but where I come from that's called 'true grit'- and he'll give that same level of commitment, courage and true grit to being President of the United States of America!

After a musical interlude, the next speaker was Congresswoman Mary Fallin of Oklahoma. Referring to the April 1995 terrorist bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City (at which time, Ms. Fallin was the Sooner State's Lieutenant Governor), she informed the assembled that we coined a name for a lesson that grew out of Oklahoma City- we called it the 'Oklahoma standard', but it is really the American standard... Our American standard embodies the spirit of free people who will not be cowed by terror- but will stand together with courage and resolve. It embodies the spirit of John McCain: the American people have in John McCain a leader who doesn't just understand that spirit- he has lived it...

Our Nation has learned some hard lessons, but they are lessons that anyone who proposes to serve as our president must understand: we cannot afford a president who thinks you can negotiate with evil. Talk, yes-- but remember Teddy Roosevelt's big stick? Strong leaders like John McCain know that evil must be confronted if free societies are to remain free; he knows that government's most important task is to do everything it can to ensure the safety and the security of its citizens. Ask yourself tonight, Americans - who do you trust to defend your children against the haters and killers whose only creed is evil? You can trust John McCain. Goodness can defeat evil, but it takes strength and courage- and an unwavering commitment to enduring peace. It takes character to put country first- and it takes a man like John McCain.

There next came a video presentation entitled 'The World Stood Still' about the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.

The next speaker was Bryan Clay, the U.S. Olympic decathlete who so recently competed in Beijing: I am proud to be a gold medal winner representing the United States of America, but my proudest accomplishment is being a dad... For me, family values are the most important thing- my priorities are: God first, family second, and track third. I can tell you that without my faith- in God, the support of my family and friends, and my strong work ethic- I would not be standing before you today with a gold medal hanging around my neck.

Politicians and athletes have a lot in common: both are competitors, challenging one another- and neither wins on his or her own... My coaches, mentors and, most importantly, God and my family are a big part of my success, on and off the field. Now, the big difference between the decathlon and politics is that, when my race ends, I go back home and start training for the next Olympics- but when the election ends, that's when the real work begins.

He was followed by Joe Gibbs, former head coach of the National Football League's Washington Redskins and owner of NASCAR's Joe Gibbs Racing team, who spoke at length about how the "game" of Life can only be well followed if one is willing to follow God's "game plan".

The next speaker was Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who told the assembled: Ladies and gentlemen, this speech is for the troops. By every measure, the surge of the troops into Iraq has worked- it has worked!... all American combat brigades who made up the surge have returned home- in victory! We know the surge has worked, our men and women in uniform know it has worked- and I promise you, above all others, Al Qa'eda knows it has worked. The only people who deny it are Barack Obama and his buddies at MoveOn.org- why won't they admit it? Because Barack Obama's campaign is built around us losing in Iraq.

Without John McCain's courageous leadership there would never have been a surge...In our visits to Iraq, we saw the situation deteriorate: the troops we met- the sergeants, captains, and colonels... they said 'Senator McCain, this ain't working'. John heard their message and put their interests ahead of his own: he came back to Washington and told everyone, including Republicans, 'we must change course'. For his honesty, some accused him of being disloyal- but John McCain's loyalties have always been to his country and to our men and women in uniform, not a political Party. Calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq was one of the most unpopular things John McCain could have done: some said it was political suicide- but you know what? It was the right thing to do!

Because losing in Iraq would have been a nightmare for America: Al Qa'eda would have claimed victory over our Nation; sectarian violence would spread throughout the region- and Iran would fill the vacuum. Last summer, we came within two votes- 2 votes!- of a congressionally-mandated surrender; only one Democrat- 1 Democrat!- broke with his Party to support the surge. Ladies and gentlemen, thank God for Joe Lieberman! It was John McCain's voice and credibility that stopped Congress from losing this war.

Let there be no doubt about it: we are on the road to victory- victory! You can say it at this Convention: we are winning! And you know what? America is safer by winning in Iraq- a Muslim nation in the heart of the Arab World that rejects Al Qa'eda: a nation where the Rule of Law replaces the rule of the gun- a place in the Mid-East where a woman can finally have a say about her children's future. While Barack Obama expresses appreciation for our troops' service, he refuses to acknowledge their success- they have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for a patronizing pat on the back.

If Barack Obama cannot appreciate that our troops are winning in Iraq, he should not be their Commander in Chief. Then playing on a phrasing Senator Obama had used in his own Acceptance Speech in Denver just the week before, Senator Graham noted: Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying Barack Obama doesn't care- I'm just saying: he doesn't get it. Not once- not once!- was Barack Obama's eloquent voice ever raised in support of victory in Iraq- not once was it used to rally our troops in battle; instead, he inspired those who supported retreat and would have accepted our defeat. We should all be grateful, ladies and gentlemen, that Barack Obama was unable to defeat the surge- the surge was a test for Barack Obama: he failed miserably.

Our troops deserve a Commander in Chief who acknowledges their success, has walked in their shoes, speaks their language, shares in their sufferings- and will lead them to victory in a war we cannot afford to lose. That person is my dear friend John McCain. John often says he would rather lose a campaign than lose a war- here's the good news: we are going to win this war- and John McCain will be our next President of the United States!

Then, after a few remarks about Senator McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, Graham introduced a video 'bio-pic' of Governor Palin, after which the next speaker at the dais was former Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, who had served as the Nation's first Secretary of Homeland Security: Tonight I speak to you with a grateful heart and enormous pride: I speak to you as one friend about another- about a proven leader, a world statesman, an untiring and effective public servant. I speak to you about a warrior who has sometimes stood alone- or shown the way- in fighting for the most vulnerable of our citizens, for the country he so dearly loves and for the founding principles we all so deeply cherish. I speak to you about a friend, who was first pointed out to me- in the same way he is proudly pointed out wherever he goes today - 'That's John McCain'...

Where some people see adversity, John McCain accepts a challenge; where some people see a crisis, John McCain creates an opportunity- where some people see defeat, John McCain pursues victory. John knows- John knows: the purpose of elections is not merely to win.You run to win- but you win to govern. So who of our two candidates is the most qualified to govern the freest, strongest, most blessed nation on Earth?...

Now more than ever we need a leader who fits the times- not a candidate who merely thinks it's his time to lead: for the consideration before us is not about who can take a 3 AM call- it's about who has answered the call throughout his entire life. It's not about building a record- it's about having one; and it's not about talking pretty- it's about talking straight. The challenge of our times is not simply to change; the challenge of our time is to leave nothing to chance.

More than 230-plus years ago, a group of leaders- some people called them mavericks- dared to think differently, dared to act boldly and dared to believe its future leaders would preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free. Today, we have a leader- some people call him a maverick- who, for his country, has put his life on the line; who, for his country, leads with his conscience; who for his country, has worked to preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free. That's John McCain...

And you know I'm so very proud to say: 'that is my friend, John McCain'- the next President of the United States, the next Commander in Chief: ready to serve; ready to lead- ready to deliver. God bless you, John. God bless all of you- and may God continue to bless our brave troops who serve our country so well.

This was followed by a video 'bio-pic' of Cindy McCain, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee, after which Cindy McCain herself took the stage, joined by her 7 children: Before I begin, I would like to introduce you for the seven reasons that John and I are so happy as a family... John and I are so pleased and so happy to have them here with us tonight- nothing has made me happier or more fulfilled in my life than being a mother...

Despite our challenges, our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in the individual ability to make things right- if only the Federal Government would get itself under control and out of our way. And so, tonight is about renewing our commitment to one another- because this campaign is not about us: it's about our special and exceptional country... Our country was born amidst the struggle for freedom and our Party arose from a great battle for human rights, dignity, and equality for all people- we give way to no one and no other Party in that cause. From its very birth, our Party has been grounded in the notion of service, community, self-reliance- and it's all tempered by a uniquely American faith in and compassion for each other's neighbors: a helping hand and friendly support has always been our way...

I was taught that Americans can look at the world and ask either 'what do other countries think of us?'- or we can look at ourselves and ask 'what would our forefathers make of us and what will our children say of us?' That's a big challenge: in living up to it, we know the security and the prosperity of our Nation is about a lot more than politics- it also depends on a personal commitment, a sense of history, and a clear view of the future. I know of no one who better defines how to do that, whose life is a better example of how to go about that than the man I love, whom I've shared almost 30 years of my life, my husband, John McCain...

I know John: you can trust his hand at the wheel- but you know something? What I've always thought: it's a good idea to have a woman's hand on the wheel as well. So how about that Governor Sarah Palin? John has picked a reform-minded, hockey-momming, basketball-shooting, moose-hunting, salmon-fishing, pistol-packing mother of five for Vice President. And, as a fellow hockey mom myself and a Western conservative mother, I couldn't be prouder that John has shaken things up- as he usually does...

The presidential contest will begin in earnest when this Convention closes: if Americans want straight talk and plain truth, they should take a good close look at John McCain- a man tested and true, who never wavered in his devotion to our country- a man who served in Washington without ever becoming a Washington insider and who always speaks the truth, no matter what the cost: a man of judgment and character- a loyal and loving and true husband and a magnificent father. This is a good man, a worthy man- I know: I have loved him with all my heart for almost 30 years and I humbly recommend him to you tonight as nominee for the next President of the United States.

After a musical interlude, there was a video 'bio-pic' of Senator McCain, after which the presidential nominee himself appeared on the stage and, after acknowledging the cheers of the crowd, stepped forward to the podium: Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party's nomination for president of the United States- and I accept it with gratitude, humility, and confidence. In my life, no success has come without a good fight and this nomination wasn't any different- that's a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters: they're leaders of great ability who love our country and wish to lead it to better days- their support is an honor that I won't forget.

I'm grateful to the President of the United States for leading us in these dark days following the worst attack on American soil in our History and keeping us safe from another attack that many thought was inevitable... As always, I'm indebted to my wife, Cindy, and my seven children... You know, Cindy said a lot of nice things about me tonight- but, in truth, she's more my inspiration than I am hers. Her concern for those less blessed than we are- victims of land mines, children born in poverty, with birth defects- shows the measure of her humanity: and I know that she will make a great First Lady...

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped me win this nomination and stood by me when the odds were long. I won't let you down- I won't let you down, I won't let you down. To Americans who have yet to decide who to vote for, thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to win your trust: I intend to earn it. And, finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters: We'll go at it over the next two months- you know that's the nature of this business- and there are big differences between us: but you have my respect and my admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us: we are fellow Americans and that's an association that means more to me than any other.

We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights: no country- no country!- ever had a greater cause than that- and I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement. But let there be no doubt, my friends: we're going to win this election! And after we've won, we're going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

No sooner had Senator McCain said the word 'peace' that had ended that last sentence when there was a disturbance in the hall: many among the assembled chanting "USA! USA! USA!" as a handful of apparently anti-Iraq war demonstrators were hustled out by security. My friends, my dear friends, please- please don't be diverted by the ground noise and the static, the GOP presidential nominee said as he tried to resume his Acceptance Speech: You know, I'm going to talk about it some more- but Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK?

But, soon enough, Senator McCain was able to resume: I know these are tough times for many of you- you're worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and you're struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home: all you've ever asked of your government is to stand on your side and not in your way- and that's what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future. And I've found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah Palin of the great State of Alaska- and I want to thank everyone here and all over America for the tremendous, wonderful, warm reception you gave her last night. Thank you so much- she deserves it. What a great beginning!... I'm very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can't wait until I introduce her to Washington- and let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me first, country second crowd: Change is coming!...

You well know I've been called a maverick, someone who marches to the beat of his own drum: sometimes it's meant as a compliment- sometimes it's not. What it really means is I understand who I work for: I don't work for a Party, I don't work for a special interest, I don't work for myself- I work for you. I've fought corruption and it didn't matter if the culprits were Democrats or Republicans- they violated their public trust and they had to be held accountable. I've fought the big spenders in both Parties who waste your money on things you neither need nor want: and the first big-spending pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it- I will make them famous, and you will know their names: you will know their names!...

I don't mind a good fight: for reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life- but I learned an important lesson along the way: in the end, it matters less that you can fight- what you fight for is the real test. I fight for Americans- I fight for you!... I fight to restore the pride and principles of our Party: we were elected to change Washington and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American People when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption: we lost their trust when, rather than reform government, both Parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when, instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both Parties- and Senator Obama- passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies: we lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles. We're going to change that: we're going to recover the people's trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire- the Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics...

We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the Rule of Law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don't legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods, and communities- we believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn't make your choices for you- but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself. I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can- my opponent will raise them; I will open new markets to our goods and services- my opponent will close them; I will cut government spending- he will increase it. My tax cuts will create jobs- his tax increases will eliminate them. My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance- his plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor...

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy and it often seems that your government hasn't even noticed: government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s- that's going to change on my watch. Now, my opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy: we're going to help workers who've lost a job that won't come back find a new one that won't go away- we will prepare them for the jobs of today: we will use our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities...

Education is the civil rights issue of this century: equal access to public education has been gained- but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice. Let's remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work. When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children and I intend to give it to them... Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats- I want schools to answer to parents and students and, when I'm President, they will!...

Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power- but Americans know better than that: we must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet. My friends, it's an ambitious plan- but Americans are ambitious by nature and we've faced greater challenges: it's time for us to show the world again how Americans lead...

Today, the prospect of a better world remains within our reach- but we must see the threats to peace and liberty in our time clearly and face them as Americans before us did: with confidence, wisdom, and resolve. We have dealt a serious blow to Al Qa'eda in recent years but they're not defeated- and they'll strike us again if they can: Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and is on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia's leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power: they invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world's oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of re-assembling the Russian empire- and the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and our prayers. As President, I'll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War- but we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American People.

We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world but I'm not afraid of them- I'm prepared for them: I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn't do. I know how the world works- I know the good and the evil in it: I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world and how to stand up to those who don't. I know how to secure the peace... I hate war- it's terrible beyond imagination: I'm running for President to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal- diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of our ideals- to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace...

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children. All these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, the information technology revolution, and the end of the Cold War- we have to catch up to History and we have to change the way we do business in Washington. The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn't a cause, it's a symptom: it's what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not for you. Again and again- again and again, I've worked with members of both Parties to fix problems that need to be fixed- that's how I will govern as President: I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. My friends, I have that record and the scars to prove it- Senator Obama does not. Instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn't think of them first, let's use the best ideas from both sides: instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let's try sharing it...

My friends, I've been an imperfect servant of my country for many years- but I've been her servant first, last, and always and I've never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn't thank God for the privilege. Long ago, something unusual happened to me that taught me the most valuable lesson of my life: I was blessed by misfortune- I mean that sincerely: I was blessed because I served in the company of heroes and I witnessed a thousand acts of courage and compassion and love. On an October morning, in the Gulf of Tonkin, I prepared for my 23rd mission over North Vietnam: I hadn't any worry I wouldn't come back safe and sound- I thought I was tougher than anyone: I was pretty independent then, too! I liked to bend a few rules and pick a few fights for the fun of it- but I did it for my own pleasure, my own pride: I didn't think there was a cause that was more important than me. Then I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me: I was dumped in a dark cell and left to die- I didn't feel so tough anymore...

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's: I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here- I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for: I was never the same again- I wasn't my own man anymore: I was my country's. I'm not running for President because I think I'm blessed with such personal greatness that History has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need- my country saved me. My country saved me and I cannot forget it- and I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God...

Fight with me! Fight with me! Fight for what's right for our country! Fight for the ideals and character of a free people! Fight for our children's future! Fight for justice and opportunity for all! Stand up to defend our country from its enemies! Stand up for each other- for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America! Stand up, stand up- stand up and fight! Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans and we never give up, we never quit: we never hide from History- we make history!

After he had finished speaking, Senator McCain stood along on the stage acknowledging the cheers of the assembled and then was joined by his wife, Cindy; shortly thereafter, Governor Palin and her husband, Todd, came onto the stage. Then the families of the running mates came onto the stage as confetti rained down and red, white and blue balloons were released in a display that had been noticeably missing from the other Party's open-air stadium event closing its own Convention exactly a week earlier. As the balloons and confetti began to accumulate (one poor television cameraman was seen with only his head- and the camera itself- poking above a veritable sea of balloons!), the ticket itself- Senator McCain and Governor Palin- stepped forward for the traditional end of Convention photo-op.

After this, both Senator and Mrs. McCain, as well as Governor and Mr. Palin stepped off the stage and each married couple greeted people down on the floor of the Convention in front of the stage. The presidential nominee himself appeared to be "working the room" much as would be expected at a campaign stop-- it was all so unlike Obama's "Barackopolis" setting with the Graeco-Roman columns in Denver: even the symphonic music that accompanied the first portion of the celebration (before piped-in more contemporary popular music replaced it) seemed the more uplifting, more hopeful-- it all made an interesting contrast to what I had seen at the end of the Democratic Convention only the previous week.

Once the stage had been cleared, Permanent Convention Chair John Boehner stepped forward to call on Pastor Dan Yeary of North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona to deliver the Benediction. After this, a delegate from Virginia moved that the 39th Republican National Convention adjourn sine die-- it was seconded and approved viva voce and, with that, this Convention passed into History at 10:26 local time in St. Paul, Minnesota (11:26 PM Eastern Time US [0326 UTC, 5 September 2008]).

 


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