"Let's turn a corner, any corner"

An exclusive look at George W. Bush's nomination speech.


Joyce McGreevy
August 27, 2004 11:20PM (UTC)

I'm George Bush, and I'm reporting for -- I'm making a report. When you make a report it is a reported entity. I ascended this country as a young man, and I will suspend it as president. (Applause.)

I want to thank everybody who's here. And I want to thank 'em right quick for everybody who's not here. Some people don't think like us. They wear T-shirts with bad words on them. That is my name on those T-shirts. I just want to reach out to those people and say, You know, we all have a obligation to vote. But that doesn't mean you have to.

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People got lives, people got families. There's schools out there with tests to take, folks with meals to eat of some sort or other. People busy doing decent things with their neighbors as they would like to be done decent to themselves. People who don't want to waste their god-fearing time explaining to an FBI agent who enters their home late at night whether they accidentally committed voter fraud. Which a lot of people probably commit and do not know it until they are in jail. And when that happens to your elderly grandmother it is sad. It threatens the security of this country.

For those of you here who are moderates, I want to thank you for encouraging your fellow citizens to go to the polls. (Applause.) Please stand over there with Tweeter so he and his boys can get a good look at you. That's right, just walk over with those fine men so they can ask you a few questions and what all.

Let me get on with the thanking. We ought to do more thanking, less thinking. No one ever says "think you." That's got to tell you something. I want to thank veterans for setting such a good example for the folks who wear the uniform today. I would not have known what to wear on that aircraft carrier if it hadn't a been for you.

I also want to thank a boatload of veterans with whom I have no association. Bible says the race is not always to the swift. We'll see about that. Bunch of you pointed out that if John Kerry doesn't want his record of admirable service in Vietnam to be attacked, he shouldn't have had a record in the first place. He kind of set himself up for that one by serving admirably and then testifying to the Senate about the lessons of Vietnam. You didn't see me doing that.

Then John Kerry gets himself another record by serving admirably in the Senate and there you go again. If you got a record of admirable service, folks is naturally going to attack it. Look what happened to John McCain, and he's a friend of mine. And Max Cleland, and he is not. But they had a record. So you shouldn't have any. I sure don't. Or maybe you had records, but someone kept inadvertently expunging them, so what is the point? Records threaten the security of this country.

I'm not even running on a record of my first term as president. Why should I? Would you? We should just keep it positive. So let's turn a corner, any corner, and spread the good word that America is now so much safer that terrorists could attack us at any minute, and you might be one of them.

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If you are a decent folk, don't let the gay spouses get you down. One day they will thank us for protecting them from the marriage penalty, just like the poor people thank us already for protecting them from a death tax in case they ever win the Powerball.

I also remind you that just like the wars of the past, we have got to keep fighting wars of the present and the future. Then go back to the past and start again. We're fighting deadly enemies. Not all of them will fall for the Applebee's coupons or want to see a show on Broadway. Which is what protesters do. They enjoy the arts. They cause terrible harm to lawns. But we will protect and defend that piece of environment.

That's why we're depending on your support. I just came out of a fancy chopper that some brave soldier is going to be flying soon in Iraq. And I told him, and I can tell his loved ones, he'll be missed, but his sacrifice will be worth it to me. And that's all any sacrificer can hope for. (Applause.)

Another thing that's interesting that's happening, is we're doing stuff with the ballistic missile interceptor. It's in a silo called Alaska, where they grow the oil that is right now being threatened by wildlife pollution. Wild lives is not natural. It is a bunch of lives running roughshod. We know how dangerous that is to the precious freedoms of our oil. Anything with a hoof on it or six legs maybe or a pretzel, it's just threatening the security of our country.

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But a missile defense system could feed the whole country, make kids into betterful readers, and find a job for everybody who wants a job. (Applause.) That's kind of its potential. And another thing about a ballistic missile, you can fire it at stuff to shoot it down. (Applause.)

I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system really don't understand the real threats to the security of this country even as Dick and I are standing here. Those oppositioners are living in the past with a lot of French people. We're living in the future where there are only ticket holders that have signed the loyalty oath. That's freedom. The freedom to have some elbow room as you write a check as big as you please. Try it now. Big Fish will collect them, won't you Big Fish? (Applause.)

Next I want to thank the workers of America who helped us overcome the Clinton recession that had 22 million jobs threatening the security of this country. That's what you call a glut on the market, when you have a whole lot of jobs clogging up the economic system. Gluts and clogs, that's not what you want in your system, is it Dick? We flushed the economic system. We stripped it, oiled it, made it leaner and meaner. Now we've got farmers and ranchers somewhere out there -- I saw one once -- and a mighty herd of other people who are free to roam this great land of ours fending for themselves. That's what Americans do. We fend. (Applause.)

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And when you're fending, you don't want to be held back reading about how my opponent will close corporate tax loopholes. What if you're a loophole? Who's going to look out for you? Not some loophole closer.

My opponent wants to take my tax cuts for the rich and turn the money into tax credits for regular folks without increasing the deficit. Now hold on. This is America. You can't just take somebody's tax cut. You have to inherit your own tax cut. That's the American dream. (Applause.) And you can't have a deficit if you aren't willing to add to it. That's just simple accountability. That's stepping up to the treasury plate and taking ownership. Do you all own something? Well, you should try it.

Some of you think we don't hear your cries. Not true. We hear them just fine. (Applause.) We know if you have a child in your family that is a special challenge. Childs have needs, we know that. Good luck with that. (Applause.)

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We helped a small business once. Remember that one in Ohio? I hear it has gone all the way to China now. That's called progress. (Applause.)

I understand there's still people looking for work here in America. So long as anybody wants to work and can't find a job, I know we've got more work to do in Washington, D.C. So that's me and a couple of number crunchers covered, and that should free up every man, woman and children to go out and look for work, too. Let me know how you make out. The rich hires accountants and lawyers, by the way. I'm just saying. Look, it shouldn't be that hard for millions of you to find one little job.

I'll be making sure taxes are low. And if your income is low or you don't have an income, don't worry, you can have high taxes instead. That's balance, and it comes with checks. You balance a check to the rich empowering the middle to give them good economic growth and maybe the rich will have someone on their staff create a job for you. (Applause.)

Be responsible for something. A responsibility society is one in which every CEO in corporate America understands he, she, or us is responsible for sharing the good news at shareholders and the bad news on top of employees.

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You know, there's been a lot of talk about Medicare. Sick people don't want talk. It's bothering when you're trying to recover. They want protection from cheap foreign drugs that threaten the security of this country. They want to put their unpaid overtime into a health savings account. They want medical liability reform. Because people too poor to see a doctor get caught up in survival schemes, start thinking maybe they can sue a doctor some day for what's called malpractice of the possibility. It's a medical fact. Imagine if 44 million people suddenly got their hands on health care and felt staminafied enough to file a lawsuit?

Whereas when you're sick and you don't have a job you just stay in bed watching Court TV. And that's protected under the Constitution. But if you're all raring to go and lawyered up, who would be left to provide personal legal counsel for me and Dick? Who would help the rich prevent injury by taxation? Who's going to keep the legal system free and clear for celebrities and folks who might maybe have killed a spouse or two?

I want to thank our news posse for getting out those important legal briefs to the public, while respecting our privacy in Abu Grub. Go Rib. Gray -- the point is celebrities threaten the security of our country, and we need to monitor that.

And thank you for treating me and my opponent equal. Like when you treat a hard-hitting ad that gives facts the same as one with a pack of lies. Sure do 'preciate it, Wheezer. You too, Fluffy. (Applause.) Wheezer and Fluffy, everybody. (Applause.)

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Or like when I went to Portland, Oregon, and we herded 2,300 pre-selected folks into a high school gym and my opponent just let 50,000 people wander out in the open -- "common ground" the liberals call it -- the reportificators kept things fair and balanced by saying we both "attracted crowds." A crowd is wherever two or more voters is gathered in my name, only I was careful to have fewer threats to the security of our country. I am the best candidate on security matters, but only if security protects me from the American people. (Applause.)

We've done a lot of hard work, but there's more to do to protect this country from the threats of the 21st century. The 21st century is probably the biggest threat there is, unless we stop it. That's why you've got to get Michigan and Pennsylvania and Ohio on a footing with Afghanistan and Iraq. Because a pre-emptive conservative democracy can be a great leveler. And we want everybody to feel that leveling. Then all you have left is the winds of peace blowing through and nobody's going to get ornery. Orneriness is the number one threat to the security of this country.

We want to replace being ornery with compassion. You can have compassion even if you are in prison, or out of work, or just some little kid out on the street heading for school because your mom is an evildoer who wants a job and your dad is a known voter, which in Florida is a felony. We need to bring that family together. And then you can take compassion and shove it into some sort of volunteer activity and pretty soon everybody is a volunteer, even in the workplace.

That's why when I travel this great country of mine telling you about its many threats, I want you to round up everybody who needs compassion. Because launching the compassion agenda comes right after finding weapons of mass destruction. Which a poll says we did, kinda. Poll says weapons of mass destruction now exist in the belief systems of our favorite voters. They're in our hearts, our minds.

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Plus I will find out what happened to $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that we gave to folks over there, including some to Halliburton, that nobody can rightly account for. Dick, have you seen it? No? Good enough. Now let's get out there and kick some major compassion. God bless America. And God bless the fear of threats to the security of this country -- without that, we're nothing.

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Editor's note: Be George Bush's speechwriter! Write your version of the president's speech accepting the Republican nomination and win a year of Salon Premium and your choice of either of Salon's acclaimed community sites, The WELL or Salon Table Talk. Details here.


Joyce McGreevy

Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

MORE FROM Joyce McGreevy

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