Alexander's Column

2004 Republican Convention

Mark Alexander · Sep. 3, 2004

The Republican Convention concluded this week. It was a great success – building mostly on the subjects of liberty and security as a matter of national and family survival.

Each evening provided memorable comments around themes of national courage, protecting U.S. interests around the world, this land of opportunity, compassionate conservatives (as Nancy Reagan was fond of asking, “Are there any other kind?”) and hope for the future.

The Patriot’s editors have reviewed every word and give the highest marks to, in order of appearance, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Georgia Democrat Senator Zell Miller, and, of course, President George Bush, whose speech outlined a clear vision for his next term. In keeping with our practice in election years, we have compiled the “Best of the Best” – quotes from various speakers, which best reflect the Republican Party’s position on important topics – which we have compiled for easy review.

On leadership:

“George Bush 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.” –Arnold Schwarzenegger

“He’ll always tell you what he really thinks. You can count on him, especially in a crisis. His friends don’t change – and neither do his values. He has boundless energy and enthusiasm for his job, and for life itself. He treats every person he meets with dignity and respect; the same dignity and respect he has for the office he holds.” –Laura Bush

“I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family? 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. … 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.” –Zell Miller

“Thank God George Bush is our President. … Since September 11th President Bush has remained rock solid. It doesn’t matter how he is demonized. It doesn’t matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him. They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists, leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom. Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership. President Bush has the courage of his convictions. In choosing a president, we really don’t choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal. We choose a leader.” –Rudy Giuliani

“For giving America courageous leadership in times of trial, decisive leadership in times of crisis, we thank you, Mr. President. You have restored honor and dignity to the White House.” –Elizabeth Dole

“I want to help voters compare President Bush’s record of achievement with Senator Kerry’s. That way they’ll be able to see the difference, which is that President Bush has a record of achievement.” –George Pataki

On 9/11 and the campaign against terror:

“George W. Bush 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.” –Arnold Schwarzenegger

“President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront it in the streets of New York. John Kerry’s record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence he’ll pursue such a determined course.” –Rudy Giuliani

“Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations. Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide. … Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today’s Democrat 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.” –Sen. Zell Miller

“[W]e are living in the midst of the most historic struggle my generation has ever known. The stakes are so high. So I want to talk about the issue that I believe is most important for my own daughters, for all our families, and for our future: George’s work to protect our country and defeat terror so that all children can grow up in a more peaceful world.” –Laura Bush

“Just as surely as the Nazis during World War Two and the Soviet communists 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.” –Dick Cheney

On the War with Jihadistan:

“Our choice wasn’t between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents. And certainly not a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam’s Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls. … Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war.” –John McCain

“President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront it in the streets of New York. John Kerry’s record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence he’ll pursue such a determined course.” –Rudy Giuliani

“In fact, in 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, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.” –Dick Cheney

“Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most? Now, while 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 the Democrats’ 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 that 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, 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. …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.” –Sen. Zell Miller

“America did not choose this war. But we have a President who chooses to win it. This is no ordinary time. The stakes could not be higher. Fate has handed our generation a grave new threat to freedom. And fortune has given us a leader who will defend that freedom. This is no ordinary time. And George W. Bush is no ordinary leader.” –George Pataki

On the economy:

“There’s 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. And to those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don’t be economic girlie-men. The U.S. economy remains the envy of the world. We have the highest economic growth of any of the world’s major industrialized nations. … We may hit a few bumps – but America always moves ahead! That’s what Americans do! We move prosperity ahead. We move freedom ahead. We move people ahead. Under President Bush and Vice President Cheney, America’s economy is moving ahead in spite of a recession they inherited and in spite of the attack on our homeland.” –Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Opportunity also depends on a vibrant, growing economy. As President Bush and I were sworn into office, our nation was sliding into recession, and American workers were overburdened with federal taxes. Then came the events of September 11th, which hit our economy very hard. So President Bush delivered the greatest tax reduction in a generation, and the results are clear to see. Businesses are creating jobs. People are returning to work. Mortgage rates are low, and home ownership in this country is at an all-time high. The Bush tax cuts are working.” –Dick Cheney

On social issues:

“Our nation has the best healthcare in the world, and President Bush is making it more affordable and accessible to all Americans. And there is more to do. Under this President’s leadership, we will reform medical liability so the system serves patients and good doctors, not personal injury lawyers.” –Dick Cheney

“Let’s be clear: you can no longer be both pro-patient and pro-trial lawyer. John Kerry has made his choice. He put a trial lawyer on his ticket. By his votes and by his actions, he is the ‘Dr. No’ of tort reform in America.” –Bill Frist

“Marriage is important not because it is a convenient invention or the latest reality show: marriage is important because it is the cornerstone of civilization, and the foundation of the family. Marriage between a man and a woman isn’t something Republicans invented, but it is something Republicans will defend.” –Elizabeth Dole

On Republican principles:

“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, 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!” –Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Democrats are running from Senator Kerry’s record, and we’re running on President Bush’s.” –Ed Gillespie

On Democrats:

“[John Kerry] also recently said that he doesn’t want to use the word ‘war’ to describe our efforts to fight terrorism. Well, I don’t want to use the words ‘commander in chief’ to describe John Kerry.” –Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele

“On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. 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 is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement and against it. He is for the Patriot Act and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual – America sees two John Kerrys. … Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief and that is to support American troops in combat.” –Dick Cheney

“Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security, but Americans need to know the facts. The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40% of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom. The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein’s command post in Iraq. The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi’s Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora. The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation’s Capital and this very city after 9/11. I could go on and on and on: Against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein’s scud missiles over Israel, Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the Trident missile, against, against, against. This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?” –Zell Miller

“[Kerry] voted NO on Desert Storm in 1991 and YES on Desert Shield today. Then he voted NO on troop funding, just after he had voted YES. He’s campaigned against the war all year, but says he’d vote YES today. I don’t want Presidential leadership that comes in 57 varieties! I want a strong President who stands his ground.” –Mitt Romney

“We heard one word over and over again at the Democrat Convention: Hope. But there is a problem, my friends: Hope is not a strategy. Hope doesn’t protect you from terrorists, hope doesn’t lower your taxes, hope doesn’t help you buy a home, and hope doesn’t ensure quality education for your kids. As the book of James reminds us, ‘It is not enough just to have faith. Faith that does not show itself by good deeds is no faith at all.’ You see, it’s results that matter; and President Bush does not just talk about hope, he stands on a record of putting hope into action for America.” –Michael Steele

President Bush’s remarks on liberty:

“The story of America is the story of expanding liberty: an ever-widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more. Our Nation’s founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom. … And we are working to advance liberty in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring a future of hope, and the peace we all want. And we will prevail. … I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. … The progress we and our friends and allies seek in the broader Middle East will not come easily, or all at once. Yet Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of liberty to transform lives and nations.

"I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. … I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make. Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.

"I proposed, and the Congress overwhelmingly passed, 87 billion dollars in funding needed by our troops doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor. When asked to explain his vote, the [Kerry] said, ‘I actually did vote for the 87 billion dollars before I voted against it.’ Then he said he was ‘proud’ of that vote. Then, when pressed, he said it was a ‘complicated’ matter. There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.

"Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida’s key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer. … Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace. So our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned.

"I am proud that our country remains the hope of the oppressed, and the greatest force for good on this earth. … The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march. I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. … And as freedom advances heart by heart, and nation by nation, America will be more secure and the world more peaceful. … I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty. I believe that, given the chance, they will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. I believe all these things because freedom is not America’s gift to the world, it is the Almighty God’s gift to every man and woman in this world.”

President Bush on his domestic agenda:

“I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor America’s seniors, so I brought Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare. … To make health care more affordable and accessible, we must pass medical-liability reform now. … We must protect small-business owners and workers from the explosion of frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across America. … The American people deserve and our economic future demands a simpler, fairer, pro-growth system. In a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. … [Kerry’s] policies of tax and spend and of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity are the policies of the past. We are on the path to the future and we are not turning back. … I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law.

"Our society rests on a foundation of responsibility and character and family commitment. … My opponent recently announced that he is the candidate of ‘conservative values,’ which must have come as a surprise to a lot of his supporters. Now, there are some problems with this claim. If you say the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood, I’m afraid you are not the candidate of conservative values. If you voted against the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act, which President Clinton signed, you are not the candidate of conservative values. If you gave a speech, as my opponent did, calling the Reagan presidency eight years of ‘moral darkness,’ then you may be a lot of things, but the candidate of conservative values is not one of them.”

President Bush on the new American Century:

“The freedom of many, and the future security of our Nation, now depend on us. And tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me.

"These four years have brought moments I could not foresee and will not forget. I have tried to comfort Americans who lost the most on September 11th – people who showed me a picture or told me a story – so I would know how much was taken from them. I have learned first-hand that ordering Americans into battle is the hardest decision, even when it is right. I have returned the salute of wounded soldiers, some with a very tough road ahead, who say they were just doing their job. I’ve held the children of the fallen, who are told their dad or mom is a hero, but would rather just have their dad or mom.

"And I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final good-bye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong.

"My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose. … This young century will be liberty’s century. … Now we go forward grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.

"Two months from today, voters will make a choice based on the records we have built, the convictions we hold, and the vision that guides us forward. A presidential election is a contest for the future.”

In summary:

With “moderates” on parade at Madison Square Garden, Kerry’s ilk and their Leftmedia minions are apoplectic about the number of Republican moderates speaking at the GOP Convention this week. They complain “the featured speakers don’t represent the Republican platform.” The Republican “diversity” (as the Left tags it) showcases the tolerance that Puritan Liberal orthodoxy cannot tolerate: Republicans honor diverse views, but majority rules on the platform planks.

It is the strength of the ideas conservatives hold in common – like national defense and fiscal responsibility – that bind, more than the disagreements on social issues divide. Thus, the RNC can show a moderate face, a conservative heart and a calculating mind at their own convention.

In the words of Senator Miller, “This election will change forever the course of history, and that’s not any history. It’s our family’s history. Right now the world just cannot afford an indecisive America. Fainthearted self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world. In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him.”

While The Federalist Patriot does not play in the political futures market (which is why we never, for example, report political polls), it is worth noting that in January of 2001, three weeks before George Bush took his oath of office, Patriot No. 01-01 offered this analysis (amid the Left’s contention that Albert Gore really won that election): “Leftists and conservatives alike are significantly underestimating Mr. Bush’s ability to breathe new life into the conservative agenda. But one thing the Left is not underestimating is the potential for Mr. Bush to unify the nation around his agenda and win big in 2004. After all, in his first run for Texas governor, he defeated his father’s nemesis, Demo-gogue Clintonista Ann Richards, and went on to win a second term in an unprecedented landslide. It should be noted that Mr. Bush will be doing much more than installing new administration faces after January 20th. He will be restoring a few things that have been painfully absent from the presidency for eight long years – most notably, honor and common decency. For that, all Americans should be thankful.”

We stand by this assessment today, not because we agree with all of the Bush administration initiatives – indeed, we have roundly criticized many of President Bush’s domestic spending initiatives. But, as we projected, George W. Bush has restored honor and decency to the White House. Unlike John Kerry, President Bush is an honorable and decent man – a leader who has proven himself under the most difficult of circumstances while remaining humble. Unlike Kerry, George Bush is plain-spoken, which is to say he does not speak in an elitist Beltway dialect, and that confounds many political pundits and those in the Leftmedia. But his plain-spoken manner combined with his genuine honor and humility resonate with the majority of Americans.

For that reason, we believe President Bush will overcome the Leftmedia’s stranglehold on public opinion, and defeat John Kerry in November.

Quote of the week…

“My father served eight years at the side of another great American, Ronald Reagan. His spirit of optimism and goodwill and decency are in this hall, and in our hearts, and will always define our party.” –President George Bush