< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://davejustus.com/" >

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Arnold Schwarzenegger gave his speech at the Republican Convention tonight (Transcript here). All in all I thought it was a good speech, but not as impressive as either of the speeches last night. His broad purpose was to outline the 'big tent' of the Republican party and provide a strong endorsement for George Bush and the War on Terror. He accomplished both admirably. He started with his history, how he came to America and what it meant, and then he explained how he became a Republican, in a way that surprised me:

finally arrived here in 1968.I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon and Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend who spoke German and English, translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism -- which is what I had just left. But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting government off your back, lowering taxes, and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air. I said to my friend, "What party is he?" My friend said, "He's a Republican." I said, "Then I am a Republican!" And I've been a Republican ever since! And trust me, in my wife's family, that's no small achievement! I'm proud to belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan -- and the party of George W. Bush.
I certainly didn't expect to hear Nixon lauded at this convention and I don't think anyone else did either. The big tent part of his speech was focused on how you know you are a Republican even if you disagree with some of the specific positions of the platform. It was aimed to a degree at immigrants, but I think will have a pretty good resonance with a lot of independents.
Now, many of you out there tonight are "Republican" like me in your hearts and in your beliefs. Maybe you're from Guatemala. Maybe you're from the Philippines. Maybe Europe or the Ivory Coast. Maybe you live in Ohio -- Pennsylvania -- or New Mexico. And maybe -- just maybe -- you don't agree with this party on every single issue. I say to you tonight I believe that's not only OK -- that's what's great about this country. Here we can respectfully disagree and still be patriotic -- still be American -- and still be good Republicans. My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans, how do you know if you are a Republican? I'll tell you how. 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! There is 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. To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don't be economic girlie men!
This is probably as good of a synopsis of the core Republican beliefs that I have ever heard, although admittedly it did leave out the positions of the Religious Right. Since I am pretty much with Schwarzenegger on what I like and dislike about the Republican Party, I enjoyed this. It was also interesting that he gave his 'girlie men' line that he had caught a lot of criticism over again. Next he went into a very pro-American, patriotic section of the speech that moved into the war on Terror. This section here was quite stirring.
You know, when the Germans brought down the Berlin Wall -- America's determination helped wield the sledgehammers. When that lone, young Chinese man stood in front of those tanks in Tiananmen Square -- America's hopes stood with him. And when Nelson Mandela smiled in election victory after all those years in prison America celebrated, too. We are still the lamp lighting the world -- especially for those who struggle. No matter in what labor camp they slave -- no matter in what injustice they're trapped -- they hear our call ... they see our light ... and they feel the pull of our freedom. They come here -- as I did -- because they believe. They believe in US.
It was a rebuttal to the belief that America has only enemies in the rest of the world. Like I said, a good, if not great, speech. Perhaps Schwarzenegger's greatest contribution to the convention was just him being there, and being Schwarzenegger.


Post a Comment

<< Home