Archive - Commentary
August 30th, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 08:05 PM
I’m a rancher who has made my living raising cattle and growing wheat, barley and alfalfa in Montana, a beautiful place with soaring peaks, pristine rivers and endless prairies. I’m probably a little biased, but I think it’s the best place in the world to raise a family, to start and grow a business, and to build a community.
When I ran for governor of Montana, I had never before held elected office. I chose a Republican, John Bohlinger, to be my lieutenant governor, with the simple proposition that we could get more done working together than we could fighting. Because Montana really isn’t a red state or a blue state. As Senator Obama might put it, we’re a united state.
And so in three-and-a-half years, working together—Republicans and Democrats in Montana—we have cut more taxes for more Montanans than any time in history, increased energy production at the fastest rate in the history of Montana, invested more new money in education than ever before and we created the largest budget surplus in the history of Montana. That’s the kind of change we brought to Montana, and that’s the kind of change President Barack Obama is going to bring to America.
Like Senator Obama, my family has roots in the Great Plains. My grandparents were immigrants who came to Montana with nothing more than the clothes on their back, high hopes and faith in God. My family didn’t have much in our little house. But a few things stand out in my memory: a crucifix and, on our kitchen wall, a framed picture of President Kennedy. My parents never even graduated from high school, but President Kennedy’s idealism and spirit of possibility inspired them to send all six of us children to college. And when he said, “we’re going to the moon,” he showed us that no challenge was insurmountable.
DENVER, August 27, 2008
Below are the remarks of Joe Biden as prepared for delivery at the Democratic National Convention.
By Joe Biden
Beau, I love you. I am so proud of you. Proud of the son you are. Proud of the father you’ve become. And I’m so proud of my son Hunter, my daughter Ashley, and my wife Jill, the only one who leaves me breathless and speechless at the same time.
It is an honor to share this stage tonight with President Clinton. And last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of the great leaders of our party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history: my colleague and my friend, Senator Hillary Clinton.
And I am honored to represent our first state-my state-Delaware.
Since I’ve never been called a man of few words, let me say this as simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve alongside our next President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: “The vice president’s office is on the phone.”
Barack Obama and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then Wilmington, Delaware. With a dad who fell on hard economic times, but who always told me: “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”
I wish that my dad was here tonight, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here. You know, she taught her children-all the children who flocked to our house-that you are defined by your sense of honor, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes bravery lives in every heart and her expectation is that it will be summoned.
Below are the remarks of John Kerry as prepared for delivery at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008:
By Sen. John Kerry
Thank you so much. Four years ago, you gave me the honor of fighting our fight. I was proud to stand with you then, and I am proud to stand with you now, to help elect Barack Obama as President of the United States.
In 2004, we came so close to victory. We are even closer now, and let me tell you, this time we’re going to win. Today, the call for change is more powerful than ever, and with more seats in Congress, with more people with more passion engaged in our politics, and with a President Obama, we stand on the brink of the greatest opportunity of our generation to move this country forward.
The stakes could not be higher, because we do know what a McCain administration would look like: just like the past, just like George Bush. And this country can’t afford a third Bush term. Just think: John McCain voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Ninety percent of George Bush is just more than we can take.
Never in modern history has an administration squandered American power so recklessly. Never has strategy been so replaced by ideology. Never has extremism so crowded out common sense and fundamental American values. Never has short-term partisan politics so depleted the strength of America’s bipartisan foreign policy.
George Bush, with John McCain at his side, promised to spread freedom but delivered the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. They misread the threat and misled the country. Instead of freedom, it’s Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and dictators everywhere that are on the march. North Korea has more bombs, and Iran is defiantly chasing one.
Below are the remarks as prepared for delivery of former Virginia governor Mark Warner at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008:
By Sen. Mark Warner,
My fellow Democrats. My fellow Americans. The most important contest of our generation has begun.
Not the campaign for the presidency. Not the campaign for Congress. But the race for the future. And I believe from the bottom of my heart with the right vision, the right leadership, and the energy and creativity of the American people, there is no nation that we can't out hustle or out compete. And no American need be left out or left behind.
Yes, the race for the future is on, and it won't be won if only some Americans are in the running. It won't be won with yesterday's ideas and yesterday's divisions. And it won't be won with a president who is stuck in the past.
We need a president who understands the world today, the future we seek, and the change we need. We need Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
Now - I have a unique perspective on this race for the future. Like many of you, I was the first in my family to graduate from college. It was made possible by supportive parents, good public schools, and since my folks didn't have the resources, thank goodness for the student loan program.
After I graduated law school, it didn't take long to realize that America really wouldn't miss me as a lawyer. So I started a business. My first company failed in six weeks. My next one was much more successful. It failed in six months.
And then, a buddy of mine told me that there was this new idea. This thing called "car telephones" ... "cell phones." Friends told me: "Warner get a real job... No one's going to want a phone in the car." But I saw a different future. And with luck and a lot of hard work, I got in on the ground floor of the cell phone industry.
As you might imagine, for Barack, running for president is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig.
I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.
At six-foot-six, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too - literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me - he was watching over me.
And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when - with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change - we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that's brought us to this moment.
But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.
I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.
I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.
I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world - they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future - and all our children's future - is my stake in this election.
And I come here as a daughter - raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.
Speech at Democratic convention by former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa
As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic. In less than a decade America’s political and economic standing in the world has been diminished. Our nation’s extraordinary leadership in so many areas is simply not reflected in the partisan bickering and ideological politics of Washington. Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.
The platform of this transformative figure is a call for change. The change Barack Obama is advocating is far more than a break with today’s politics. It is a clarion call for renewal rooted in time-tested American values that tap Republican, as well as Democratic traditions.
Perspective is difficult to bring to events of the day, but in sweeping terms, there have been four great debates in our history to which both parties have contributed. The first debate, led by Thomas Jefferson, the first Democrat to be elected president, centered on the question of whether a country could be established, based on The Rights of Man.
The second debate, led by Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to be elected president, was about definitions—whether The Rights of Man applied to individuals who were neither pale nor male. It took almost two centuries of struggle, hallmarked by a civil war, the suffrage and abolitionist movements, the Harlem renaissance and a courageous civil rights leadership to bring meaning to the values embedded in the Declaration of Independence.
Below are the remarks of Hillary Clinton as prepared for delivery at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 26, 2008:
I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.
Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.
This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.
I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.
And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.
No way. No how. No McCain.
Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President.
Tonight we need to remember what a Presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you -- the American people, your lives, and your children’s futures.
For me, it’s been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America’s greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people -- your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.
You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and . . . you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.
I read and was deeply troubled by the article recently published in the Addison Independent headlined “Schools consider ‘Pledge.’ More specifically, I take offense at any citizen who likens the “…Pledge to a blind oath of loyalty.”