I was at work yesterday evening when the volume was turned up on many of the ubiquitous TV sets to listen to former President Jimmy Carter address the Democrat convention. It was all I could do to contain some of my comments as several reporters lined up to watch.
My name is Jimmy Carter, and I'm not running for president.
Thank you, Lord.
But here's what I will be doing: everything I can to put John Kerry in the White House with John Edwards right there beside him.
Twenty-eight years ago I was running for president, and I said then, "I want a government as good and as honest and as decent and as competent and as compassionate as are the American people."
Honest? Check. Decent? I suppose so. Compassionate? Neh. Competent? Can you say "stagflation"?
I say this again tonight, and that is exactly what we will have next January with John Kerry as president of the United States.
Well, according to John Kerry's contrived "misery index" the Carter years were great.
As many of you know, my first chosen career was in the United States Navy, where I served as a submarine officer. At that time, my shipmates and I were ready for combat and prepared to give our lives to defend our nation and its principles.
At the same time, we always prayed that our readiness would preserve the peace. I served under two presidents, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, men who represented different political parties. Both of whom had faced their active military responsibilities with honor.
Ah, we have our first anti-Bush dig. Somehow National Guard service isn't honorable? This wasn't what Kerry was saying in 1992 when the Democrats nominated a draft dodger. Do the Democrats really want to go down this road?
They knew the horrors of war, and later, as commanders-in-chief, they exercised restraint and judgment and had a clear sense of mission. We had confidence that our leaders, military and civilian, would not put our soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating "wars of choice" unless America's vital interests were endangered.
This is perhaps one of the most offensive (as in disgusting) of Carter's thinly veiled attacks on President Bush. After all, even John Kerry and John Edwards voted for the "war of choice" -- before they voted against it. Kerry and Edwards were the ones who voted against necessary funding for the war in Iraq.
We also were sure that these presidents would not mislead us when it came to issues involving our nation's security.
I question the timing of this statement. After the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that there was no evidence that President Bush misled the country on the intelligence on Iraq, the Democrats scheduled this speech to draw attention away from it.
Today, our Democratic party is led by another former naval officer -- one who volunteered for military service. He showed up when assigned to duty, and he served with honor and distinction.
Oh, another Bush dig. You know, I heard that John Kerry won the Purple Heart -- maybe even more than one! This didn't bother the Democrats in 1992. Heck, they didn't even want to bring it up in 2000. Al Gore served in Vietnam too -- but that senator's son had a bodyguard.
He also knows the horrors of war and the responsibilities of leadership, and I am confident that next January he will restore the judgment and maturity to our government that is sorely lacking today. I am proud to call Lieutenant John Kerry my shipmate, and I am ready to follow him to victory in November.
Responsibilities of leadership? Like voting for funding for the troops after you've voted to send them to war?
As you know, our country faces many challenges at home involving energy, taxation, the environment, education, and health. To meet these challenges, we need new leaders in Washington whose policies are shaped by working American families instead of the super-rich and their armies of lobbyists. But the biggest reason to make John Kerry president is even more important. It is to safeguard the security of our nation.
Remind me which party's nominee has the most money? John Kerry is no Bill Clinton -- or Jimmy Carter -- when it comes to knowing about "working American families."
Today, our dominant international challenge is to restore the greatness of America -- based on telling the truth, a commitment to peace, and respect for civil liberties at home and basic human rights around the world. Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world. Without truth -- without trust -- America cannot flourish. Trust is at the very heart of our democracy, the sacred covenant between the president and the people.
The whole Bush lied thing is getting old -- mainly because its been disproven. John Kerry has whitewashed the disgraced Ambassador Joseph Wilson from his Web site and it was Sandy Berger who was pocketing classified documents.
There's a difference between having bad intelligence and not telling the truth. Every investigation has shown that the Bush administration did not lie. Neither did the British. Nor the French. Nor the Russians. Nor the U.N. Everyone believed that Iraq was hiding banned weapons from international inspectors. Searches of post-Saddam Iraq have found 30+ mustard and sarin gas filled shells, rocket programs that violated U.N. limits and plans in place to restart biological, chemical and nuclear programs once sanctions had been lifted.
Democrats conveniently forget that U.N. resolution 1441 the French and Russians were pushing to have sanctions lifted.
When that trust is violated, the bonds that hold our republic together begin to weaken. After 9/11, America stood proud, wounded but determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent civilians brought us an unprecedented level of cooperation and understanding around the world. But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations. Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism.
Exactly which countries aren't helping us combat terrorism? Because France and Germany aren't in Iraq are they suggesting that we're not getting their assistance when it comes to tracking down terror cells or financing? Is John Kerry running for the presidency of the United States or France? They seem to value French approval more than U.S. security.
Let us not forget that the Soviets lost the Cold War because the American people combined the exercise of power with adherence to basic principles, based on sustained bipartisan support. We understood the positive link between the defense of our own freedom and the promotion of human rights. Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of freedom and justice. What a difference these few months of extremism have made!
This had me laughing out loud when I heard it at work. The Soviets lost the Cold War because of bipartisan support for President Reagan's defense build-up? This is revisionist history in the extreme. During the 1980s as Reagan called the soviet system what it was -- evil -- Democrats weren't alarmed by the California cowboy. Nope, their support was bipartisan. Which side was Kerry on as he called for a nuclear freeze?
The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of "preemptive" war. With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore life to the global war against terrorism.
How? That's been my question for months. Kerry's foreign policy seems to be the same as President Bush's except that Kerry apparently has Tinkerbell's magic fairy dust that somehow will make the French and Germans like us.
In the meantime, the Middle East peace process has come to a screeching halt for the first time since Israel became a nation.
For the first time? 1956. 1967. 1973. You know, when all of the Arab armies are heading toward Tel Aviv, I think the "peace process" is pretty much halted.
All former presidents, Democratic and Republican, have attempted to secure a comprehensive peace for Israel with hope and justice for the Palestinians. The achievements of Camp David a quarter century ago and the more recent progress made by President Bill Clinton are now in peril.
Progress under Bill Clinton...yeah...and then what happened? Arafat started his own private war -- before Bush even took office. The Palestinians and Israelis both have to want peace. Most Palestinians don't want it, some Israelis don't either. The belief that American presidents somehow can bring peace about through pure strength of will is bogus.
Instead, violence has gripped the Holy Land, with the region increasingly swept by anti-American passions. Elsewhere, North Korea's nuclear menace -- a threat far more real and immediate than any posed by Saddam Hussein -- has been allowed to advance unheeded, with potentially ominous consequences for peace and stability in Northeast Asia. These are some of the prices of our government's radical departure from the basic American principles and values espoused by John Kerry!
Anti-American passions in the Middle East? Who would've guessed it. You don't think that whole Iranian hostage crisis made the news way back when do you?
As far as North Korea, Jimmy, weren't you involved in creating that situation with your freelance diplomacy? That agreed framework thing that allowed the North Koreans to continue their nuclear program was partly your doing, wasn't it?
In repudiating extremism we need to recommit ourselves to a few common- sense principles that should transcend partisan differences. First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what is most precious to us, namely, the centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in global affairs. Second, we cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic. Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country. Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others. And finally, in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.
We, the Democrat Party, demand a new symbol -- the ostrich. We don't want to be warned about potential terror attacks, because it's bad for our self-confidence.
Again with the "mislead"-ing. I'll listen when you guys can come up with some evidence of this aside from Joseph "the liar" Wilson.
You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest political polls. When our national security requires military action, John Kerry has already proven in Vietnam that he will not hesitate to act. And as a proven defender of our national security, John Kerry will strengthen the global alliance against terrorism while avoiding unnecessary wars.
I have every confidence that if somebody fires a gun at John Kerry that he will shoot back. I have less confidence that he can make a decision when the issues, choices and challenges are not so black and white. Kerry's judgements throughout his Senate career concern me. I'm also confident that Kerry will avoid unnecessary wars. But I'm concerned that Kerry will also avoid necessary wars.
Ultimately, the issue is whether America will provide global leadership that springs from the unity and integrity of the American people or whether extremist doctrines and the manipulation of truth will define America's role in the world.
I'm glad that Jimmy Carter isn't calling supporters of the current administration extremists, because that would be divisive. And that manipulation of truth thing -- you're not saying that because you keep on implying that your political opponents "mislead" when the evidence shows that they did not? I think psychiatrists call that "projection."
At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul. In a few months, I will, God willing, enter my 81st year of my life, and in many ways the last few months have been some of the most disturbing of all. But I am not discouraged. I do not despair for our country. I believe tonight, as I always have, that the essential decency, compassion and common sense of the American people will prevail.
The American people's common sense prevailed nearly 24 years ago -- I too am confident that it will again.
And so I say to you and to others around the world, whether they wish us well or ill: do not underestimate us Americans. We lack neither strength nor wisdom. There is a road that leads to a bright and hopeful future. What America needs is leadership. Our job, my fellow Americans, is to ensure that the leaders of this great country will be John Kerry and John Edwards.
Thank you and God bless America!
Blah blah blah. Thanks for coming out of retirement to remind us why we elected Reagan -- twice.