This election cycle has been the most depressing of my lifetime – and after 2012, that’s saying something. Following 2012, and after Obergfell, I felt as if I was a man without a country. But in 2016, I fear I may now be a man without a party. Coming into this election cycle, I bought the lines about our “deep bench” and daydreamed about the conservative stalwart our party would choose, believing our party would ultimately unite behind a true standard bearer. But now we’ve been blindsided and hijacked by a mob ranting about “making America great,” at any cost, even if it means allying with people whose lifestyles and beliefs are the antithesis of those which made America great.
Meanwhile, we’ve gotten distracted, arguing among ourselves as to who is “most conservative” – as if the vast majority of Americans actually care if a 100 percent conservative purity score is demonstrably better than a 98 percent score.
Tonight, I sincerely hope this error begins to be corrected, as our side begins to train its fire on the televangelist conman selling them anger, vitriol and lies, and expose the nonsense he has peddled for months.
But from there, I’d like to see one of the candidates up the ante, wrest control of the slogan on those ugly hats and begin a conversation about what makes America great. It may be too late to change the minds of those whose minds and sensibilities have been given over to hate and rage, but it may be what’s needed to persuade those still persuadable. And besides, what we’ve tried to date hasn’t worked at all.
My fellow Republicans,
Early next week, millions of you will make your choice for who should represent our party this fall, as we seek to win back a White House that, frankly, for the last eight years, has disrespected this great nation.
For the last eight years, we have been treated to the spectacle of a president who would rather cavort with celebrities and pretend to be a star of film and screen, favoring the company of movie stars, recording artists and radical activists than that of the men and women whose sacrifice daily, as soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen, police officers, firefighters and EMTs, among so many others, keeps our nation safe and free. He also has regarded with contempt so many of those whose hard work, intelligence, and bold and adventurous spirit have built businesses from the ground up, created jobs and produced the world’s greatest and most diverse economy.
We have witnessed a president who, for the last eight years, has believed, by virtue of his own political views, he is somehow president of less than half of this great nation, whose actions and demeanor towards those with whom he disagrees have belied any grandiose speech of there being “no blue states, or red states, just one United States; a president who has turned the White House – the people’s house – into a backdrop to celebrate narrow judicial victories with no regard for the hundreds of millions of Americans who vehemently disagreed, and ridiculing those who soberly asked, “OK, what now?” or requested the chance to politely abstain from participating in ceremonies which would violate the tenets of their faith; a president who has actively worked to undermine our constitutional system of governance, picking and choosing the laws he will enforce, or, worse, dispatching an army of nameless, faceless, unelected federal bureaucrats, tax collectors and lawyers to wreak havoc upon his political opponents and destroy the lives and livelihood of American citizens, whose commitment to citizenship, patriotism and the rule of law compels them to comply and respect the office, if not the man holding it.
We have for eight years lived with a president whose entire method of governance is to pit one group of Americans against another, while paying lipservice to the ideal of unity.
We have seen a president who has to be pulled off a golf course to pose for a photo as some of America’s bravest move in to render justice upon one of the world’s greatest villains.
We have for eight years, lived with a president who is more concerned about what people say about him, or what history will say about him, or what late night talk show hosts and celebrity gossip sites will say about him, than doing what is right for America.
Ladies and gentleman watching tonight, I say we have had enough of this kind of petulant, juvenile behavior.
It is time to elect a president who really understands what has made America great – and what will keep it great:
My fellow Republicans, I submit to you that America was not made great by being a bully. We were not made great by classless boors, who denigrate and threaten those with whom we disagree, who ridicule those less fortunate for us, or laugh at those whose bank accounts are smaller than ours.
I submit to you: America was made great by hundreds of millions of decent folks throughout our storied history, from all walks of life, whose courage and commitment to the undying principles of faith, family and freedom for all freed slaves, brought down tyrants and built a nation whose constitution, stability, system of governance and economy – dare I say, our greatness – has been the envy and desire of the world, as witnessed by the never-ending stream of people from around the world who wish to call America home.
Tonight, I ask you to consider that what truly has made America great is what is embodied in the life stories of so many, who, like me, rose from nothing to live out the dream we all tell our children:
In America, with commitment, hard work and God’s blessing, anyone can achieve anything – and any child can grow up to be President of the United States.
Tonight, I ask for your vote, as we begin the work of undoing the destructive legacy of the last eight years, and restate our commitment to the undying principles of our party and our country, best expressed in the words of Abraham Lincoln:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Good night. I thank you for your support. And may God bless the United States of America.