Below the fold is the advance copy of the speech that John McCain made today at Virginia Beach. It may disappoint those who wanted more red meat about Obama’s working relationship with an unrepentant domestic terrorist, or his ongoing links with organizations apparently devoted to voter registration fraud; it might distress those who wanted (and who thought that they were getting) a radical change in his stated economic policy, and never mind that the man has a history about being right on the central issue of our current crisis (as opposed to his opponent, who has a history about studiously avoiding having one at all); and, of course, several people will be OUTRAGED that their pet issue was not covered at all. Welcome to the Internet: here’s your accordion.
You know something, though? It’s a good speech. It doesn’t lie. It doesn’t confuse being behind with being beaten. It tells you what McCain wants to do, and how he’s going to do it. He’s not apologizing, he’s not quitting, and he’s not trying to make you afraid so that you’ll vote for him.
I had more, but it was just belaboring the point, which is this:
Vote for the grown-ups.
Three weeks from now, you will choose a new President. Choose well. There is much at stake.
These are hard times. Our economy is in crisis. Financial markets are collapsing. Credit is drying up. Your savings are in danger. Your retirement is at risk. Jobs are disappearing. The cost of health care, your children’s college, gasoline and groceries are rising all the time with no end in sight. While your most important asset — your home — is losing value every day.
Americans are fighting in two wars. We face many enemies in this dangerous world, and they are waiting to see if our current troubles will permanently weaken us.
The next President won’t have time to get used to the office. He won’t have the luxury of studying up on the issues before he acts. He will have to act immediately. And to do that, he will need experience, courage, judgment and a bold plan of action to take this country in a new direction. We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now. We have to fight.
I’ve been fighting for this country since I was seventeen years old, and I have the scars to prove it. If I’m elected President, I will fight to take America in a new direction from my first day in office until my last. I’m not afraid of the fight, I’m ready for it.
I’m not going to spend $700 billion dollars of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess. I’m going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington. I’m going to spend a lot of that money to bring relief to you, and I’m not going to wait sixty days to start doing it.
I have a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up bad mortgages and refinancing them so if your neighbor defaults he doesn’t bring down the value of your house with him.
I have a plan to let retirees and people nearing retirement keep their money in their retirement accounts longer so they can rebuild their savings.
I have a plan to rebuild the retirement savings of every worker.
I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home.
Raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse. Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy.
The explosion of government spending over the last eight years has put us deeper in debt to foreign countries that don’t have our best interests at heart. It weakened the dollar and made everything you buy more expensive.
If I’m elected President, I won’t spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money, on top of the $700 billion we just gave the Treasury Secretary, as Senator Obama proposes. Because he can’t do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I’m going to make government live on a budget just like you do.
I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren’t working for the American people. And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes.
If I’m elected President, I won’t fine small businesses and families with children, as Senator Obama proposes, to force them into a new huge government run health care program, while I keep the cost of the fine a secret until I hit you with it. I will bring down the skyrocketing cost of health care with competition and choice to lower your premiums, and make it more available to more Americans. I’ll make sure you can keep the same health plan if you change jobs or leave a job to stay home.
I will provide every single American family with a $5000 refundable tax credit to help them purchase insurance. Workers who already have health care insurance from their employers will keep it and have more money to cover costs. Workers who don’t have health insurance can use it to find a policy anywhere in this country to meet their basic needs.
If I’m elected President, I won’t raise taxes on small businesses, as Senator Obama proposes, and force them to cut jobs. I will keep small business taxes where they are, help them keep their costs low, and let them spend their earnings to create more jobs.
If I’m elected President, I won’t make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs as Senator Obama proposes. I will open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair. And I’ll make sure we help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away.
The last President to raise taxes and restrict trade in a bad economy as Senator Obama proposes was Herbert Hoover. That didn’t turn out too well. They say those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Well, my friends, I know my history lessons, and I sure won’t make the mistakes Senator Obama will.
If I’m elected President, we’re going to stop sending $700 billion to countries that don’t like us very much. I won’t argue to delay drilling for more oil and gas and building new nuclear power plants in America, as Senator Obama does. We will start new drilling now. We will invest in all energy alternatives — nuclear, wind, solar, and tide. We will encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We will invest in clean coal technology. We will lower the cost of energy within months, and we will create millions of new jobs.
Let me give you the state of the race today. We have 22 days to go. We’re 6 points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.
What America needs in this hour is a fighter; someone who puts all his cards on the table and trusts the judgment of the American people. I come from a long line of McCains who believed that to love America is to fight for her. I have fought for you most of my life. There are other ways to love this country, but I’ve never been the kind to do it from the sidelines.
I know you’re worried. America is a great country, but we are at a moment of national crisis that will determine our future. Will we continue to lead the world’s economies or will we be overtaken? Will the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest in the world? Will our children and grandchildren’s future be brighter than ours?
My answer to you is yes. Yes, we will lead. Yes, we will prosper. Yes, we will be safer. Yes, we will pass on to our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage and wisdom.
I know what fear feels like. It’s a thief in the night who robs your strength.
I know what hopelessness feels like. It’s an enemy who defeats your will.
I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again. I’m an American. And I choose to fight.
Don’t give up hope. Be strong. Have courage. And fight.
Fight for a new direction for our country.
Fight for what’s right for America.
Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting and selfishness in Washington.
Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children’s future.
Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.
Now, let’s go win this election and get this country moving again.