2000 RNC Speech
Philadelphia PA, August 1, 2000
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, fellow delegates from the Golden State of California and fellow delegates from around the country, tonight we gather to reflect on America's unique opportunity to lead the forward march of freedom and to fortify the peace.
We offer special thanks to all those Private Ryans who served over the decades so that tyranny would not stand.
We remember those great Republican presidents who sustained American leadership through the decades, ended the Cold War and lifted our nuclear nightmare.
Thank you, Gerald Ford. Thank you, Ronald Reagan. Thank you, George Herbert Walker Bush.
And tonight, we gather to acknowledge this remarkable truth: The future belongs to liberty, fueled by markets in trade, protected by the rule of law and propelled by the fundamental rights of the individual.
Information and knowledge can no longer be bottled up by the state. Prosperity flows to those who can tap the genius of their people.
We have, ladies and gentlemen, a presidential nominee who knows what America must do to fulfill the promise of this new century.
We have a nominee who knows the power of truth and honor. We have a nominee who will be the next great president of the United States of America, Texas Governor George W. Bush.
It is fitting that I stand before you to talk about Governor Bush's commitment to America's principled leadership in the world because that is the legacy and tradition of our party, because our party's principles made me a Republican.
The first Republican that I knew was my father John Rice. And he is still the Republican that I admire most.
My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.
I want you to know that my father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I.
I joined the party for different reasons. I found a party that sees me as an individual, not as part of a group. I found a party that puts family first. I found a party that has love of liberty at its core, and I found a party that believes that peace begins with strength.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney live and breathe these Republican principles. They understand what is required for our time and what is timeless. And it all begins with integrity in the Oval Office.
George W. Bush is a man of his word, friend and foe will know that he keeps his word and tells the truth.
George W. Bush believes that America has a special responsibility to keep the peace, that the fair cause of freedom depends on our strength and purpose. He recognizes that the magnificent men and women of America's armed forces are not a global police force; they are not the world's 911.
He will keep faith with them because they are the strongest shield and the surest sword in the maintenance of peace.
And I want to assure you, if the time ever comes to use military force, President George W. Bush will do so to win, because for him, victory is not a dirty word.
George W. Bush will never allow America and our allies to be blackmailed. And make no mistake about it, blackmail is what the outlaw states seeking long-range ballistic missiles have in mind.
It is time to move beyond the Cold War. It is time to have a president devoted to a new nuclear strategy and to the deployment of effective missile defenses at the earliest possible date.
George W. Bush knows that America has allies and friends who share our values. And he has said the president should call our allies when they are not needed, so that he can call on them when they are needed.
He understands the power of trade to create jobs at home and extend liberty abroad.
But most importantly, George W. Bush, the George W. Bush that I know, is a man of uncommonly good judgment. He is focused and consistent. He believes that we Americans are at our best when we exercise power without fanfare and arrogance. He speaks plainly and with a positive spirit.
In the past year, I have had the opportunity to get a glimpse of what he will be like as president. I have traveled with him to Mexico, and I have seen the respect he has gained from its leaders and the affection he has won from its people. When he enters office, he will know more about our Mexican neighbor than any president in our history.
George W. Bush speaks to the Mexican people not just in the language of diplomacy, but in their native tongue.
I have watched him explain America's interests to the Russian foreign minister while assuring him that a peaceful Russia has nothing to fear from America.
And I know that he understands the complexity of our relationship with China. He believes that conflict between our nations is not inevitable, yet he recognizes the challenge the Chinese government poses to our interests and values and the irresistible demand for liberty that can be unleashed by free trade with its people.
And Governor Bush has joined the bipartisan tradition of support for Israel's quest for enduring peace with its neighbors.
George W. Bush will work with Congress so that America speaks with one voice. He has demonstrated in this campaign that he will never use foreign policy for narrow partisan purposes.
But my friends, the United States cannot lead unless the president inspires the American people to accept their international responsibilities. George W. Bush will inspire us because he understands who we are.
He knows that we are an innovative people who find kinship with those in other nations who are entrepreneurial in spirit. He realizes that we are a nation that has been forged, not from common blood, but from common purpose, that the faces of America are the faces of the world.
It has not been easy. It has not been easy for our country to make "we the people" really mean all the people. Democracy in America is a work in progress, not a finished masterpiece. But even with its flaws, this unique American experience provides a shining beacon to people who still suffer in places where ethnic difference is a license to kill.
And, my friends, George W. Bush understands that America is special among nations, that throughout our history, people everywhere have been inspired to flee tyranny and the constraints of class to gain liberty and pursue happiness in this great land.
In America, with education and hard work, it really does not matter where you came from; it matters only where you are going.
But that truth cannot be sustained if it is not renewed in each generation, as it was with my grandfather.
George W. Bush would have liked Granddaddy Rice. He was the son of a farmer in rural Alabama, but he recognized the importance of education. Around 1918, he decided he was going to get book-learning. And so, he asked, in the language of the day, where a colored man could go to college. He was told about little Stillman College, a school about 50 miles away. So granddaddy saved up his cotton for tuition and he went off to Tuscaloosa.
After the first year, he ran out of cotton and he needed a way to pay for college. Praise be, as he often does, God gave him an answer. My grandfather asked how those other boys were staying in school, and he was told that they had what was called a scholarship. And they said, if you wanted to be a Presbyterian minister, then you can have one, too. Granddaddy Rice said, that's just what I had in mind.
And my family has been Presbyterian and college-educated ever since.
But, you know, that's not just my grandfather's story, that's an American story -- the search for hope, the search for opportunity, the skill of good, hard work.
My friends, George W. Bush challenges us to call upon our better selves, to be compassionate toward those who are less fortunate, to cherish and educate every child, descendants of slaves and immigrants alike, and to thereby affirm the American dream for us all.
On that firm foundation, confident of what we are defending, confident of who we are, we will go forth -- we will go forth -- to extend peace, prosperity and liberty beyond our blessed shores.
Thank you. Let's go out and elect George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Good night. God bless you and God bless America.