So many good speeches for day two of the GOP Convention in Tampa. If you missed any, they are available online at the GOP Convention You Tube site.
I picked three from tonight for specal mention:
Condi Rice: The American Dream is Alive
First, Condoleezzaa Rice, former Secretary of State. She discussed the importance of U.S. leadership in the world, something that has been sorely lacking with an Administration that "leads from behind." Dr. Rice also stressed the essential quality of American exceptionalism that must be preserved by addressing the weakness in the current educational system. Most moving for the delegates was her personal story. Excerpts are below:
CONDI RICE: But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen – no one will lead and that will foster chaos —- or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum. My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead – and one cannot lead from behind.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality — that our leadership abroad and our well being at home are inextricably linked. They know what needs to be done.
Our friends and allies must be able to trust us. From Israel to Poland to the Philippines to Colombia and across the world — they must know that we are reliable and consistent and determined. And our adversaries must have no reason to doubt our resolve — because peace really does come through strength. Our military capability and technological advantage will be safe in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s hands.
After all, when the world looks to America, they look to us because we are the most successful political and economic experiment in human history. That is the true basis of “American Exceptionalism.” The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.
Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. We have not been envious of one another and jealous of each other’s success. Ours has been a belief in opportunity and a constant battle – long and hard — to extend the benefits of the American dream to all – without regard to circumstances of birth.
And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the experience and the integrity and the vision to lead us – they know who we are, what we want to be and what we offer the world.
Susana Martinez. Self Made Success
Next up was Susana Martinez, who in 2010 was elected the first female governor of New Mexico and the first Hispanic female governor in the country. She tells the personal story of her families success coming from a border town and starting a business. Next she relates what happened shortly after she entered politics. She was a Democrat but met a pair of Republicans one day and ended up talking about issues and suddenly realized she was a Republican too. Her success in working with a Democrat legislature in addressing her state's fiscal problems is the same story that has been told by Republican governors across the country. They get the job done not just talk about it.
GOV. MARTINEZ: Despite what some would have us believe, success is not built on resentment and fears.Bravo Paul Ryan!
We grew up on the border and truly lived paycheck to paycheck. My dad was a golden gloves boxer in the Marine Corps, then a deputy sheriff. My mom worked as an office assistant.
One day, they decided to start a security guard business. I thought they were absolutely crazy-we literally had no savings, but they always believed in the American Dream.
So, my dad worked to grow the business.
My mom did the books at night. And at 18, I guarded the parking lot at the Catholic Church bingos.
Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself.
I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum — that gun weighed more than I did!
My parents grew that small business-from one 18-year-old guarding a bingo-to more than 125 people in three states.
And sure, there was help along the way. But my parents took the risk. They stood up. And you better believe that they built it.
As the first Hispanic female governor in history, little girls often come up to me in the grocery store or the mall. They look and point, and when they get the courage, they ask "Are you Susana?" and they run up and give me a hug.
And I wonder. How do you know who I am?
But they do. And these are little girls.
It's in moments like these when I'm reminded that we each pave a path. And for me, it's about paving a path for those little girls to follow.
No more barriers.
In many ways Mitt Romney and I are very different. Different starts in life. Different paths to leadership. Different cultures.
But we've each shared in the promise of America, and we share a core belief that the promise of America must be kept for the next generation.
El sueno Americanos es tener exito.
Success is the American Dream.
And that success is not something to be ashamed of, or to demonize.
The big speech of the night was that of Paul Ryan as he accepted the GOP nomination for Vice President of the United States. It was a mostly low key measured delivery but with plenty of emotional moments as he directed attention to his mother who sat in the audience with her grandchildren. But Ryan also took the opportunity to make a direct contrast between the leadership offered by Romney/Ryan and the record of the Obama Administration. Even that partisan red meat was dished out respectfully and factually; more with disappointment over Obama's failure than anger.
Every word of the speech is word reading but for those pressed for time the following excerpts are especially noteworthy:
PAUL RYAN: I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.What a talented GOP team we have. Black, white, Hispanic, male and female leaders of quality and character with ideas and the solid experience and leadership America needs to recover from the mistake of 2008!
They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.
With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that. You see, some people can’t be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their ability, character, and plain decency are so obvious – and ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.
President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.
Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed. Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty. Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all.
So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?
Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.
But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.
Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.
The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.
Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.
It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis.
It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.
It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.
It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.
President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.” He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?
Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What’s missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?
President Obama is the kind of politician who puts promises on the record, and then calls that the record. But we are four years into this presidency. The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy as we are living it.
College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you. "
None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.
The right that makes all the difference now, is the right to choose our own leaders. And you are entitled to the clearest possible choice, because the time for choosing is drawing near. So here is our pledge.
We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead.
We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility.
We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.
The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this.
We can get this country working again. We can get this economy growing again. We can make the safety net safe again. We can do this.
Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done.
Thank you, and God bless."