Did McCain's speech sound like the same, tired, Bush rhetoric? Well, that's because it is.
Confused as to how "change" for McCain means...voting in another Republican? Me too.
In this theme, I propose a game I like to call, "Who Said What at What Convention?" There are only three possible answers: Bush in 2000, McCain in 2000 and McCain in 2008.
Tally up your answers, for every right one, you get a point. So, Let's play!
"This is not the time for third chances; it is the time for new beginnings.... This nation is daring and decent and ready for change."
Answer: Who said it? Bush in 2000! I know, I thought it was McCain, too. It's funny how Bush wanted change from prosperity to economic disaster. On Thursday, McCain said "change is coming." I'm so curious -- does that mean change from the Bush administration? Or change back to the Clinton administration? Or neither? Are we going socialist? I'm confused. Aren't you both republicans? Isn't change from Bush...a democrat? I digress.
"Tonight in this hall, we resolve to be the party of - not of repose but of reform."
A: Bush in 2000. Sound familiar? Because "reform" has been the anthem of the entire 2008 Republican Convention. It was also a Bush pillar in 2000.
This is an extraordinary time to be alive. We are so strong and prosperous that we can scarcely imagine the heights we could ascend if we have the will to make the climb
A: McCain in 2000, following eight years of a Democrat in office, endorsing Bush. That's a pretty easy one, because we are nowhere near as strong and prosperous after eight years of war and recession. McCain then said the following on Thursday: "These are tough times for many of you. You're worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that's just what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future." So let's think...prosperous post-Democrat, "tough times" post-Republican. Hmm. Tough decision.
"I have been an imperfect servant of my country for over 40 years, and my many mistakes rightly humble me. But I am their son -- and they taught me to love my country, and that has made all the difference, my friends, all the difference in the world."
A: McCain, in 2000. Sound familiar? That's because it's pretty much the exact line he used Thursday: "I've been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I have been her servant first, last and always. And I've never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn't thank God for the privilege."
"He is a man -- he is a man of integrity and sound judgment who has proven that public service can be noble service."
A: Bush in 2000, about Cheney! I know, he does have great judgment! McCain said about VP pick Sarah Palin (OK, I'm cheating, he said the following this month, not Thursday): "She has the grit, integrity, good sense... that is exactly what we need in Washington today."
"I believe the presidency, the final point of decision in the American government, was made for great purposes. It is the office of Lincoln's conscience, of Teddy Roosevelt's energy, of Harry Truman's integrity and Ronald Reagan's optimism."
A: Bush in 2000. Here's what McCain said Thursday: "We're going to recover the people's trust by standing up again for the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics."
"[I] may lack the polish of Washington....I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect."
A: That was actually GW in 2000. If it sounds familiar, it's because McCain said many variations of it Thursday, including "We have to change the way we do business in Washington." I'm glad you two agree.
"I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again."
A: That's actually McCain in 2008. In 2000, Bush said "I work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done." Thursday, McCain also said "Again and again, I've worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That's how I will govern as President."
"I believe great decisions are made with care, made with conviction, not made with polls...I believe in tolerance, not in spite of my faith, but because of it. I believe in a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors but to love them. I believe in grace because I've seen it, and peace because I've felt it, and forgiveness because I've needed it. I believe true leadership is a process of addition, not an act of division."
A: Bush in 2000! Thursday, McCain has something similar to say: "We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential... We're all God's children and we're all Americans...We believe in low taxes; spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor... We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities." That's a lot of believing...in the same thing. Must be why they were cranking Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" at the convention hall.
"A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming."
A: Well, I know you're thinking McCain, Vietnam and all, but that one is actually W. circa 2000. I'm not sure if I have enough room on this blog to mention the number of times McCain mentioned Vietnam. I do have time to note that an "overwhelming victory" was not something that happened during the Bush administration.
"We are now the party of ideas and innovation, the party of idealism and inclusion, the party of a simple and powerful hope... My fellow citizens, we can begin again... we can begin again. The wait has been long, but it won't be long now."
A: Bush in 2000. More change stuff! On Thursday, McCain said, "We need to change the way government does almost everything." He also said on Thursday," We change things that need to be changed." But in 2000, on that same "change" note, he said, in SUPPORT of Dubya:
He also said, in 2000:
"To achieve the necessary changes to the practices and institutions of our democracy we need to be a little less content. We need to get riled up a bit, and stand up for the values that made America great... I am proud to do so for I know that by supporting George W. Bush I serve my country well."
"I am proud to join you this evening in commending to all Americans the man who now represents your best wishes and mine for the future of our country, my friend, Governor George W. Bush, the next president of the United States."
How'd you do? I know, I had a hard time distinguishing Bush from McCain, and McCain from his same old words in 2000, too.
Take the time to ask yourself, after this flurry of words, after eight years of empty rhetoric and constant promises of prosperity and hope, of a Republican party of yore that we are yet to return to and probably never will. Ask yourself, will the Republican who endorsed our president in 2000, and sounded quite similar to him as recent as this week, really provide change? Who voted with him 90% of the time?
Ask yourself, who really represents change? McBush, or Obama?
I'm pretty sure the answer is clear.
Tune in next time for another edition of "Who Said What."
Thanks for playing, folks!