Draft of Kerry's Convention Speech Leaked

Also published at http://www.liberaltimes.com

March 19, 2004

WARNING: Kerry does not actually talk like this. But he should.

The following was found on a CD in Boston Commons and was later verified to have originated in the John Kerry for President campaign.

Draft Convention Speech, Depending.

Thank you. And thank you for your fine speeches, Teddy, Nancy, Al, Howard, Dennis, Ralph. Thank you, Ralph, especially, for joining our effort to rid this nation of a tyrant. We haven’t overthrown a King George in this country for a couple of centuries, and I’m thinking it’s about time.

I intend to continue to campaign from this moment until every last vote is counted, but it’s hard to see why I should have to. That’s not bragging. I believe I have a record that allows me to plausibly promise to be a good president. But I’m running against a flagrant criminal who was never elected and should long since have been impeached.

George W. Bush began his presidency by stealing Florida’s electoral votes through the elimination of Democratic voters from the rolls, through the Supreme Court’s blocking of a recount, and by forcing the inclusion of overseas ballots filed too late to be legal.

Bush then went to work for Enron and Halliburton, allowing these corporations to shape legislation to the detriment of ordinary Americans. Bush launched an illegal war based on lies for the benefit of his corporate cronies. He talks about Democracy in Iraq, but what sort of Democracy is possible, and how acceptable will it be to Iraqis, when American corporations illegally control that country’s oil and public services?

Bush could have focused our nation on creating new jobs in the field of renewable energy, but he’s a former failed oil CEO working on behalf of other oil CEOs who can’t make it on their own. He’s refused to support the Kyoto climate change treaty, he’s drastically increased allowable air pollution, he’s turned many of our international allies against us, he’s the first president since Hoover who is ending a term with fewer jobs in the country than when he began, and he’s killed nearly 1,000 of our young men and women – not to mention many thousands of Iraqis – in order to boost Halliburton’s profits. A Pentagon report warns of future wars as a result of global warming, and Bush looks us in the eye and tells us there’s no such thing.

Bush has engaged in a staggering transfer of wealth from ordinary working Americans to the super-rich, the multi-millionaires, the people he can relate to. He has repeatedly and publicly lied about the nature of his tax cut policies, not to mention his education and health care policies. His attacks on the rights of workers were unimaginable even under Reagan. This is not just a bad president, he’s not some sort of mediocre performer. This man is a threat to the future of human life on this planet. His foreign policy, his nuclear policy, his energy policy – these are the destructive nightmare scenarios that only a spoiled rich kid who had always had every problem erased for him could dream up. We’d better wake up and notice that this isn’t a dream.

In a time of tremendous potential, George W Bush has thrown our nation into reverse and pounded our hopes into the ground. Poverty is up, debt is up, bankruptcies are up, homelessness is up, more people are homeless while working fulltime jobs, more Americans lack health coverage, the minimum wage is down, unemployment has been given a Texas-sized boost. Funding for schools has been cut, along with funding for health care, and the privatizers of Medicare have been given a foot in the door. Privatizing Social Security is not far away. More children lack health care and child care, and more parents work longer hours for less money. Bush has accomplished this with a smile and a barrage of lies. His greatest accomplishment apparently has been overseeing the worst attack on Americans since Pearl Harbor. He’s still bragging about this tragedy today, although his foreign policy seems ideally designed to encourage another like it.

He should have long since been impeached and removed from office, but we have a Republican House and Senate. The Democrats have been losing seats in both houses of Congress as a result of our failure to stand up and call our unelected president what he is, a criminal. He has been shredding our Bill of Rights, and we have been sitting by. Worse is to come from this man if left in power. It is time we opened our eyes and ceased to stare at the ground and mumble “It can’t happen here. It can’t happen here,” as we trudge along toward the precipice.

The coarse we are on can be reversed. But it will not be reversed unless we admit how fundamentally flawed it is. I mean we in government. The American people understand. The American people want corporations out of government. The American people want priority given to education, not tax cuts for millionaires or illegal wars they were lied to about. The American people have long since made clear their demand for a decent minimum wage, for universal health care, for affordable housing, for the rights of workers, of women, and of minorities – including sexual minorities.

In the past we have not listened carefully enough. We have made mistakes. I have made mistakes. The Democratic Party has made mistakes. The DNC has even in recent months been urging me to speak about the deficit and building a strong military. Let’s stop kidding around. Our military is larger than the next ten put together. We can keep our military several times stronger than any other that has ever existed without sacrificing everything on that altar, including our children, our elderly, our education, our health, our jobs, and this election. Anyone whose only concern is increasing the size of the military and the profits that Halliburton makes at the expense of taxpayers is going to vote for Bush, whose millionaire buddies are going to laugh about it all the way to the bank.

The Bush administration is mocking the American people the way Bush as governor used to mock those he executed. Bush has claimed that exporting jobs is good for the economy. His election campaign sells merchandise produced in Burma by workers earning pennies a day. His PR office uses actors to produce “news.” American citizens are not allowed anywhere near his events if they’re protesting his policies. He cannot be trusted, but I do not intend to out-do him on the military. I’m not going to promise to be more secretive than Bush, to trample more civil liberties, to turn more power over to corporations, or to destroy more of the environment. And I’m not going to promise a bigger military. I’m also not going to focus on the deficit, because whether or not there is a deficit is not as directly important to people as whether or not they have jobs and can pay their bills and can take good care of their children.

I will work to lower the deficit, and I will defend this nation with force if need be, but I will also restore the field of diplomacy and work to diminish rather than provoke threats. I will not lie to the American public and claim that in attacking a foreign country I am defending our own. And I will invest in the needs of ordinary Americans and boost this economy by putting money in the hands of people who actually need it.

Those who don’t want to vote for more depression, repression, recession, and terror alert warnings are either going to vote for me or stay home and not bother to vote. Heck, 40 percent of Americans aren’t even registered to vote. We have to give them a reason to bother. We have to give them the truth. We have to listen to their wisdom and act on it. Let me tell you what I have to offer, because I need you to talk to those who have tuned out and turned away from politics.

I intend to work for election reform, campaign finance reform, and one other major area of reform that I’ll tell you about after the media is done covering my campaign fairly and professionally.

I plan to enforce existing tax laws on corporations and to close loopholes on corporations, to restore the estate tax on the biggest 1 percent of estates, to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the mega-wealthy, and to lower taxes for the majority of Americans.

I plan to engage with the world community, build alliances, increase our shamefully small foreign aid, support international law, and end counterproductive foreign entanglements, including not just the war in Iraq but our misguided policy toward Israel and our hypocritical support of dictators in countries including Saudi Arabia. Never ever will I do what the Bush Administration did in Haiti and forcibly remove a democratically elected leader from power.

I plan to rewrite our trade policies to protect jobs and act as an upward force in the world on labor rights and environmental policies. I plan to work for universal health care, child care, and college, to institute a major jobs program focused on the development of renewable energy, to restore the rights we lost to the PATRIOT Act, and to investigate and prosecute those guilty of any human rights abuses in Guantanamo. I will restore the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, to the level it held in 1968, and index it to automatically keep pace with inflation.

I plan to protect our air and water. I plan to protect our people, not just our corporations. Please join me in this effort by reaching out to your friends and neighbors, helping them to register to vote, encouraging them to vote in November. There are tens of millions of Americans out there who need to be reached. Let’s reach them! The world is counting on us!

WARNING: Kerry does not actually talk like this. But he should.