How Ironic, that only 15 years later many liberals around the world are actively contradicting that particular sermon, ah, speech. Well, that got me thinking, how would that same speech sound coming from a conservative President today, what might he say? Curious, I found a transcipt of the speech, and began to alter it for just such a President. I have to say, it was fun, and I highly recommend the exercise. Here’s what I came up with:
Reporter: Robyn, will the President ever respond to Senator Rumson’s question about being a member of the National Rifle Association?
President Shepherd: Yes, he will. Good morning. [Members of the White House Press Corps begin to rise] It’s alright. Please keep your seats. Good morning.
For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being President of this country was, to a certain extent, about character. And although I’ve not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I have been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character.
For the record, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the NRA, but the more important question is “Why aren’t you, Bob?” Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend freedom in the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago.
America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then acceptable speech in this country cannot just be that “Gay is Okay.” Acceptable speech also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to call homosexuality a sin, and to pray for the salvation of all sinners. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.
Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.
I’ve known Bob Rumson for years. And I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t control it!
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of students, minorities, and union members, and you ply with ad hominem and straw man fallacies, you talk to them about polar bears and melting ice caps, imperialism and class warfare, and you convince them that they’re oppressed and entitled, and you wave an old photo of the President’s girlfriend and you scream about exploitation. You tell them she’s to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a racist.
Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but run a successful business, represent the interests of gun owners, and lobby for the responsible use and stewardship of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, ’cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.
I’ve loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer. And I lost the other ’cause I was so busy keeping my job, I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now.
Tomorrow morning the White House is sending an amendment to Congress for it’s consideration. It’s White House Resolution 455, an amendment prohibiting Congress from regulating intra-state commerce. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of progressive activism. The other piece of legislation is the entitlement reform bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I’m throwing it out. I’m throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address fiscal responsibility without getting rid of federal grants to individuals and progressive taxation. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I’m gonna convince Americans that I’m right, and I’m gonna get the subsidies.
We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people. And if you want to talk about character, Bob, you’d better come at me with more than a fiery sermon, and a membership card. If you want to talk about science and exploitation, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I’ll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up.
My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I AM the President.*
* Adapted from the film “The American President (1995) a Rob Reiner film (of course)