Re: Draft victory speech
Well, Hill, you didn’t use any of my drafts before. Though I bet you wish you had given that e-mail speech. Anyway, here’s what I think you should say tonight:
Gosh! From the bottom of my heart (I do have one), thank you, America. It’s customary on occasions like this to say one is “humbled.” But people who say it really mean the opposite. Humility is the last thing on their minds. I don’t feel humbled, I feel proud, to finally realize my great ambition.
Saying this reflects a new policy of mine: openness and honesty.
I won’t be the first president who starts off distrusted by a majority of the country. Lincoln actually did too. Not that I’m another Lincoln. But I do realize that I won only because my opponent was The Bogeyman.
So you see I am trying to be honest. That was not always true in the past, sometimes it was a matter of what I thought I could get away with – which, in fact, I was often wrong about. I’ve learned from all that. And furthermore, being president entails a special burden of responsibility I didn’t have before. You may take that with a grain of salt – but for the good of the country, please give me a chance to prove that if I didn’t earn your trust before, I can earn it going forward.
Another characteristic I’ve unfortunately been known for is scorched-earth political partisanship. In fact, extreme partisan divisiveness lies at the heart of America’s problems, because it prevents action on all the others. And because of my history I know I’m not exactly the ideal person to remediate this. Yet precisely because of that, I feel a special obligation to try – to rise above that past. If I have personified the culture of political tribalism and recrimination, maybe I can be the one to break it.
I may not succeed. But if not, I don’t want it to be because I didn’t do enough, or (unlike my predecessor) I talked the talk without walking the walk.
Now, a lot of my supporters believe those on the other side are not just wrong but wicked, actuated by bad motives. I’m guilty of saying things like that myself. And a lot of Republicans similarly believe Democrats are evil.
This must stop.
President Obama first gained fame with a speech saying there’s no white America or black America, just one America. But whatever our racial divisions may be, our partisan divisions are much worse. I want to say there’s not a progressive America and not a conservative America – but an awful lot of you will disagree. Yet we are indeed all Americans, and, with few exceptions, Americans are good people – even those you disagree with.
Donald Trump lost because he never understood that America is great because it is good.
This is why we love America. And I love the American people – all of you – even Trump voters. Yes, I love you, Trump voters. I want to hug you. Though maybe we’ll send you to re-education camps. (Just kidding.)
But most Republicans are just as sincere as Democrats in wanting what’s best for America. You may oppose their policies, because you have different ideas of what is best. But Lyndon Johnson liked to say, “Come, let us reason together.” That will be my policy toward our Republican friends. I will meet with them regularly, respectfully, openly, sharing ideas, and doing my darndest to work with them to come up with solutions to America’s problems.
So while I am a Democrat, it will not be as a Democrat that I will govern; this may sound sappy, but I mean it seriously – it will be as everyone’s president that I intend to govern. The result will not be Democratic party programs; not Democratic “victories,” but American programs, American triumphs.
Finally: there was a famous Washington Post cartoonist, “Herblock,” who had always portrayed Richard Nixon with a sinister-looking five o’clock shadow. But when Nixon was elected president, Herblock’s cartoon said, “This shop gives every new president a free shave.”
I humbly – yes, humbly – ask my fellow Americans for a clean shave.