There will be competitive Senate races in 2004 in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Nevada and Washington. Of these 13 races, 11 involve seats held by Democrats. Only Alaska and Illinois are in the GOP “vulnerable” category.

Republican candidates seeking to unseat Democrats or fill open seats left by retiring Democrats like South Carolina’s Ernest Hollings have to make at least a speech a day between now and November 2004 if they want to win. Most of those speeches are to friendly groups, but many are not. Each candidate needs a stump speech, one which can be used over and over again to guarantee not just applause, but a connection with the audience that endures and even a contribution to speed the campaign forward. Here’s my suggestion for the stump speech version.04:

Thank you very much for having me here. My friend __________ was very kind in the words (s)he offered by way of introduction, and I am glad that (s)he was so effusive. It offsets the effect of reading the newspapers every morning.

And I am glad to be in __________. Voters here are crucial to victory next fall, and that victory is about much, much more than my hopes to serve in the United States Senate. The election of 2004 is a referendum on the conduct of the war on terror, and not just in the presidential contest.

The campaign in this state and in all the states in which a United States senator is being elected is also about the war on terror. Simply put, if you approve of President Bush’s handling of the war on terror, then send him some like-minded allies in the United States Senate. If you think the Democratic candidate, whoever that might turn out to be, is a better choice to run that war, then vote for my opponent.

But make no mistake, there are two distinctly different views on how to conduct this war. I think President Bush’s view is the right one. I think his actions have been the correct ones. I believe the results have been extraordinarily good ones. I want to serve in the United States Senate to make sure the president gets the support he deserves and the support this country needs in a time of war.

There are other crucial issues of course. Even if there was no war on terror, the president would still need help in D.C. to break the obstructionist tactics of Tom Daschle, Patrick Leahy and Carl Levin. On every major issue of the day, the president has laid out a course of workable solutions, and on every major issue the Democrats – despite having lost the elections of 2000 and 2002 – have obstructed that progress for political reasons. On health care, on tax reform, on help for charities and on education, Democrats have put their special interest constituencies ahead of the common good. Tactics of delay and division have been their calling card, and the log jam has got to be broken.

This is especially true with regard to the appointment of highly qualified lawyers to the federal bench as new judges. Until 2003, there had never been a filibuster of an appellate-court nominee in the history of the Senate. There are now five, with more on the way. Two of these blocked judges are great women jurists; one is a Latino immigrant who served Bill Clinton, and a fourth is a state’s attorney general who made the mistake of proudly affirming his Catholic faith before the radical Democrats of the Senate Judiciary Committee. All have the votes to be confirmed, with bipartisan support.

But a minority of Democrats, influenced by the radical vision of Barbara Boxer and Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy and Patty Murray, Tom Daschle and Chuck Schumer have agreed to block these good men and women because they do not agree with the Democrats’ radical judicial agendas.

This obstruction of domestic legislation and judicial appointments ought to be enough to rally voters to my campaign and the campaigns of other Republican candidates for the Senate across the country. But these are not even a distant second to the most important issue of 2004. That issue is national security.

The Democratic Party is simply not serious about the national security of the United States. It pains me to say so, but the party of JFK, Truman and FDR has become a party of isolationists and fanatics, a party of skeptics of WMD and true believers in imperialist fantasies. Over and over again, Democratic presidential candidates and Democratic senators have disparaged the effort in the war on terror and the effectiveness of the administration’s initiatives.

To this day, they wonder aloud about whether it was wise to invade Iraq, and to this day – after digging up MIGs and components of nuclear weaponry production, seizing mobile labs and uncovering mass graves – they question whether the U.S. and Great Britain were right to do what they did. Even after David Kay briefed them on the ongoing effort to piece together Saddam’s WMD programs, they scoffed and postured as though there was a real debate here.

We need to take them at their word and judge them by their declarations. They would not have invaded Iraq, and it is doubtful they would have invaded Afghanistan with the speed and approach the president did.

Clearly they would not have named North Korea and Iran as members of the axis of evil, and apparently they would have met North Korean demands for unilateral negotiations even after Kim Jung Il’s gangster regime was demonstrated to have violated the Clinton accord of 1994.

They would not be seeking transformation of the military, and not one of their number has called for the budget hikes necessary for the Pentagon to be positioned to meet the demands of the multi-front war on terror.

The Senate Democrats have become purely political creatures, opposing whatever the president puts forward, criticizing whatever initiative he undertakes, second-guessing every action and imputing bad faith to any member of the administration who appears before any Senate committee.

It is shocking in peacetime for such hyper-partisan gamesmanship to infect the Senate. It is more than shocking in wartime – it is dangerous.

To such charges of partisan gamesmanship, the Democrats always reply with indignant denunciations of being branded as unpatriotic. Neither I nor any other GOP candidate has ever accused any Democrat of unpatriotic behavior, only of hyper-partisan posturing and reckless disregard for the urgency of threats to the United States. They do not agree on the threats, and thus they are not unpatriotic at all. But they are wrong in their analysis, and thus they remain reckless. And we cannot afford such recklessness.

The threats abroad are large and undeterred. They must be ferociously pursued and destroyed. The U.N. is a welcome ally, but it cannot be an impediment to protecting the national security of the United States. We welcome allies, but will not tolerate obstruction. We need leaders in the Senate, not carpers and posers.

The president needs allies. I propose to become one of those, and while there may be issues on which we disagree, President Bush and I will never disagree because it is to my political advantage to do so.

The Democratic Party was a great party and accomplished great things for many years. But it is unsuited for leadership in these times, and it is dangerous to deny the reality of how far that party has drifted toward an “Alice-In-Wonderland” approach to national security.

Wishing for al-Qaida to go away, for North Korea to abandon its nukes or for Iran to stop building its own nukes will not make those events come to pass. That will require leadership of the sort that the president has provided, and which I propose to support when I take my oath in January 2005. Thank you for your support.”

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