Monday, April 05, 2004

The Lion Roars: Ted Kennedy's speech today at the Brookings Institution -

Deceit is a poison in its veins.

In our open society, it is essential to distinguish vigorous debate over honest differences of opinion from the repeated use of false and misleading arguments to persuade the American people. Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins.

The most important principle in any representative democracy is for the people to trust their government. If our leaders violate that trust, then all our words of hope and opportunity and progress and justice ring false in the ears of our people and the wider world, and our goals will never be achieved.


During the 2000 campaign, America met a Republican candidate for President who promised to conduct our foreign affairs as a "humble nation," not an "arrogant nation." He was conservative, but he promised to be a "compassionate conservative." He promised to overcome the "soft bigotry of low expectations" in our schools. He promised to meet the urgent need of senior citizens for prescription drug coverage under Medicare. He promised to change the tone in Washington.

Given his narrow margin of victory, it is clear that George Bush would not be President today if he had not made those promises of moderation and statesmanship. The Supreme Court would never have decided the election.

What happened to those promises? In the White House, George Bush has been arrogant, not humble in foreign affairs; conservative, not compassionate in domestic policy. As we now know, all the reassuring language of the 2000 election campaign was a Trojan Horse cynically constructed to smuggle the extreme right wing into the White House.


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