Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Exclusive—must credit michaelberube.com
Tomorrow’s news today: the advance transcript of Bush’s address to the nation on his nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor’s successor
My fellow Americans.
As you know, I have the honor and the privilege of nominating the next Justice of the Supreme Court. And as you know, I believe America deserves a good Justice, a wise Justice, a Justice who will interpret the Constitution faithfully. In making my decision, I have looked deep into my heart, and I have sought the counsel of wonder-working Providence. I appear before you tonight to share that decision with you.
When I first sought the office of the Presidency, I promised to be a uniter, not a divider. Since then, I have made every effort to unite this nation by purging it of Democrats. Together with my trusted aides and advisors, I have worked tirelessly to impugn the patriotism and question the integrity of anyone who’s voiced even the most timid criticism of my conduct as President. It hasn’t mattered whether my critics are decorated Vietnam vets, undercover intelligence agents, middle-aged elementary-school teachers, or Democratic Senators with weapon-grade anthrax in their mail—my administration and I have reached out across America to slime and to slander them. We’ve undertaken a great work in this great nation, and I know that many of you have dedicated yourselves to that work.
But a still greater work lies before us. The next Justice of the Supreme Court will very likely determine the direction of the Court for another generation, shaping our laws and our lives throughout the land. And I have decided that this is not a time to play games with the American people or score cheap political points. It is a time, instead, to heal the wounds I have inflicted, and repair some of the damage I have wrought.
Some of you may remember that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put me in this office, by concurring with the Court’s argument that my Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the laws would be violated by a statewide recount of votes in Florida. For that decision, I will be forever grateful to Justice O’Connor. But I have never managed to shake the sense that there is a cloud over my Presidency, a taint of illegitimacy that touches everything I do and say. In the past, I’ve tried to compensate for that sense of illegitimacy by stocking my administration with cronies and sycophants, and by ensuring that whenever I appear in public I am surrounded by fanatical supporters who have signed written pledges and chanted oaths of fealty to me. I’ve even tried literally to buy a sense of legitimacy, by paying journalists directly to promote my policies and repeat my words as their own.
But I know I can’t get away with this kind of thing forever. My fellow Americans, under my blustering façade—yes, I’m familiar with the word “façade”—I am tormented by remorse and self-doubt. I know I’ve run the country into the ground financially, and though my friends and I will make out like bandits, just as we did with Arbusto and Harken, I know it’ll take you all at least another fifty years to clamber out of the hole I’ve dug for you. I know also that I’ve helped to make America a dirtier, more toxic place to live, and that I’ve treated our land, water, and air as if they were the private reserves of my oil buddies. I honestly don’t know any other way to govern. And as for Iraq, I confess to you tonight that I haven’t got the faintest clue what’s really going on in Iraq. I just hope that someone bails me out of that one, too.
Friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, I don’t want to be remembered as a man who used the office of the Presidency like some two-bit, tinhorn generalissimo. I want to be remembered as a good man who made some bad decisions early on, but who eventually saw the error of his ways and tried to walk in the light, with the help of Almighty God. I want to be remembered as a man who chose the path of righteousness, who moved to check the rabid political extremists of his own party and to advance the cause of social justice in America. I want my legacy to be a proud and honorable one, and I want my Presidency itself to be born again. And for that reason, my fellow Americans, I am nominating Lani Guinier to the Supreme Court of the United States.
May God bless you, and may God bless America.