Arnold Schwarzenegger: A VERY good speech. His delivery was off the charts. There were plenty of comedic moments, which will of course be taken far too seriously by many. The type of person that got their panties in a bunch over the girlie-men comment from a while back will of course be livid. The detractors are going to lambaste the “I’ll be back” and “girlie-men” and “you’re as good a politician as you were an actor” parts, but that’s who Arnold is. He’s not going to come out and give a 20 minute speech in the manner of Ferris Beuller’s Ben Stein. He’s going to crack jokes, and they’re going to help the serious message go over better, and they did.
First Daughter Jenna & Barbara Bush: They didn’t do too badly for people who don’t do this type of thing for a living. The material wasn’t that bad, but the delivery needed a ton of work. It didn’t come anywhere close to sounding natural. Other people would certainly have given a more practiced and professional introduction, but ultimately I think they were there for the humanizing factor rather than to be prim and proper and polished.
First Lady Laura Bush: It wasn’t spectacular, but I think it was certainly better than Heinz Kerry’s speech at the DNC.
Ideally I suppose it would have been better to have Laura go first and then have Arnold close the night out.
From Schwarzenegger’s speech:
Now, my family didn’t have a car. But one day we were in my uncle’s car. It was near dark as we came to the Soviet checkpoint. I was a little boy. I was not an action hero back then.
But I remember. I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I would never see them again. My family and so many others lived in fear of the Soviet boot. Today, the world no longer fears the Soviet Union, and it is because of the United States of America.
The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.
SCHWARZENEGGER: But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.
Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.
I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?”
My friend said, “He’s a Republican.”
I said, “Then I am a Republican.”
In this country, it doesn’t make any difference where you were born. It doesn’t make any difference who your parents were. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re like me and couldn’t even speak English until you were in your 20s. America gave me opportunities, and my immigrant dreams came true.
I want other people to get the same chances I did, the same opportunities. And I believe they can. That’s why I believe in this country, that’s why I believe in this party, and that’s why I believe in this president.
SCHWARZENEGGER: My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans, how do you know if you are a Republican? Well, I tell you how. If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government, then you are a Republican.
If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican.
If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does, then you are a Republican.
If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children, then you are a Republican.
If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope for democracy, then you are a Republican.
SCHWARZENEGGER: And, ladies and gentlemen, if you believe that we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism, then you are a Republican.
Now, there’s another way you can tell you’re a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people and faith in the U.S. economy. And to those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don’t be economic girlie-men.