Shorter John Kerry

In this case it’s shortened so that more people will read it, not because the full text is long and rambling. Go read the whole thing. The elipses and emphasis are mine

April 5, 2003 | I don’t think it gets better in public life, and certainly not in mine, than to be introduced by my brother, Max Cleland…when I think about Max Cleland saying something about Hemingway and grace under pressure as he just did I think all of you should join me in sharing the sense that this man, who left three limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam for this country, deserves better than what the Republican Party gave him in the last election here in Georgia…every day in the course of my race for the presidency of the United States I will be motivated — and I ask you to help me be motivated — to hold them accountable for what they did to Max Cleland.

…But let me just share today something I feel very strongly about, because today I had the pleasure of having Tom DeLay, Denny Hastert, and a score of other Republicans come out of the woodwork to attack me for speaking out regarding the direction of our country when I spoke up in New Hampshire yesterday.

I think that Max who served with me and many who have served share with me this belief: I don’t need any lessons in patriotism or caring about America from the likes of Tom DeLay and the right wing, whose motivations can be questioned…Tom DeLay, hear me loud and clear: I speak out for America, not for politics, and as long as I have air in my lungs I will continue to speak my mind.

…We made a sacred bond with these men and women when we asked them to risk their lives for their country. And this administration has failed to hold up its side of the bargain. Just as we wouldn’t think of sending our military into battle without the uniforms and equipment they need, we shouldn’t neglect to care for our troops and their families before, during, and after the war. Yet, 20 percent of our Reservists and their families don’t have healthcare coverage.

And at the same time that American soldiers are engaged in battle at home, this administration is proposing substantial cuts in federal school aid to children of military families. As we learned the hard way after Vietnam, our duty to our troops doesn’t end when the battle is won. Those that put their lives on the line have earned a lifetime of support. And America must live up to that commitment.

Yet, two months ago, this administration announced it would suspend enrollment in the healthcare system of at least 160,000 qualified veterans. And now they want to deny another 230,000 veterans the healthcare they deserve.

…And I say to Tom DeLay, one thing I know about America is that in the face of war there are things more important than cutting taxes and it is wrong to reward the wealthiest Americans before we fulfill our solemn obligations to those that have served.

Of course, Kerry would be running against George Bush, not Tom DeLay, in 2004.

Like others, I have this sort of visceral Dukakis reaction to the idea of another Massachusetts “liberal” atop the ticket. But I do like to see speeches like this, and who knows, I could even grow to like John Kerry. Put Kerry and Clark on a ticket together (the veteran and a general against the AWOL pilot and never-served Cheney) and the Republicans will have something to fear.