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“THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK about who my running mate for the president is going to be, maybe too much talk. Or who the running mate will be until I’m the president, or if it’s a she, then a woman. And the most important thing is—no litmus test, I don’t need Hispanics, I know how to speak Spanish—that if there’s a heartbeat that stops, just one heartbeat, then this person can build a compassionate bridge to the conservatism of the 21st century. Because I’m a uniter not a divider, although I do know division as well. I did very well at math, I’m just not that interested. But I can do it. Really.

“This has been a long race and still will be a long race to come. My opponent, he’s afraid to talk about issues, so he says the nasty things. One of them is about baseball—you know, I used to own the Texas Rangers, a good team, a fine team. I have plenty of leadership experience, by the way. My opponent said, ‘George W. Bush was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.’ And, you know, I appreciate the concern, but we got Condi Rice here to field those ground balls. Sometimes people say a vice president can’t be too smart, too intellectual, smarty-smarty-poo-poo. They say that because of making the candidate looking stupid, which I’m not, you know. But it got me thinking, because I will think if someone asks me to. Why not the man who bore me on third base?

“And so, I am proud to announce my candidate for the pick of the vice president: George Herbert Walker Bush, or, as he’ll be known from now on, Herb, or President Herb, so as not to confuse Jeb’s little brown ones, right, Dad? Herb is a leader, not a divisiver. He knows how short the heartbeat can be, just one heartbeat, and he is prepared to serve after that heartbeat. He’s already served, actually. This party, the Republican party, we are the party of families, and we know how to make families.

“President Herb is uniquely qualified for the job. He knows how well a president can be vice president, and he knows because Gerald Ford didn’t want to be Reagan’s vice president, and that’s why we got President Herb in the first place, after Reagan said no way to Ford and then picked Dad, so after eight years of being vice president he then spent four years as president and knows how to weather a crisis. Or even crises. He knows how to wipe off his shoes and move on after throwing up on foreign leaders. And President Herb knows about foreign policy, too, which some people—again, wrong, they’re wrong—think I don’t know enough about, but President Herb sits on the boards of many large companies, some of which are based in other countries, some of which have offices here but also have big offices in other countries, some even in the countries where he threw up. Plus, he once ran an oil company. And oil is important, for driving and also for other things.

“Most importantly, President Herb and I can work well together, and we trust each other. I know how to tell him to leave me alone—Dad, you know, I’ll quit drinking on my own. Or, Dad, I do not need to get a real job! And he knows when to tell me things I need to hear: You will not serve in the armed forces! Or even show up for the National Guard! Put me right in my place.

“You know, there are a lot of good Republicans who could have been vice president, or president if there was a heartbeat. Some are women, like Liddy Dole. Some are black, like J.C. Watts. Some are crazy, like John McCain. And some like to kill babies, like Tom Ridge… just kidding Tom, you know I love you. We got a big tent here in the GOP, with a lot of room in it, a lot of room for a lot of party. So, you might ask, why not the woman? Well, she knows less than me. American Red Cross, not very impressive—sorry, Bob, but she’s not, plus she looks like a villain in a Batman movie. And why not a black one? Well, for one thing, he’s a little, um, doesn’t appeal to the suburbs. Otnay itewhay, if you know what I mean. No point in alienating the base. And McCain? Sure, he got shot down, he’s a big hero, a Straight Talker, and people like him. But what you don’t know: He’s crazy as a loon—wants to blow stuff up. For real. Trust me on this one. Remember Stockdale? I bet Perot wishes he didn’t, either.

“President Herb isn’t going to campaign a lot, and he’s not going to speak at the convention this year. No more ‘no new taxes.’ No need—Americans know him, know us—we’re Herb and Dubya, father and son, daddy and his boy, pa and little pal. A vote for us is a vote for a thousand points of—that is, a vote for compassion and conservatism, social and security, lethal and injection. Come November, we two Bushes will return optimisticism to America and make this nation a can-do country again instead of a can-don’t one. Keep it in the family. God bless, and good night.”

A speech by Al Gore:
Al Gore’s Secret Constituency

More about George W. Bush:
Encyclopedia Brown and The Case of Death Row Dubya

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