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Commentary: What McCain should say tonight

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  • Beck: Media forced to turn attention from Palin to McCain tonight
  • McCain can lay out his vision of change tonight, he says
  • Beck says McCain could shift back to principles laid out by founding fathers
  • Beck has some lines McCain can use to deliver his message
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By Glenn Beck
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Editor's note: Glenn Beck is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET and also hosts a conservative national radio talk show.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck has some lines McCain can use in tonight's speech to articulate his vision for change

NEW YORK (CNN) -- After nearly a week of executing a "Shock and Awe" type assault on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the media will once again be forced to turn its attention to the guy who's actually at the top of the ticket: John McCain.

Unlike Barack Obama, McCain doesn't have world-class speaking talent. He won't have nearly 80,000 fans in an open-air stadium chanting his name or Roman columns adorning the backdrop.

But what McCain does have is a chance to convince the American people that his vision of change is a shift back to the principles and values laid out by our founding fathers. Here are a few things that John McCain could say tonight to do just that:

My friends, they say that the United States has had its day in the sun; that our nation has passed its zenith. They expect you to tell your children that the American people no longer have the will to cope with their problems; that the future will be one of sacrifice and few opportunities.

I utterly reject that view. The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a better world for others by moving backward ourselves. Those who believe that have no business leading the nation.

My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties.


Those who preside over the worst energy shortage in our history tell us to use less, so that we will run out of oil, gasoline and natural gas a little more slowly. Conservation is desirable, of course, for we must not waste energy. But conservation is not the sole answer to our energy needs.

Large amounts of oil and natural gas lay beneath our land and off our shores, untouched because some seem to believe that the American people would rather see more regulation, taxes and controls than more energy.

Coal offers great potential. So does nuclear energy produced under rigorous safety standards. It could supply electricity for thousands of industries and millions of jobs and homes. It must not be thwarted by a tiny minority opposed to economic growth which often finds friendly ears in regulatory agencies for its obstructionist campaigns.

Make no mistake. We will not permit the safety of our people or our environmental heritage to be jeopardized, but we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our people is a fundamental part of our environment.

The size of government:

I believe it is clear our federal government is overgrown and overweight. Indeed, it is time for our government to go on a diet. Therefore, my first act as chief executive will be to impose an immediate and thorough freeze on federal hiring. Then, we are going to enlist the very best minds from business, labor and whatever quarter to conduct a detailed review of every department, bureau and agency that lives by federal appropriations.

Our instructions to the groups we enlist will be simple and direct. We will remind them that government programs exist at the sufferance of the American taxpayer and are paid for with money earned by working men and women. Any program that represents a waste of their money -- a theft from their pocketbooks -- must have that waste eliminated or the program must go, by executive order where possible; by congressional action where necessary.

I will not accept the excuse that the federal government has grown so big and powerful that it is beyond the control of any president, any administration or Congress. We are going to put an end to the notion that the American taxpayer exists to fund the federal government. The federal government exists to serve the American people.

Military pay:

I do not favor a peacetime draft or registration, but I do favor pay and benefit levels that will attract and keep highly motivated men and women in our volunteer forces and an active reserve trained and ready for an instant call in case of an emergency.


We are not a warlike people. Quite the opposite. We always seek to live in peace. We resort to force infrequently and with great reluctance and only after we have determined that it is absolutely necessary. We are awed, and rightly so, by the forces of destruction set loose in the world in this nuclear era. But neither can we be naive or foolish. We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.

Of all the objectives we seek, first and foremost is the establishment of lasting world peace. We must always stand ready to negotiate in good faith, ready to pursue any reasonable avenue that holds forth the promise of lessening tensions and furthering the prospects of peace. But let our friends and those who may wish us ill take note: the United States has an obligation to its citizens and to the people of the world never to let those who would destroy freedom dictate the future course of human life on this planet.

The time is now to say that while we shall seek new friendships and expand and improve others, we shall not do so by breaking our word or casting aside old friends and allies.

As your nominee, I pledge to restore to the federal government the capacity to do the people's work without dominating their lives. I pledge to you a government that will not only work well, but wisely; its ability to act tempered by prudence and its willingness to do good balanced by the knowledge that government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.

If any of those words resonate with you, or make you passionate about politics again, it might be because you've heard them before; they're from the 1980 acceptance speech of Ronald Reagan at the Republican convention.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

All About John McCainRonald ReaganSarah Palin

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