To: the Honorable George W. Bush
Governor of Texas
Dear Governor Bush:
SO, CONGRATULATIONS on your wins in the March primaries. Now you’re going to be the Republican nominee after all. It hasn’t turned out to be as easy as it looked six months ago, and the campaign will become only more difficult in the coming months. In the general election Gore, using some of the events of your primary campaign, can push into the center or even to the right of center, casting you in the role of a hard-line right-winger and making it difficult for you to run as, say, a compassionate conservative. And then there is the danger that the fight with McCain has sapped the strength of the Republican party. Hubert Humphrey beat Eugene McCarthy in 1968 but drained the youth and energy out of the Democratic party in the process.
Your best opportunity to solve both these problems will be in your acceptance speech at the Republican convention. It’s bound to become the most important speech of your life, just as your dad’s acceptance speech at the 1988 convention was the most important speech of his life. I’m sure you remember how Dukakis had come roaring out of the Democratic convention and was fourteen points ahead in the polls. But your dad’s speech turned the tide back in his favor. That speech had the famous “thousand points of light” line. It also had “Read my lips: No new taxes,” which came back to haunt him four years later, but even that is proof it was a great