Secret Draft of Hillary Clinton’s Convention Speech, 2016
[Cue big screen in background: images of standard Americana fare: holding babies in crowds, working rope lines, making speeches, American flag.]
[Hillary in foreground at podium, looking serious but kind, like Mom about to say something really important to the family.]
My Fellow Americans:
To say that we as a people stand at a crossroads is the biggest understatement of 2016, maybe of the last decade or even century. Our choices have never been starker, the stakes never higher. We either get our shit ourselves together now, or our country is about to hurl down a dead-end road with no turning back. We can either contend with the challenges we face and make the hard difficult choices, or pass on the opportunity and allow our basest fears to rule us.
Here I stand, giving the biggest speech of my life out of many thousands I’ve given, in stark contrast to the other candidate for the hardest job in the world. I know you at home are probably busy and I might only have a few minutes to make my case for why I should be leader of the free world President of the United States. You are the hiring manager, and I just walked in to interview for the job, to make my case. You will decide with your vote whether I’m the most qualified.
[Big screen: Hillary as First Lady, at conference tables, greeting world leaders, relaxing with her family. Lots of smiles and warmth. Shots of Bill and Chelsea]
You know me, and I know you best I can while living such a busy life and crisscrossing our great nation as a candidate and candidate’s wife and advocate for causes. So I can’t really tell you anything new about myself that will make me seem exciting and fresh. I’m 68 years young and have been working nonstop for the past half century. I don’t pass for fresh. And the things that truly excite me are as simple as sharing time with my family and as complex as negotiating international treaties. I’m no Kanye West or Katy Perry. Instead, I offer tried and true as my greatest virtue.
But I will give you more of a reason than that to hire me. Just give me a few more minutes.
I have worked in law and government for most of my life, and the bulk of my resume is my career as an attorney, a First Lady, a senator, and a cabinet secretary. I can pronounce Kazakhstan and recite long passages from the Constitution. I site Supreme Court cases that our law and order is built upon today, and trace the history back to the Founding Fathers. I know our government inside and out and have personally met most of the world’s current leaders. And I’ve loved politics and government since I was a schoolgirl. To me, there’s no greater contribution a person can make to benefit society and our fellow humans. It’s what I’m best at.
[Big screen: Hillary as Valedictorian, Hillary reading thick briefing books, Hillary as a Goldwater Girl.]
I have excelled at everything I do, pushing myself harder than anyone else possibly could. You don’t wake up at 4am and work till midnight most days of the year because you want success handed to you like a fat an inheritance. You aren’t top of your class by waiting for things to come to you. I grew up knowing that I had to work harder and smarter than everyone else to achieve my ambitions and fulfill my potential. I knew I had something great to do. I have never shied away from the hardest jobs or most difficult decisions. And I never used my gender as an excuse or reason to avoiding taking on the biggest challenges.
And it all comes down to this moment as I convince you to vote for me.
Politicians will promise you anything to get elected, we all know that. I’m not going to make a bunch of promises. You can look back at my history and see what my priorities are. I care deeply about our children and have a long history of promoting their health and well-being. I care deeply about our police and military and especially our veterans, and have spent countless hours fighting for their causes. I care deeply about giving everyone a chance to succeed and using every means at our disposal to make that possible. These will continue to be my priorities as president. But I have bigger ideas about what to do with the trust you invest in me.
[Big screen: shots of Hillary with Vets and military brass, at hospitals and children’s wards, then transition to shots of Bush Jr. looking like an idiot, of Cheney’s demonic smile, of homes being foreclosed and soldiers coming home wounded.]
Our nation has just passed through eight years of the greatest difficulties. When Barack Obama took office our economy was on the brink of collapse, our military was pushed to its limit, our treasury was strained beyond belief, and even our closest allies were losing faith in us. We have weathered these storms and come out so much better, stronger, and wiser. We’re ready now for more.
We don’t need to make American great again because it already is and always has been! We don’t need to reverse course, we need to go forward more boldly than ever! We are Americans and we don’t just survive, we thrive! We fight for what we believe! We make promises we can keep and lead by example!
We need to be realistic about what we can do and how much power we really have. I’m a realist and know from long experience that you can’t just walk into Washington and change the world. But that won’t stop me from trying. Remember Hillarycare? I foresaw 20 years ago where our healthcare system was headed and tried to fix it before it was corporatized and costs exploded. But I didn’t do enough to convince you of the dangers ahead, so my plan didn’t get accepted and Mr. Obama and the democrats in Congress had to do our best to patch things up when the opportunity came around again years later.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything I didn’t do and every way I didn’t live up to expectation. Working in government is like fighting a war every day where words are bullets and perceptions are every bit as important as reality. I’ve allowed my opponents to paint a picture of me as ruthlessly ambitious and narrowly interested, which is far from the truth. I’m hugely ambitious, yes, and for decades I’ve been interested in helping communities and families in every way I can. I guess that’s threatening to some people and they say every nasty thing about me that they can and try to convince people I’m a raging bitch I work in government for the wrong reasons.
Well, you can’t fix stupid.
[Big screen: Trump being an idiot. Take your pic of footage to show.]
The other person in the running for this job thinks that real estate development qualifies him for the hardest job in the world, that running casinos is like running a country and building golf courses is like building national infrastructure. He thinks that he can just snap his fingers and other nations will bend to his will, and that all the economy needs is more tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations. I wonder sometimes if he thinks that being president is the ultimate reality show where everything follows the script and everyone marches to your tune. He sure has some strange ideas about how government works.
Look, I’ll never be liked by everybody. I have my flaws. What I can really promise you is that as president I will wake up every day – steady and ready – to face our challenges head on. I will try to do the most good for the most people and
use every resource do everything my power to help all Americans thrive.
[Big screen: hopeful imagery. Back to theme of Hillary as Mom.]
I will fight. I will put my foot down and bring order to this house. I will look the bullies in the eye and tell them to bring it on. I’ve got the heart of a champion and I don’t take gruff from anyone. I’ve seen every trick in the book and shot holes in every pretender who’s tried to say they’re better than me. I’m really no better than anyone else, and not really that different. I just have a passion that never says die and an ability to endure any trial or hardship. I fall down, and I get back up. And so do you.
I promise I will look myself in the eye every day and do a reality check. I will confront
the dark inside myself my flaws and weaknesses so that it doesn’t affect how I do my job. I will be smart and tenacious and wise and use every favor I’ve ever earned, every contact I’ve ever made, and every drop of energy I’ve got left to be the best mother fucking president I can be!
And that’s why I should be your president. God bless America. Thank you.