WASHINGTON, Mar. 10
Starting tonight, several white Republican men who want to replace George Walker Bush as President of the United States and Commander in Chief will speak to a group of party activists from the South (and, really, all over the country) at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis.
No fewer than six men with possible presidential aspirations will speak tonight and tomorrow, culminating in an utterly meaningless, utterly vital straw poll, the results of which will be announced on MSNBC and Hotline's SRLC blog LINK at 9:05 pm ET Saturday.
If you are someone who believes that the next president will almost certainly be a Republican (either because of an Electoral College lock or because the Democrats will nominate someone who is unelectable), you can't help but wonder if this weekend's event will someday be part of American history -- the moment when the nation's dominant party (and almost every serious political reporter who wears "Gang of 500" dog tags) decide to anoint The Next President of the United States.
Trust us: a lot more preparation will have gone into this weekend than most of the meta-candidates and their meta-campaign-staffers will let on. Their considerations and choices: when to arrive and when to leave; who to meet with (publicly and privately); how to pack the hall; which reporters to seek out (and which to snub); and, most of all, what to say in their speeches.
Mindful of how busy these cats are; mindful of how difficult it is to both support the current occupant of the Oval Office and create some proper Rove-approved distance; and/but mindful of how a single well-written and well-delivered speech can change human history -- mindful of all that, The Note provides to those headed to Memphis and still editing, the text of a speech that pretty much all of them can give.
We have included stage directions too, but, alas, we can't help you deliver it. For that, you are on your own.
The scene: the Peabody Hotel, Memphis.
[A few trusted college and high-school volunteers, strategically placed around the hall, begin chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as they hold aloft both pre-printed and "homemade" signs with various slogans featuring your name. As you take the podium, you should look up with mock surprise, as if the chants were divinely inspired, and the signs a total surprise.]
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. [Tell a touching, lightly embellished tale from the road involving high school basketball, J.J. Redick (if you have to ask, don't run) or NCAA pools.]
Ladies and gentlemen, I come before you as a missionary of [insert home state name*] values. HEARTLAND values.
Friends, YOUR values are MY values and they're the values of the AMERICAN PEOPLE and we're proud Republicans making sure THOSE are the values that are animating this great country. We will all continue to work together as a party. And a great party it is -- the party of Lincoln, Reagan, Mercer Reynolds, and Jack Oliver.