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Public Papers - 1990 - October

Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Edgar in Chicago, Illinois


Thank you, Jim, and thank you all. What a thrill to be introduced by the next Governor of the State of Illinois. Thank you, Jim. And to you and your wonderful family, Barbara and I send our love.

To Bob Kustra and Jim Ryan and George Ryan and Greg Baise, Sue Suter, Pate Philip -- we've got a first-class team running for statewide office in Illinois, and I am out here to enthusiastically endorse each and every one of them.

And of course, to Governor Jim Thompson, who this January concludes his fourth term -- 14 great years for the State of Illinois -- what a job Jim's done! Thank you, Jim, for that warm introduction, too.

And let me pay my respects to another friend of mine, a man who came up here from Tennessee -- I saw him on Nashville Network the other night, and I wrote him a letter about ``American Boy'' -- and I'm talking about Eddie Rabbitt, great patriot and a wonderful musician. Eddie, thank you very, very much, and all you guys, too. And besides that, I never saw anybody sign so beautifully in country music as Donna Brandwine right here -- had that rhythm going.

You know, there's some real excitement here today -- the balloons, the marching bands, the thousands of cheering people. And I haven't seen anything like it since Millie had her last book-signing party. All of which reminds me, I bring the love and affection of Barbara Bush, who feels as strongly about Jim Edgar as I do.

This State, this great State of Illinois, made the difference in the 1988 Presidential election; and you're about to make a crucial difference in this race next month. That's because this county, Du Page County, is Republican country. So, get out the vote. Get out the vote. Let Du Page say who's going to run this State for 4 more years.

Let me put in an enthusiastic second for another great daughter of Illinois, and I'm talking about Lynn Martin. We need her in the United States Senate, and we need her bad.

And so, here we are in this field house of dreams, sharing the vision of a brighter future for this great State. It's a vision that pulses right through the heartland of America, the deep-running mainstream, the full, big-hearted center that says we want leadership to be direct, we want it to be honest, we want it to be candid, we want it to be purposeful and principled.

So, we are meeting here today in support of a candidate whose record lives up to his rhetoric, whose deeds are worthy of his words -- who says what he means and does what he says. And I'm talking about Jim Edgar, the next Governor of Illinois.

I was talking to some of my friends before we walked in here, and they tell me that there's a lot of opposition posing as Republican look-alikes these days. Well, come November 6th, the opposition will learn what Jim Edgar already knows: It's not enough to play for the prime time and deliver the lines; you've got to deliver the results. That's what Jim Edgar has done as your secretary of state, and that's what he's going to continue to do as Governor of this State.

You've already got -- after Jim and your State's assets -- you already have a lot to be proud of. You've got a vital manufacturing base. You've got world-class business and financial centers. You've got agriculture that feeds the world. In fact, they say that Illinois produces everything from bulldozers to turkeys. I'm not here to talk about your political opponents, but I am here with a message for the people of Illinois: As much as you've got to be proud of, you'll have a lot more to look forward to with Jim Edgar.

You know, he knows that education is crucial for these kids, and he's pledged to make Illinois the very first State to reach those national education goals that we set out for America. Jim Thompson, 49 other Governors, and I spelled these goals out after last year's successful education summit. And he has spelled out -- Jim has -- where he'll get the financial resources to improve the schools. And even more important, he understands that you've got to empower the people, not the bureaucrats. Because when it comes to the kids, we are all accountable, and we must be accountable.

So, Jim has already marshaled what I would call a real partnership between business and labor leaders and local officials and educators and community groups that's made it possible for over 40,000 adults to learn to read. Jim Edgar doesn't just talk about progress in education; he makes it happen.

And Jim also knows that no kid can be safe as long as drug dealers wander the streets peddling poison. So, he's called for tougher penalties for gang leaders and gang crimes. And incidentally, he and I agree 100 percent on another issue: Both of us want to stand up against drunk driving. And those who try to penalize him on this issue must not have things their way.

Now, may I address myself to this opinion here [audience interruption]. What we are for is peace in the Middle East. What we are also for -- [applause] -- but what we are also for is principle. And that's why I have put together the strongest international cooperation that we've ever seen in modern times. And with all respect, we will stand up against this aggression in the Middle East. No big nation can bully a small one, and that is the principle that I stand for.

It is only the United States that can stand for principle. And I'm so glad we have free speech here, but once in a while, you know, we ought to get on with our business.

I can report to you that we're making some progress now in the war against drugs. Our national strategy is working. And Jim believes, as I do, that these drug kingpins, these mass merchants of death, deserve the ultimate penalty -- and I am talking about the death penalty for these drug kingpins.

I might add parenthetically that Jim and I care about the victims of crime a little more than we do about the criminals themselves. And that is the Du Page way, too.

Jim Edgar is calling, with his belief in fiscal sanity, for an amendment to strengthen the Governor's budget-cutting powers. And he will control State spending. And speaking of that, I wish I had what 43 Governors have, and that is the line-item veto. If the Democrat Congress can't do it, give the President a chance to cut this spending under control.

You know, we had a good package -- it was a compromise -- up there that would get the deficit down by 0 billion, not the best of all possible worlds but the best plan possible. And I'm grateful to the legislators that stood with me -- Illinois' own Bob Michel right out there in front. And they worked to build consensus, not controversy.

Sometimes the rhetoric back there gets pretty thick inside that Washington beltway. So, let me just put it in perspective for you. I heard Jim Thompson talking about it. We must have a significant and real deficit-reduction budget to get this economy moving. And when we get that kind of a deal, it will bring down the interest rates on home purchases and car loans. It will bring them down and create new jobs. So the time for Democratic rhetoric is over, and the time to move ahead is to get the Congress moving now, to get us that kind of an agreement. I guess what I'm saying is we can't afford business as usual. The budget's got to be real, it's got to be enforceable, and it's got to preserve our incentives for growth.

You know, I'll take my share of the hits, but I believe the American people really know that the problem has always been the failure of this one-party-controlled Congress to hold down spending. We're not taxing you too little; we're spending too much. And so, make no mistake about it: When you hear this liberal crowd that runs the Congress in Washington talking about taxing the rich, they're going to be after you the next thing you know, because that's the way it works -- tax and spend, tax and spend. And I want to end that once and for all.

So, today they're marking up a big budget plan back in Washington. It's a Democratic tax plan. If it reaches my desk, the one that comes out of the House of Representatives, I will veto it because it raises the income taxes of the working men and women of this country. And I am not going to do that.

One thing, incidentally, that appeals to me on this Senate package is that it holds the line on income tax rates. Republicans have always feared that Congress will continue to pay for its spending habits by raising the income tax rates on everybody. So clearly, the budget summit moved us in the right direction, brought us to this final countdown week. And now we're down to 4 days back there in Washington. And Congress has the opportunity and the obligation to act. And the American people have every right to expect the Congress to finally act responsibly for the taxpayers' interest in this country.

Well, when we get back to the Governor's race here, I know what you're looking for in any leader. You're looking for principle -- statesmanship, not gamesmanship. And that's what Jim Edgar embodies in mind and spirit. I really believe -- I believe this deep in my heart -- that he will be a great Governor for the State of Illinois.

And what you're about here is setting the fundamental direction for Illinois politics in the nineties, in the next century. So, let me close by asking all of you to get out the vote. Go out and work to get out the vote. It's a time of great hope and enormous challenge around the world, particularly over there in the Persian Gulf. And let us all remember and none relinquish the priceless power of the vote that we have here at home.

It was the great son of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, who said that ``Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets. And such will be a great lesson of peace: teaching men that they cannot take by an election, neither can they take by war.''

This fall, reach out to those around you. Get them to the polls. Make the meaning of democracy read loud and clear here in America's heartland. And make Jim Edgar and this outstanding ticket elected to office. Send them to Springfield to do the people's work.

Thank you, and God bless the State of Illinois. Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:23 p.m. at the field house at the College of Du Page. In his opening remarks, he referred to the following Republican candidates for State office: Bob Kustra, Lieutenant Governor; Jim Ryan, attorney general; George Ryan, secretary of state; Greg Baise, treasurer; Sue Suter, comptroller; and James Pate Philip, senate minority leader. The President also referred to ``Millie's Book as Dictated to Barbara Bush.''

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