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Public Papers - 1990 - October

Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate John Engler in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Thank you all very much, and I'm very pleased to be back here. And what a great ticket we have heading up to run the State of Michigan. We need the change. We need John Engler to be the next Governor. We need Connie Binsfeld to be the Lieutenant Governor.

And so, I just came out here to do what Barbara did last week, and that is to wish John and Connie and all the rest of them -- I'm going to be going into a few omissions here, but I see way down on the end a guy running for the university trustees, Marv Esch. He and I were elected to the Congress the same time, and he's been a good friend ever since. And so, you have outstanding quality running to serve Michigan. And that's why I'm here. Thank you for giving us such a welcome.

I want to pay my respects to Brooks Patterson, who is the Bush-Quayle cochairman, and Ronna Romney, the national committeewoman, and Rich and Betsy DeVos; and so many others.

But let me begin by stating what I said in Detroit about 3 weeks ago on behalf of a good friend, and I'm talking about Congressman Bill Schuette, who I want to see Senator Bill Schuette. He's in a tough fight, but we're right in the period when these people start moving in the polls, and moving up. And we need him. We need him -- the change we need -- and we need him in real leadership. So, let's elect the man from Midland. Let's elect Bill Schuette to the Senate.

[At this point, audience members interrupted the President's remarks.]

May I address myself to the question that has been raised. We are not in the Middle East to protect oil; we are there to stand up against aggression. And we will stay there as long as it takes.

And now what we need is something in Michigan that we do not have in Washington, and I'm talking about a Republican State senate. We need to get control here so Governor Engler can run this State the way you and I want him to run the State. So, let's maintain our majority in the senate and gain a majority in the house. And then, of course, that brings me to the man of the hour. You know who I'm talking about. He's the right man to do the job, my friend and your next Governor, John Engler.

It's a question that all boils down to a question of leadership. And when the going was tough for me back in 1988 and in earlier days, this man stood up and led, and I'll never forget it. And that's why I'm here, because I know what he can do as a leader for this great State.

You know the story better than I: from a family farm in Beal City to a graduate of Michigan State, a State representative, and then one of the most respected members of the Michigan State Senate. And some say it's impossible to beat an incumbent. Well, you tell that to John Engler. He's already beaten three. And I'm here to help him make it number four -- the cleanup hitter.

Twenty-one days from now, just about now actually, the polls will be closing in Michigan, so please get out the vote. Get your neighbors to the polls. Do not fail to exercise your democratic franchise. If we do it, if we turn our vote out, this man and Connie and others will be elected, I can guarantee you.

The issues are not so unlike the issues in Washington. This election is going to decide whether Michigan chooses the bankrupt policies of tax and spend or, on the other hand, whether it chooses Republican policies that put Michiganers back to work. It is not right that this industrial State trails behind all the others in terms of employment.

I am fighting with our national drug strategy in place now, fighting to win this battle against narcotics. And I can tell you, nationally, we're making progress. But I want to see John Engler here who does not soft-pedal the need to be tough on crime. We share each other's philosophies on that. And I happen to believe that it is time to care more about the victims of crime and a little less sympathy for the criminals that are causing the crimes.

And there's another key ingredient here. This race will have a lot to say about whether or not Michigan has fair reapportionment. And let's face it, Michigan needs its reapportionment map drawn by the Democrats like the Spartans need their playbook written by Ohio State. We don't need that at all.

And so, what it means then is getting people that believe, as John does, that the challenges are met through the human heart and through the mind, and not through the heavy hand of Washington, DC. Over and over again, he has told me to cut back if I can on the mandated programs, the programs from Washington dictated by the liberal Democrats that tell everybody in Michigan exactly how you have to solve their problems. I want to put the action where it belongs -- right here in the hands of the Governor, not back there in Washington, DC.

And there's another field where we totally agree, and that's the field of education. And the Governors do have a special role. John Engler knows that excellence is obtained through higher standards, through more accountability, through empowering the parents with more choice in where their kids go to school. And so, we unveiled the Educational Excellence Act in Washington -- Excellence Act of 1990. And we worked with the Governors to develop this country's first-ever national education goals. So, what I say is: Let's back men like John Engler who will work with me to make those goals a reality and to make our great country the number one in education around the entire world.

I mentioned the fight on narcotics. Sixteen months ago I sent a violent crime bill to Congress. It's a tough one. It supports the police; it's tough on the criminals. And here's the problem: The liberal Democrats have made every effort to water down the bill. The solution: electing candidates who support toughening laws at both the Federal and State level. And so, join with me in telling Congress to take the shackles off policemen, the courts, and the law. We need a guy like Bill Schuette in the Senate. We need John Engler in the Governor's mansion, who will help our police take back the streets.

I hate to ruin this wonderful evening, but let me just say a word about the Federal budget deficit. The American people have watched with growing frustration as this process drags on and on. And it hasn't been pretty, and it hasn't been nice. Year after year, Congress fails to meet its budget deadlines on time. And it resorts to passing emergency bills just to keep the Government operating. It has happened 37 times in the last 10 years. And if this is the best that the system can do, the system controlled -- House and Senate -- by the liberal Democrats, then it's time to build a better system.

So, let me tell you what we must have and what I'm fighting for on your behalf in Washington. We must have real and significant deficit reduction to get this economy moving again. When we get this deal -- listen to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve -- when we get a budget agreement, that will bring down interest rates on home purchases and car loans. That will create jobs. And to get this deficit down, Congress cannot resort to the old political shell game, and America cannot afford business as usual. And so, the budget -- it must be real, it must be enforceable, and it must preserve our incentives for growth. And I will keep the Congress there as long as it takes to get that kind of budget for the American people.

Right this very minute, right this very minute back in Washington, the House is taking up -- the House of Representatives -- the House Democratic budget plan. It is a big Democratic tax plan. And if it reaches my desk, I will veto it because it raises the income taxes of the working men and women in this country. And that is simply unacceptable. And the best shot we've got is the Senate package. At least it holds the line on income tax rates. So, I'm interested in seeing that one move forward.

You know, all Americans are concerned that Congress will continue to pay for its spending habits by raising the income taxes on everybody. And the budget summit did move us in the right direction. It's brought us to this final countdown week, and it's down to 4 days. And Congress has the responsibility and it has the obligation to act, and the American people have a right to expect the United States Congress to act reasonably.

And so, on November 6th, let's send Congress a message. Let's reject the Democrats' tax-and-spend policies that got us here in the first place and tell Congress that America's kids, the young ones here, deserve to inherit more than an avalanche of unpaid bills in a mortgaged future.

You know, when I was here -- on another subject -- when I was here 3 weeks ago, I spoke to Michigan's sons and daughters in another context, one that's on the minds of all Americans. And I spoke of those young men and women now on active duty in Saudi Arabia, saying these men and women show that America would not be the land of the free if it were not also the home of the brave. And we intend to stand by those who stand up for what is right and good. And so, we will remain in the Persian Gulf for as long as it takes to complete our mission. And above all, we will keep faith with the greatest service men and women any nation could possibly have.

So, we're down to the wire; 20 days from now we've got to keep faith with America. So, let's get to the polls. Let's show our will and our resolution, and let's keep a Republican majority in this State's senate and win a majority in the house. And let's elect Bill Schuette as Senator. And let's send the right man to Lansing: Let's elect John Engler the Governor of the State of Michigan. You can do it. You hold it in the palm of your hands to get this job done. So, take a friend. Go to the polls. Vote for John Engler.

And God bless the State of Michigan, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:33 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Amway Grand Center. In his remarks, he referred to Richard DeVos, Republican candidate for the State board of education, and his wife, Betsy, Republican chairman for the Fifth Congressional District; and Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Following his remarks, the President attended a reception at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and then returned to Washington, DC.

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