Public Papers - 1990 - October
Remarks at a Fundraising Breakfast for Gubernatorial Candidate Pete Wilson in Irvine, California
Don, thank you so very much for that very, very generous introduction. If I began to try to express my gratitude to Don for all he's done for me, it would be impossible. So, I just want to say thank you -- thank you for what you and George have done for this wonderful event in support of Pete Wilson, for all that you both do in support of this party. And I am very, very pleased to be here.
I'm delighted to see our able State chairman down here. He's done a remarkable job pulling this party together, getting it unified so we will win these statewide elections in about 11 days from now. Frank Visco, thank you, sir, for your great leadership for the party. I know out here somewhere is Tom Fuentes, the Orange County chairman. Where is -- [applause]. If Tom ever needs a campaign chairman for national office, all he has to do is call the White House and ask for Barbara Bush. That's his biggest admirer, and she feels about him just the same way I do. What a job he's done.
And I also want to congratulate in advance, hopefully, the rest of this ticket here: your own Marion Bergeson, who's -- I love what Pete Wilson said about her -- is yours, who's now going on to be the State's Lieutenant Governor; Matt Fong for comptroller down here; and of course, Thomas Hayes, who we know will remain as State treasurer.
So, I think we've got an outstanding team. And I also want to put in a plug for one who was just here, had to go on to that campaign trail -- and I'm talking about the next Congressman from one of these districts right here, Bob Hammock. He's in a tough race, but I believe he's going to make it. And boy, do we need him in that seat.
Well, I'm delighted to be here. And it was very generous of Pete to get on that telephone and give me those warm words of welcome. He is doing exactly what he should do as this Congress wraps up. I wish they'd been out of business long before now, frankly. But he's got to be there to protect the interests of the people of California, and I believe he'll do just that.
But I'm here this morning because the stakes are high. And we all know that out on the trail right now there's a strong, vibrant woman involved in this race. People say she's a winner, the one woman who's finally a match for Pete. But Gayle is much too modest to admit that. [Laughter] What a job Gayle Wilson is doing for her husband across this State. It is unbelievable. And Barbara and I salute you, and we admire you, and we are just grateful that you are with us here today.
You know, it's good to be back. And I start by saying thank you. Thank you to all those in Orange County -- and I thought Don put it pretty well -- all of you for giving me and, I'd say, Barbara, too, the opportunity to serve the greatest country on the face of the Earth as President. And I must say, last night when I arrived at El Toro and landed at the Marine base and saw the dedication of those families, many of them with their husbands halfway around the world -- those marines out there -- I must say it really moved me as I went down and shook hands with each and every one of them. And transcending the partisan politics that bring us this morning, I just want you to know this: we are not going to fail in our mission halfway around the world.
Some think that the differences between the parties are blurred. And to that I say, nonsense. Republicans believe that power should be in the hands of people, not in the Government in Washington, DC. Republicans want to reform Washington so we can expand the opportunity for all Americans instead of expanding the budget year in after year out. In education, Republicans want reform to empower parents to choose their children's schools. In child care, we're the ones that want reform to empower parents to choose who will watch over their children. In the most desolate inner city, we want reform, so we strive to create enterprise zones, zones of opportunity, to remove barriers to mobility and remove barriers to success, to empower people with the spirit of enterprise.
In short, we do want to build a better America. That is why I need more Republicans in the United States Congress. And that's why I want to see Pete Wilson as Governor of this great State, so that we are going to have a fair shake in redistricting in a couple of years from now. We've been gerrymandered out of it, and the time has come for fairplay.
In addition, Pete's been there in Washington; he's seen it. He's seen what 40 years of Democratic control of the Congress have given us: bigger and bigger government with more and more spending. And remember, it is Congress that appropriates every dime and tells us how to spend every dime. And the American people know this in overwhelming numbers: that it is the United States Congress that must be changed if this country is going to move ahead.
I met yesterday with the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, and one thing is clear: We are united in the opposition to the tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats. Now, after 8 long months of negotiations, we may be on the verge of a budget agreement. This morning, in a major newspaper, I was challenged by one of the House Democratic leaders who now puts the budget negotiations into the context of the Presidential politics of 1992.
Well, let me tell you something. Let me say, first off, that the number of Democratic leaders -- and I'm talking about the leadership in the House and the Senate -- have been working cooperatively. And I think they have been working very hard to get a budget agreement. For that I salute them, because I firmly believe that we must get an agreement to start getting these deficits under control -- with real enforcement, 500 billion dollars' worth of cuts over 5 years that cannot be changed by the next Congress or the next one after that.
But in criticizing me today and in justifying the higher taxes that their party has long been proposed, one was quoted in the paper as follows: ``The President needs to explain to the American people why they are being asked to swallow strong medicine'' -- that's what Democrats call taxes -- ``but he didn't do it.'' He says, ``The President didn't do this.'' Well, let me try once more.
For 36 years, his party, the Democratic Party, have controlled the House of Representatives. And year after year after year, they have presided over these budget deficits. They appropriate every dime, and they tell me how to spend every dime. And yes, we need a deficit agreement. And yes, I have had to compromise. Haven't liked that a bit, but I've done it because the President must, at certain times, put the overall good of the country first. You have to give a little from time to time.
But the American people know all too well that strong medicine -- I refer back to that quote -- is required because the Democratically controlled Congress simply has been on an uncontrolled spending binge for years. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that Congress has been spending more than we take in for far too long. And that's got to stop.
For the sake of the Nation, we have to reduce the deficit now. I was determined to do it by a careful balance of spending cuts. Predictably, the Democrats wanted to slash defense and raise income taxes for all Americans. Take a look at that House-passed bill. Don't let them tell you that was a tax package to hit the rich. That was going after the working men and women in this country, through the deferring of index. And everybody out there is smart enough to see it.
The agreement that we get won't be the best deal possible, but in my judgment, it will be the best deal possible with this Congress. And the best way for America to stand against more spending and more taxes is to elect more Republicans to the House and to the Senate of the United States.
The budget, regrettably, isn't the only thing we've waited for. We've waited for action on the environment. We all want a safe and healthy world, preserved and protected for our kids. In fact, when I think of Gayle's husband, Pete, he wrote the first Coastal Protection Act. He's been fighting for clean air for years, long before it became the cause. His brand of environmental activism is what California really needs because he proves that a leader can be green without being ``Big Green.''
I hope you know this, but clean air at the Federal level has been one of my administration's top priorities as well. It's been 13 years since the Clean Air Act has been successfully amended and improved. And so, on July 21st, 1989, we sent to the Congress new comprehensive clean air legislation to cut acid rain, urban smog, and air toxics. Not 5, not 10, but over 100 amendments were added; and it took Congress 6 weeks to appoint the members of the conference committee. And then 150 congressional negotiators squabbled for 15 weeks. Now, 462 days after we sent that legislation, it looks like a bill finally -- thank heavens -- might arrive on my desk. You see, I believe the American people do deserve clean air. And I believe Californians deserve clean air. And what they don't deserve is a Congress that is hamstrung by special interests wrangling over our nation's priorities.
Here's another thing that can't wait -- and again, I admire Pete Wilson for being out front, both in California and in Washington, on these questions. Another thing that can't wait: safe streets and schools. Here in California, Pete Wilson has worked for harsher penalties for those convicted of rape and assault. Back in Washington, he supported the tough crime bill that we sent to Capitol Hill nearly 16 months ago. And when liberal Democrats tried to gut the death penalty, it was Republicans who stopped them. Republicans demanded a real, workable death penalty for those who kill Federal law enforcement officers. That's my position; that's Pete's position; that is the position of the people of California.
Well, that crime legislation is still in a conference committee. If Congress sends me a weak bill here in the final hours, I'm going to veto it. And if Congress sends me a strong bill, it's because of Republicans like Pete Wilson, who insist that these people that murder our police officers get the kind of punishment they deserve. Innocent Americans are waiting for a criminal justice system that is tougher on criminals than it is on law enforcement and one that cares a little bit more about the victims of crime and a little less about the criminals themselves. And if you do that, take the message across this State -- heavily laden, heavily rich in congressional seats -- that the best way to get that done is by voting for a new Congress, a Republican Congress, on November 6th.
You know, congressional Democrats are upset because they know that the Republicans are on the right side of the issues. We just need more Republicans on the right side of the aisle. The voters are fed up. They know where the blame lies. And that's why Californians are supporting Proposition 140, the one Pete endorsed. For those who may have straggled in from inside the Washington beltway, let me say that that's the one that limits the terms of permanent politicians and puts the power back into the hands of the people. The 1988 Republican platform supports limitation on terms for Members of Congress. In 1988 -- I'm not just jumping on the bandwagon -- that was in our platform. And that is one way to correct the abuse of power and the unbridled influence of an entrenched Congressional staff. And I say, it's an idea whose time has come.
There's another point -- Pete's been in the forefront on this one: our party has always stood for strength at home and strength abroad. And today it's no different. But partisanship, as Senator Vandenberg said, stops at the water's edge. We got away from that a little bit in the Vietnam days -- subsequently related to South America. But I respect that. I like that concept that when it comes to foreign affairs, the partisanship should, indeed, stop at the water's edge. And so, I think in a spirit of fairplay -- given what we're facing halfway around the world -- I ought to say, and I say it proudly, that I am very grateful for the bipartisan support for our stand against aggression in the Persian Gulf.
Our ability to build a worldwide consensus condemning Iraq and its brutality proves that there is no substitute for American leadership in the community of nations. We and the world are determined that Saddam Hussein's aggression and his brutality will not stand.
Here at home, we can, indeed, fulfill our party's mission of creating opportunity and empowering people, set forth so long ago -- the mission begun by Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and continued by our last President, a great son of California, Ronald Reagan. The time has come to fulfill that mission now. But to do it, we need more Republicans in Washington and, indeed, in Sacramento.
So, my appeal to you is -- you in this county who hold so much of the fate of all these statewide candidates in your hand -- let's get out our vote on November 6th. And let's make Pete Wilson the next great Republican Governor of the State of California. Go to work. Get out there now with 11 days to go and elect this man Governor.
Thank you very, very much.
Note: President Bush spoke at 9 a.m. in the International Ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to longtime friend Don Bren; Gov. George Deukmejian of California; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. President Bush also referred to ``Big Green,'' the environmental protection initiative on the November ballot in California.