Public Papers - 1990
Remarks at the Republican National Committee Election Countdown Rally
Good to see you all. Thank you very much. Let me just say that it's terrific to see so many good friends of this administration and of this country. Barbara and I are delighted to be with you, and I want to salute the members of my Cabinet who are up here with me. You know, I am blessed as a President to have such an outstanding Cabinet working for this country every single day. They're good, they're strong, they're principled, and I am very, very fortunate.
I'm told that in addition to these Cabinet members, why, our able Administrator, my friend Bill Reilly is here, Bruce Gelb from USIA, Paul Coverdell. And also, of course, I want to single out two or three who are here that have just worked their hearts out on recent events in Washington, and I'm talking about our Chief of Staff John Sununu, Dick Darman, and Secretary Brady, who have done an outstanding job wrestling with the United States Senate and the House.
And, of course, I wanted to come over and express my personal gratitude to Charlie Black and to Jeanie Austin, who are leading our party at this critical time, and to say to other friends of Lee Atwater's -- and all of us are -- Lee continues to be a great inspiration to both Barbara and to me and all of our family. And I'm sure he is to each and every one of you, too.
I wanted to come over here at this time and talk to you, the faithful, those that are standing there getting the job done day in and day out, because election day is exactly 1 week from today. I look at it as opportunity day, a day when America's voters will have the opportunity to do something: to vote for change and to vent their frustration, their anger, and the betrayal that they have felt at the hands of the unresponsive and irresponsible Democratic Congress.
You know, I read about voter frustration, but America has the opportunity to send that crowd up there on Capitol Hill, that one party that's controlled Congress for year after year after year -- the Democrats -- send them a message by sending more Republicans to Congress.
You know, this country faced an enormous challenge here, a challenge of, I'd say, tremendous consequences: a Federal budget deficit spiraling into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and the Democratic philosophy of tax and spend was coming home to roost. And I was elected to make some tough decisions, to govern.
At times, every President finds that he's had to compromise for the good of the country. And I reached out my hand -- I think everybody here knows it, and I think people all across the country know that I tried to reach out my hand to work with the Democrats in Congress. They control the House, they control the Senate. And I tried very hard to do that, only to have a parade of liberal Democrats march to the microphone in the well of the House to blame me for their own failures.
Well, I believe we've had enough of that. And now we get to take our case to the American people. You see, we can -- we can send a message to every Democratic Congressman or Senator who mortgaged the future of our kids. To every Democrat who tried to raise income taxes, not as they say on the rich but on every working American, and to every Democrat who's part of this Democratic spending binge: Americans say we're not going to take it anymore, because this is our country and it belongs to those who work in the fields and in the factories, who run the small businesses, who teach our kids, who protect the land. And each one is every bit as much a part of the American dream as the privileged few who roam the congressional corridors of power. And I want to abolish, for example, I want to abolish these special interest PAC's, and Democrats don't. Democrats want the taxpayers to underwrite the bill for their own reelection, and I don't. And if we have more Republicans on Capitol Hill, Uncle Sam won't foot the bill for Democratic campaigns.
Democrats may be busy taking care of their special interests and these reelection interests. And they may have forgotten their most basic sacred trust is the common interest. Well, I don't think we have forgotten. And I think Americans are going to remember who stands with these values that we all believe and that I've campaigned on and still feel fervently about. It's the Republicans who were looking out for the working men and women of this country.
And who would have thought that the finest instincts and ideals of Jefferson and Adams would have come down to this: an arrogant majority that uses its power to protect its own prerogative, its own perks, its own privileges, its own pet projects. And it is time that American people say enough is enough. No more Democratic control of the Congress.
You know, they say there are two things you should never watch being made: sausage and laws. [Laughter] When it comes to the Democrats in Congress, I'd say this year has been -- we've all been taken on a first-class tour of the hot dog factory. [Laughter]
I was disappointed but not surprised -- the minute that this budget deficit agreement was reached -- disappointed but not surprised to hear a Democratic leader say that the Democrats will continue to demand higher taxes, raising the income tax rates next year. Disappointed to hear the distortion of Republican motives, goals, and accomplishments. Disappointed to hear the clumsy explanation of the Democrats' attempt to raise billion -- this is the figure from the recent Democrat-passed bill in the House -- billion in new income taxes on working Americans. And at the same time they were talking about soaking the rich -- there was a billion surtax proposal in there -- billion for that, and billion trying to sock it to every working man and woman in this country. The rhetoric is wrong, and their purpose is wrong. And we're not going to let them get away with it.
After 6 endless, 6 endless months of budget negotiations, we finally got a deal. We fought for what's good in the package. I think the spending cuts, when you look at them, are good. The entitlement reform is good. The tough enforcement provisions are better than I thought we could ever get in any way out of this Congress. But for 6 months, the Democrats stalled. For 6 months this Congress stalled the budget agreement and, in my view, risked stalling the economy. They tried to pull back the throttle on this economy, all in the name of politics and higher taxes. And the American people can hold them responsible because we are not going to let them get away with it.
All in all, this budget agreement is unprecedented. It is long overdue, and in my view, it is essential. And every time I see out there across the country some young kid or a class of third graders, I think to myself: We have got to do something to stop mortgaging the future of these young people. It isn't fair, and it isn't right, and the tax and spend mentality has gone too far when you see us with 0 billion added to the deficit over and over again.
We got nearly 0 billion in spending cuts, and almost 0 billion -- 2 billion I believe was the figure -- in total deficit reduction. But to get an agreement, there was a ransom. And that ransom was taxes. And, after all, the Democrats' chant has always been tax and spend and damn the deficit. And we pushed hard to cut spending, to get the deficit down. And I just simply could not bring myself to leave America's children an avalanche of unpaid bills.
The issue is larger than one budget agreement or one session of Congress or one election. It may sound corny, but it's about the American dream. It's about the differences between the parties and who can best build a better America. It's about America's families and America's values and who represents them. And I think you know the answer: Republicans do.
You know the difference between Republicans and Democrats. We are the ones fighting for family perspective in this year's legislation -- in education, in child care, in housing. And we're going to keep right on fighting. And we're the ones determined to bring hope and opportunity to the millions forgotten by the Democrats. And we won't give up on them. We're the ones with more sympathy for the victims of crime than for the criminals. And that was in my bill that got shuttered aside, parts of it passing but the toughest parts held up by the liberal Democrats in the House of Representatives. We're going to keep on supporting our police officers. And we're the ones who understand that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership can meet the challenges of an uncertain world. And America will continue to lead because Republicans will not undermine America's strength.
I just came back yesterday from California and Oklahoma, and there, as all around this country, there's a growing momentum for limiting terms of legislators. The biggest, most entrenched special interest in America is right here. And in 1988, the Republican platform called for limiting the terms for Members of Congress. Republicans were the ones out 2 years ago leading the call. Term limitation is an idea whose time has come. And I think its time has come to Capitol Hill, frankly.
Another good thing about getting out in the country, you see what works, see how Governors make things happen. Let me tell you what works. Forty-three Governors already have it; Governor Deukmejian used it 4,000 times. And I'm talking, of course, about the line-item veto. If Congress can't cut spending, give a President a shot. Give me the line-item veto and see what we can do. These ideas work. This is an idea that is working in the States, and most of the States have balanced budget amendments. I'd like to see one of those for the entire country. Let's get out and campaign for it.
We really do need a government of more Republicans from the breadths of this great nation who owe their allegiance to the communities of our 50 States, not to the Democratic tax-and-spend dogma of Capitol Hill; a government led by men and women with a sense of history, with a sense of the potential of this country and of every American, with a willingness to make difficult choices on behalf of the national interest; and men and women who have a genuine vision, the kind of vision that enabled this administration to drag some important legislation out of a gridlocked Democratic Congress. Remember, both Houses, the Senate and the House, in the hands of the Democrats.
We got a good Clean Air Act, and I think that's good for the entire United States of America and internationally as well. We had to pull it out, and it worked. We got a child-care bill out of this deficit agreement, and it's a good one -- doesn't give central government control over all child care -- it empowers parents.
We got a good, fair, and effective Americans with Disabilities Act -- a landmark piece of legislation in terms of fair play long overdue. We got a Defense budget that in my view protects our nation's security. It was under vicious assault and vicious attack from the liberal elements in the Democrats in both the House and the Senate. But thanks to the negotiating of those right here and the work of our Secretary of Defense, we got a reasonably good Defense number, one where I can certify to the American people we can keep our interests wherever they may be. We can keep our commitment. And we built some incentives, finally, into our budget agreement for oil and gas explorations so that we will be less dependent on foreign oil.
And that brings me to another piece of news -- I was talking to Secretary Watkins about this -- that I want to tell Americans about, all Americans. Thanks to a combination of markedly increased world production and consumption measures, the gap in oil supply created by the loss of Iraq and Kuwait production has been closed. And under current circumstances, consumers can count on adequate supplies of petroleum products. And that is good news for all Americans.
In times of crisis and challenge, the American spirit has been a constant source of strength. It's true now, obviously, in the Persian Gulf, and it's just as true at home today. Because across this land still pulses the generosity and the optimism of the true American spirit, the spirit to which Republicans are responding. We will reform this city in the Capital, revive this institution, renew this nation, and together we can keep this country strong and compassionate and idealistic. And we'll do it by bringing this country what we deserve: a better deal.
And I'm going to be carrying that message to the American people. And today I'm here in Washington within sight of the Capitol Dome, but I'll go the vineyards of California and the farms of Ohio, to the shores of Massachusetts and out to the oil fields in Texas. And every time I talk to the American people, I'm going to tell them this: More Republicans in Congress means more men and women fighting against raising taxes and against the big spenders. More Republicans means a better deal for America.
And I wanted to thank each and every one of you. And with a week to go before the election, please keep it up. Redouble your efforts. We can make a difference for this, the greatest and freest country on the face of the Earth. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all very much.
Note: The President spoke at 2:20 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to William K. Reilly, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Bruce S. Gelb, Director of the U.S. Information Agency; Paul D. Coverdell, Director of the Peace Corps; Richard G. Darman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Charlie Black, Jeanie Austin, and H. Lee Atwater, spokesman, cochairman, and chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Gov. George Deukmejian of California.