Public Papers - 1990 - November
Remarks at a Republican Party Fundraising Breakfast in Burlington, Massachusetts
Thank you all so much for that warm welcome. My only hope is that when I had to stand you up a few weeks ago that you paid again to get in here -- [laughter] -- because it is absolutely essential that Bill Weld be elected the next Governor of this State.
It's great to be back here, not far from where I was born. Great to be back here, very, very close to where my beloved sister votes -- Nan Ellis. Glad to see her again. And great to be near Concord.
When John MacGovern is elected to represent the Fifth District, it's going to be the second ``shot that was heard round the world.'' John supported me way back in '78, and we were reminiscing about that as we flew up on Air Force One today. And I do believe he'll be an important new voice for Massachusetts, the kind of voice for change that Bill so articulately called for.
I see many friends here today, people that helped me a lot: Dave Locke and, of course, Ray Shamie and Steve Pierce, who's in there fighting for our ticket; Andy Card, who's doing such a great job in the White House now; Ron Kaufman, your national committeeman. I'm delighted to be with all of them. And Gussy Hornblower, I'm glad to see you, our national committeewoman.
The first thing I want to do is give my congratulations to the terrific team that is going to bring change and a clean house to Massachusetts on Tuesday. It's headed by a man of total integrity and vision. He wants a State without corruption. Bill Weld will turn Massachusetts into a place where strength means strength of character, not strength of old-boy connections. Another leader for the nineties is my friend of longstanding. We go back a long, long time in the political wars. I'm talking about Paul Cellucci. I am grateful for his loyalty, his dedication, and his ability. And along with Bill and Paul, we've got Joe Malone, candidate for State treasurer. He knows what's needed to pull the economy out of tough times, though I myself had an idea for a creative solution to your budget mess: Just start paying the judges by the hour. [Laughter] And of course, Paul McCarthy for secretary of state and Doug Murray for auditor, Bill Sawyer for the AG. It's a wonderful team -- clean, strong, able.
A few years ago, a Democrat teenager had a summer job working here for the city. When he tried to give back the leftover project money, he was told, No, spend it all, or else we won't get any added on next year. It was at that moment that our next Senator, Jim Rappaport, decided he'd have nothing more to do with the tax-and-spend politics of the State Democrats. He became a Republican. We're glad he did. And believe me, you look at that Senate, and you can understand why I need him in Washington, DC. Good luck, Jim.
You heard Bill mention this. There is no higher domestic priority for the Republican agenda than America's economy. The economy -- we've got to get it going, because the economy is the job-creating engine that every family of this country counts on.
If events that he talked about in Eastern Europe and around the world have reminded us of anything, it's that free markets and enterprise are good for people. And America still does it better than anybody else. Still, in recent months, we've seen some uncertainty and concern about slower economic growth in this country. That's one reason for me getting a budget agreement was critical and why I was willing to go the extra mile to get it.
The negotiations, as we all know, were difficult, and they were tough, but we finally reached an agreement with the Democratic majority that controls the Congress. There were clear differences between the two parties in our approach to solving this spiraling deficit problem facing our country. They simply wanted to raise taxes, including income tax rates. I wanted to reduce the deficit with spending cuts in accord with the budget that I sent up to Congress and couldn't get passed. What we got then was a compromise, and like all compromises, there was some good with the bad.
We got about 0 billion -- I think the figure is 2 billion -- in real deficit reduction over a 5-year period, close to half a trillion dollars. We got 0 billion in spending cuts out of that -- the largest cut in history. We got incentives to try to stimulate economic growth. And we put Congress on the pay-as-you-go plan. The enforcement -- one of the key things about this that is good -- the enforcement provisions of this budget agreement: They are real, they are strong, and no longer can these Washington programs that are inflicted on the States be funded with red ink. And if they try to raise spending one dime, they've got to cut other excess spending or find the money for it right there and then. The enforcement provisions are good, and I'm going to see they stay that way.
Finally, we did hold the line against reckless cuts of our Armed Forces. I'm determined to ensure that this nation's defense remains strong. We owe that much to our men and women in the Persian Gulf.
But getting our fiscal policy on track is just part of what we've accomplished, as what Bill and Paul and Jim called the party of change. Well over a year ago, I challenged the Congress and people to work with me to break the stalemate that has hindered our progress on clean air for the past decade. We put our best minds to work on both sides of the aisle, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, to turn technology and the power of the marketplace to the advantage of the environment; to create; to innovate; to tip the scales in favor of recovery, restoration, and renewal.
A year ago, I said, ``Every American expects and deserves to breathe clean air. And as President, it is my mission to guarantee it for this generation and for generations to come.'' Today, thanks to the innovation and cooperation of industry, government, environmental experts, I can say that I now have a clean air bill that I can sign.
And the legislation will remove 10 million tons of emissions that cause acid rain from the air. It will bring the Nation's 100 most smog-laden cities safe, healthy air. And it encourages the use of alternative fuels that are safer for our environment and make us far less dependent on foreign oil. This bill is good for us; it's good for our kids; and it's good for Canada, our neighbor to the north, and Mexico, our neighbor to the south. And it sends a signal of commitment and leadership to the rest of the world.
The fulfillment of this commitment has broken a 13-year legislative logjam; but most important, it's going to make every man, woman, and child breathe a little easier. Because Republicans care about change, and we've got a clean air bill. We've got it because we were the ones that wanted to effect change. And I think that is something to celebrate.
But of course, there's still work to be done on our national agenda that coincides very closely to Jim Rappaport's agenda and Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci's agenda. See, I think that our country is fed up with crime. And the Republicans know handcuffs belong not on the cops and the courts, they belong on the criminals.
Shortly after taking office, I stood before the Capitol, and I called on Congress to pass new, tough laws to help America take back the streets. Instead, in the final hours of the Congress, as we were moving toward tougher crime legislation, Democratic liberals choked and completely gutted our package to fight back against violent crime.
Republicans fought for the habeas corpus reforms, aimed at stopping convicted criminals from endlessly abusing the appeals process. Republicans fought for reforms of the exclusionary rule, a judge-made law that lets the guilty go free. And Republicans fought for a real Federal death penalty for drug kingpins and terrorists. And the liberal Democrats blocked these provisions, blocked the will of the American people. We need to be tough on crimes and criminals. We want change. Give me more Republicans, and we'll get the kind of change that the Nation deserves.
Republicans want to build a better America, and it's not just Washington. To do it, we need more Republicans. We need a Governor like Bill Weld in the statehouse. And of course, we need more Members of the United States Senate that think as we do on matters of crime and the environment. And again, I repeat my plea for Jim Rappaport. He'll be outstanding.
Now, I know there's an awful lot of interest in what's happening halfway around the world. And I also know that we're standing here at an event that is strong on partisan politics. It's the way the American system ought to be; it's the way it is. And as I was flying in over -- making our approach, coming into the field out here at Hanscom, I couldn't help but be struck by not only the beauty of New England but by the importance of what we're all engaged in: participation in the American political process. I'm not a cynic. I believe in it. I look at these candidates, and I think we are fortunate to have such outstanding, dedicated, qualified individuals running for statewide office and congressional office in this State -- feel strongly about it.
So, I have no apologies, only pride in being at a partisan political event. But for the minute now, I want to ask you to just set partisan politics aside, because I know that everyone in this country is vitally interested in the situation in the Middle East. So, let me just, in a few minutes, bring you up to date. You see, I believe that Senator Arthur Vandenberg was right when he said: ``Politics ends at the water's edge.'' We got away from that in the turmoil of Vietnam and, to some degree, even in Korea, but mainly out of the Vietnam experience. And I should say right here before commenting that I am grateful to the leaders and other Members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, for their strong bipartisan support.
On August 2d, Iraq invaded Kuwait. They literally raped, pillaged, and plundered this once-peaceful land, this nation that is a member of the Arab League, a member of the United Nations. Iraq began then to brutally and systematically dismantle Kuwait. There is an historical analogy here between what's happened to Kuwait and what happened to Poland when the world stood still, sat on the sidelines, including our country. They began to systematically dismantle it by shipping its medical equipment, its machines, its records, its assets back to Baghdad -- brutal, systematic dismantling.
They've tried to silence Kuwaiti dissent and courage with an old way of doing that -- I'm talking about the firing squads. In one incident, a 15-year-old boy gunned down, his family forced to watch. His crime: passing out leaflets.
The United States and the rest of the world, united in anger and outrage, determined to force Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. On August 5th, he announced that he was pulling his forces out of Kuwait. At that very moment, he sent his armor and his troops south to mass along the Saudi Arabian border, threatening yet another member of the United Nations, another member of the Arab League.
Subsequently, the United Nations Security Council passed 10 resolutions of condemnation and disapproval. On August 5th, I said that Saddam Hussein's aggression will not stand. Today I am more determined than ever. This aggression will not stand.
This morning, right now, over 300 innocent Americans -- civilians -- are held against their will in Iraq, denied the freedoms granted all under international law. Many of them are reportedly staked out as human shields near possible military targets, something that even Adolf Hitler didn't do. Many more Americans are in hiding in Kuwait, hidden by courageous Kuwaitis, their lives at stake. A number imprisoned in an Embassy of the United States right there in Kuwait City, and they are cut off from food and other supplies, and they are surrounded by Iraqi troops. Our flag does still fly, but the rights of these American citizens are, at this very moment, being denied by Iraq's brutal dictator.
So, let me be clear: We have no argument with the Iraqi people, none at all. We bear no hostility to the Iraqi people, nor do any of the other 25 countries represented on land and sea, standing with us shoulder to shoulder in the Gulf. Our problem is with Saddam Hussein alone.
I want desperately to have a peaceful resolution to this crisis. Indeed, we've worked closely with the United Nations in putting sanctions into effect, in passing resolutions, in speaking with one voice against the invader's aggression. We are giving the sanctions the time to work. And I hope that there will never be a shot fired in anger. But let me be very, very clear: There will be no compromise on the stated objectives of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, none at all.
The brutality against innocent civilians will not be tolerated and will not stand. Saddam's clear violations of international law will not stand. And that means, yes, his brutal aggression will not stand. No one wants a peaceful end to this crisis more than I do. But no one is more determined to see this aggression turned back than I am. And I will not change on that fundamental point of morality.
As to our own kids, our own forces in the Gulf, they are the best. They're the best young men and women ever to serve in our Armed Forces. They're all volunteers. They're all volunteers. They're all well-trained. They are all highly motivated. They are your sons and daughters; they're your neighbors' kids. They're the finest, and we owe them an enormous vote of thanks.
You know, these men and women don't take democracy for granted. Thousands upon thousands of them are going to be sending in absentee ballots from the Saudi desert or upon the seas of the Gulf of Oman and near the Straits of Hormuz. And if they can find the time to vote under such challenging conditions, so can every single American here at home. We have an obligation to show these extraordinary GI's that we don't take democracy for granted either. So, let's make them as proud of us as we are of them.
Now, shifting the gears back 180, I was here to support an outstanding ticket for the statewide offices and congressional offices in the State of Massachusetts. You can be a part of significant change if you'll elect Bill Weld the next Governor and elect Jim Rappaport the next Senator.
Thank you, and God bless you all.
Note: President Bush spoke at 9:41 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Burlington Marriott Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to David Locke, minority leader of the State senate; Ray Shamie, chairman of the State Republican Party; Steve Pierce, minority leader of the State house of representatives and chairman of the Bill Weld campaign; Andrew H. Card, Jr., Assistant to the President and Deputy to the Chief of Staff; Paul Cellucci, candidate for Lieutenant Governor; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Following his remarks, President Bush traveled to Mashpee, MA.