SPEECH OF SENATOR BOB DOLE
KANSAS NOVEMBER 9,
you Nancy, and good morning everyone.
Robin and I are grateful to all of you for joining us today. I appreciate
Senator Kassebaum's remarks. The last time we were in Kansas together was at her
father's 100th birthday. Alf Landon was a wonderful man. He never lost his sense
of humor, his love of learning or his joy for living. We miss him very much.
know many of you have come a good distance, and I'm thankful for that. I also
recall a time in 1976 when President Gerald Ford joined me here, and that was
another great day for Russell. I enjoy showing Russell off, although it doesn't
take a whole lot longer now than it did when I was a boy.
I look out on Main Street this morning, I see the faces of people who know me
best -- or their children or grandchildren -- people who have always accepted
me, and believed in me.
are people standing here who long ago put quarters they couldn't spare in this
cigar box. That generosity helped reshape my life.
remember the experience -- many years ago -- that began when I felt a sting in
the shoulder. I remember the first thing I thought about was home.
goodness of the people of Russell over the years has been the source of my
inspiration and my strength. The people who settled this community, like so many
others across America, were immigrants and frontiersmen and homesteaders who
knew that grit and endurance and reliance on one's neighbors were needed to
build a better life for their children. They were optimists and builders; they
harnessed invention and hard work to carve a life out of the wilderness. I have
carried the spirit of this place with me throughout my life.
is why I have come back home today to announce before family and friends, that I
am a candidate for my party's nomination to the office of President of the
offer a record, not a resume.
track record of nearly 11,000 votes in Congress, and 27 years of leadership that
can make a difference.
have made a difference.
will make a difference.
it isn't easy. Sometimes the cynics tell you it can't be done.
Security -- It was
bankrupt, they said, and you couldn't fix it. But with leadership and hard work
we fixed it.
America -- It was
on its back. They said you couldn't save it. But with leadership and hard work,
we're bringing it back.
Rights -- They said
we'd lost our resolve, that a consensus couldn't be forged. But with leadership
and hard work, we did it because all Americans, regardless of race, color, creed
or physical disability should have the right to participate in the political
process without fear or intimidation.
-- They said that taxes couldn't be reduced, that loopholes for the special
interests couldn't be closed. But with leadership and hard work, we did it.
talking about making a difference. One person who has is Ronald Reagan. He
restored America's prosperity, rebuilt our military strength and revived our
spiritual wellbeing. Ronald Reagan set us on a new course, and history will be
grateful. But the Reagan record is not something to stand on. It's not
something to run on. It's something to build on.
want to lead America into an even greater era of opportunity for our people and
security for our nation. And so I offer a lifetime of experience and a record
that shows not merely where I stand, but the hopes of a lifetime rooted here in
Russell. I offer a willingness to work hard, to hang tough, to go the distance.
I offer the strength and determination -- molded in America's smalltown
heartland and tempered during a career of public service -- to bring common-sense
answers to the complex problems facing America in its third century.
great heartland Presidents were plain-speaking men whose clear-eyed vision
enabled them to make the tough choices: Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, Dwight
Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. My vision, like theirs, is shaped by the
aspirations of shopkeepers and farmers, workers and everyday Americans. Like
them, I see the opportunities before us. Like them, I see the dangers. Like
them, I'm willing to make the tough choices needed to preserve opportunities for
generations to come.
Federal budget deficit is the single greatest threat to a prosperous and dynamic
America. We do not expand opportunity when we burden our children with debt from
our own self-indulgence. We will either sacrifice for our children or we will
continue to make our children sacrifice for us. We have the privilege of
choosing. Our children do not.
the deficit problem began, every Administration and every Congress has tried to
postpone true reckoning. At no point has our government been willing to face and
weight the touch choices, to act resolutely to cut spending.
pledge today is that we will tackle the runaway federal budget head-on --
without raising tax rates.
the single exception of programs to assist vulnerable Americans, no area of
Federal spending will be off-limits. Americans are fair-minded people. They are
willing to endure some changes in federal programs -- if they know everyone is
nothing complicated about what needs to be done. It requires the same common
sense and discipline every responsible wage-earner uses to balance the family
books. We can no longer rely on stopgap economic fixes that only reel from one
crisis to the next. I will sit down with Congressional leaders during my first
weeks in office and we'll stay there as long as it takes, and we will not stop
until we come up with a renewed commitment to a multi-year plan -- a new compact
-- that ends with a balanced budget.
will also seen an iron-clad assurance that we will never again confront such
overwhelming deficits. That goal will require approval of two long-overdue
and foremost, it's time to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget.
Without a Constitutional restriction, Congress will always fall back on deficit
will of the people has been ignored for too long. I will once again ask Congress
to give the people what they want. But if I can't get satisfaction, I will go
over the heads of those in Congress and call for a Constitutional Convention to
approve a balanced budget amendment.
as important, the President -- whatever his party -- must have a line-item veto.
Today, the Chief Executive too often is faced with a take-it-or-leave-it choice
when Congress approves huge, all-or-nothing spending bills. The President is put
in the position of the car buyer forced to accept an automobile loaded with
options he doesn't need or want. A line-item veto would allow the President to
reach within massive spending bills and strike out wasteful and unnecessary
thriving economy must also include a new global community linked by fair and
open trade. We cannot be seduced by the delusion that if only we build trade
walls high enough, we can shut out a flood of foreign-built products. But
neither will we play the patsy. Our workers are the best in the world, and we
will fight for their right to compete. Where we are competitive, we will insist
on access. And where we find a persistent pattern of unfair trade practices, we
Nation is not only saddled with an economic deficit. We're also facing an
education deficit. And making the tough choices means reexamining our
priorities. At home, education must be at the top of the list. State and local
governments, communities and parents bear the main responsibility for the
education of our children. But the Federal Government can stimulate school
systems to improve what goes on in our classrooms.
we must accelerate the move to basics -- back to emphasizing English, math and
science -- and we have to begin during the ore-school years.
must reaffirm our commitment to education as the great equalizer -- as the door
to opportunity for millions of children who may start a step behind others.
must carefully target our assistance to programs of proven effectiveness --
merit pay for good teachers and magnet schools that focus on students with
special needs and abilities.
the highly competitive world of the 1990's, we can't afford to squander a single
talent. As a start, we must cut the drop-out rate by at least 10 percent a year,
and we must reduce by 2 million a year the 23 million adult Americans who can't
read or write well enough to fill demanding jobs.
are not going to produce qualified people for the workforce of the next century
until we commit to programs that emphasize technical skills and scientific
knowledge. We should establish national fellowships to train outstanding
teachers in the uses of technology and encourage partnership programs that allow
elementary and secondary schools to tap into the expertise of universities and
the private sector. And finally we must remember that learning is for everyone,
and it extends through a lifetime. But it is also necessary that those who
borrow Federal tax dollars must repay their debt.
we work to improve our schools, we must also remember that our national
commitment to children cannot end in the classroom. We must nurture our children
in the traditional values of home and family, and dependence on God. And as
President I would continue my consistent and lifelong effort to protect the
rights of the unborn -- the first of which is the right to life.
as our children's minds constitute a vital national resource, so too is the good
health of our citizens. This Nation's health care system must be judged not only
by its ability to cure us, but also by its ability to keep us well. As we
balance the competing priorities on our national agenda, we must be certain that
we provide adequate medical care at both ends of the age spectrum -- for infants
and children as well as our elderly citizens. We're still not giving our infants
the fighting chance they deserve to be born healthy, and prenatal care is the
the same time, the graying of the baby-boom generation -and projections of a
rapidly expanding elderly population -provide the impetus for a complete review
of our health spending priorities.
health care system has serious gaps and leaves many of the elderly and disabled
without any assistance -- and strikes terror in the hearts of those who will
need long-term care.
we make the hard choices and re-examine what is most important, we must never
lose sight of the fact that our number one priority is liberty and freedom --
hence a strong national defense.
President Reagan, we have rebuilt our defenses, revitalized our
alliances, and rekindled our hopes for real nuclear arms control.
has become strong again, but we must keep our guard up. We will not tolerate
waste or inefficiency in defense spending. But we cannot afford to short-change
the defense modernization programs that keep us strong.
our alliances vibrant is also vital to our own defense and security. Long-time
friends achieve that status for a good reason: We share common concerns and
mutual trust. Our European and Asian allies deserve first consideration in our
foreign policy deliberations. But they must also recognize that an alliance is a
two-way street. It's high time for those who owe their own security to America's
military might to assume their rightful role, and bear their rightful burden, in
the defense of our common interests. Let us start the next administration with
an alliance summit -- aimed at forging a new formula for burden-sharing: our
allies can afford to pay their share -- and they should.
as we prepare for a summit with our adversaries in the Kremlin, we must also
remember what brought them to the table, the linchpin of President Reagan's arms
control strategy -- the development and phased deployment of the Strategic
American people understand, more clearly than many in Washington, that SDI is
our best insurance policy against a still-uncertain future. The Soviets are
working on strategic defenses at a furious pace, and so must we. There must be
no curbs on our research effort. Ronald Reagan has galvanized the nation into
action on SDI -- and I will begin phased deployment when it's ready.
security must always include a willingness to negotiate. But any missile
reduction treaty has to provide for adequate verification, ensure firm
compliance and strengthen -- not undermine -- the Western alliance. Abolition of
intermediate-range nuclear missiles can only be the first step toward eventual
reductions in long-range strategic missiles -those that can actually strike
here, on the very soil where we stand. Any treaty must also be accompanied by a
restored balance of conventional forces in Europe.
arms control is not the only item on our agenda with the Soviet Union. Whatever
Glasnost turns out to be, it is not democracy. We must use every opportunity to
address the plight of Soviet Jews, the Poles, Armenians and the people of the
Baltic States whose basic human rights continue to be crushed. we must press the
Soviets to pull back from their reckless involvement in regional conflicts in
Afghanistan, Kampuchea, Angola and Nicaragua. But our commitment to freedom
should not end there. We must stand in support of genuine freedom fighters who
hope to escape from terrorism, dictatorship and oppression. And this I pledge:
When I am President, America will never retreat from those who need our help. We
will act with the knowledge that freedom is indivisible not only for Americans,
but for all humanity.
came here today because my home is at the core of everything that I believe
about America. Our families, our neighbors, our communities were at the center
of everything we did. We welcomed all newcomers who were willing to band
together for common goals. And if it does nothing else, my campaign will make
clear that our party will never practice the politics of exclusion. The
Republican Party, like our Nation, has an open door.
we must never forget that there are some people in America -- be they poor or
handicapped, black or brown, veterans, farmers, the young or the old -- who may
be waiting for an invitation to participate, who are looking for hope,
opportunity and security like the rest of us.
so I will be sensitive to the needs of the left-out and the down-and-out in our
society as they try to fulfill their own dreams.
the hungry and the homeless -- for older Americans whose wage-earning years are
behind them -- for children who are
disadvantaged or abused -- for the disabled -- we will provide care and
assistance. For those racked with addiction or disease, we will provide hope and
help while restoring the moral values that are our best defense.
will do these things because this is America and because we are a good and
do these things will not be easy. The choices will be tough. It will require
leadership, strength and determination to summon our national will to face them.
am often asked if there is one fundamental theme to my campaign -- one critical
quality or perspective that the next President of the United States must have.
My answer is this:
must stop living for today while ignoring the long-term implications of our
decisions and actions for our children and for generations to come. When
Congress passes a budget, when we establish trade policy, when we set
educational and health priorities, when we sit across the table from the Soviet
Union and negotiate reductions in nuclear weapons -- we must extend the
lines of our planning beyond the immediate future.
President of the United States should demonstrate in his every decision a
sense of history and a sense of the future -- an understanding that
what is efficient and appropriate in serving our national interest today must
survive the test of protecting our national interest for years to come.
week, on a sunny Washington afternoon, I thought about what I would say here
today. I sat on a balcony of the Capitol building overlooking Washington's
inspiring panorama. Above me, the awesome Capitol dome -- the symbol of our
democracy. On the horizon, the monuments to Jefferson, Washington and Lincoln
-people who made a difference.
out of sight is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and across the river, Arlington
Cemetery -- and they made a difference, too.
I looked back on my career, and thought about the step I am taking today. Was I
really ready? Was I strong enough? Could I really make a difference?
I thought about America, and what the giants of America's history -- our past
Presidents and our people -- have been able to achieve over the last 200 years.
And I realized that the President gets his strength from the people.
then I thought about you, and this place. And the fact that people are my
we are strong enough. Together we will make a difference.
you, and God bless you all.
Source: Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, The University of Kansas
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