Presidential Campaign and Candidates


Jack Kemp for President 1988 Bumper Sticker



APRIL 6, 1987

Ladies and gentlemen. Six years, ago the leadership of our President and our party helped jar our country from despondency, and a long retreat and rekindle a renaissance of hope here at home and throughout the Free World.

We rejoice at America's new beginning and our steady progress under Ronald Reagan's leadership these past six years. But we have so much to do and a long way to go, as we get ready for the 1990's. Like the good shepherd, America must reach out to the weak and to those who have fallen behind. That has always been the strength of America.

There are those, in both political parties, who look to the future with such anxiety and pessimism, that they can only think of ideas which would impose austerity and pain, protectionism and isolationism.

At a time when families are under stress, they would meet the challenge of budget deficits by increasing taxes, cutting back on Social Security and weakening our national defense. They would meet the challenge of global competition by raising new walls to foreign imports. And, they would meet the challenge of securing global peace by conceding territory and human freedom to those who respect the rights of neither.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a better way, a more confident way and that's why we're here!

America must have a vision for the future that includes victory: A victory for the idea that there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed; and that there are no limits to our future if we don't put limits on our people; a victory for the American Idea of peace, prosperity, democracy and freedom -- not just for America, but for the Americas; not just for our hemisphere, but for the whole world.

I believe that our future begins with faith -- faith in the Jeffersonian ideal that God is the Author of life and liberty; that He is the Author of our personal freedoms -- political, economic and religious -- and that these freedoms are at the heart of all human progress. No government in history has been able to do for people what they have been able to do for themselves, when they were free to follow their hopes and dreams.

The American Dream is not to make everyone level with everyone else, but to create the opportunity for all people to reach as high as their God-given potential allows. in this Nation, if you're born to be a mezzo soprano, or a master carpenter, or even an NFL quarterback, there ought not be anything standing in your way, not color, not creed, nor station in life.,

What a long - way we've come in the last six years, but what a long way we have to go. There is more hope and less poverty, but too many are left behind and there's too much despair.

As we look out on the world, we can take satisfaction that the Soviet Union has made no real territorial gains on President Reagan's watch. But we must continue to hope and plan realistically that the next President will win back to freedom what has been lost in both hemispheres. In short, there is much for our next President to do.

So where do we go from here? I believe there are three great challenges facing us in the decade ahead: The defense of peace and freedom; the defense of our children and the family; and a national commitment to the highest ideal of economic justice -- full employment without inflation for all Americans.

I believe in growth. I am proud to have carried the banner of growth for our party; proud to have fought for two historic pieces of legislation: The Kemp-Roth bill which lowered tax rates on workers and savers; and our historic tax reform which raises the personal exemption to $2,000, and lowers the tax rate to 15 percent for more than 80 percent of American families.

I believe in liberating both labor and capital from high taxes and bureaucratic tax forms, and I have opposed, and will continue to oppose, any plan, from any quarter, to raise taxes on the American people.

The biggest threat to our Federal budget is not American families being undertaxed, it is too much spending, too much unemployment and too little growth. More growth, more jobs, lower interest rates and less government spending is the only real way to balance our federal budget.

We must not only fight, we must win the war on poverty by enlisting the greatest weapon ever invented -- free enterprise.

We must enact free enterprise zone legislation to reach into the most stubborn pockets of urban and rural poverty with a helping hand of job creation; and we won't rest until we pass urban homesteading legislation, so that families in public housing who work hard and save will got the chance to become homeowners.

We must assist farm families whipsawed by the inflation/deflation cycles of the last decade. We must give our farms and factories a stable dollar, low, long-term interest rates, a chance to work out from under their debts and new markets for their products.

As we move forward, we must increase our vigilance against wasteful public spending. I favor strict limits an spending, starting with the line-item veto, which 43 governors-have but the President is still shamefully denied by big-spending liberals.

We have seen an end to the ruinous inflation of the 70's. But we, need- to, ensure the integrity of the currency, so that interest rates can drop further, and Americans will know that their job security, savings and ability to earn a living in the world marketers not at the mercy of fluctuating currencies and volatile exchange rates.

We must guarantee the purchasing power of the dollar, make the dollar, once again, an honest dollar, a dollar as good as gold. And we should move, without delay to convene an international conference to convince our trading partners to open their markets, stop their subsidies, and stabilize their currencies.

I believe in growth for the whole world. While we are an independent Nation, we live in an interdependent world. Encouraging greater growth abroad is an imperative for us at home. Growth in Asia and Europe, and particularly in the economies of Africa and Latin America will do more than anything else to help create new customers for American factories and farmers, while helping the world combat poverty and underdevelopment.

We should negotiate free trade zones to break down barriers to U.S. exports. We need an International Monetary Fund and a World Bank that understand growth, and that are willing to support it, rather than impose the austerity of endless tax hikes and currency devaluations upon developing nations. We must have a State Department that sees people as a resource, not as a drain on resources.

But all of our efforts to build opportunity and prosperity will be for naught if we do not meet our second great challenge: The defense of the West and the expansion of freedom in a world at peace.

The central drama of the 20th century is the struggle between democracy and totalitarianism; and the central dilemma of our day is that we lie defenseless against Soviet missiles.

As we speak, we have protection against tanks, submarines and aircraft, but we have no protection -- none -- against accidental or deliberate missile attack. America's survival rests precariously on a thin ledge of strategic deterrence -- and that ledge continues to erode under the growing Soviet strategic threat.

I want to be able to tell our children and our grandchildren that we found the way to protect America, to move the world from the Doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction to a far safer world of strategic defense. My friends, we can. The Strategic Defense Initiative is the greatest peace initiative in postwar history.

The sane technology that is revolutionizing medicine and industry can help protect this planet from the nightmare of nuclear war. Laser technology that can today eliminate a cancer cell could tomorrow neutralize a Soviet ballistic missile in space. What then prevents us from going forward with strategic defense? Not technological know-how, but political tunnel vision.

The State. Department and the Democratic Party would rather use SDI as a bargaining chip, and would rather bind this country to a treaty the Soviets have violated since day one, than give America and our allies the defenses we need. More important than any paper promise from the Soviets is the ability of the West to verify and enforce Soviet-compliance with treaties -- on this there can be no compromise.

The most urgent question facing this Nation is -- will America be defended in the 1990's or not? I believe our highest defense priority demands in 1988 a national referendum -- not just on the research and testing of SDI in the laboratory, but on the research, testing and deployment of SDI as soon as possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, all I have seen in my travels to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, throughout Latin America, and to the USSR, convinces me that freedom is the most powerful, progressive and successful political idea the world has ever known.

America is on the side of history. But we must be on the side of democracy for all people, on the side of human rights for men and women across the world struggling against the Soviet Colonial Empire. In a very real sense, America defends her own freedom and values when we help other brave people struggling to win their freedom. Sadly, the Democratic Party has all but turned its back on the noble tradition of Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson.

This country cannot abandon its friends or appease an adversary who defines "peace" as the final triumph of communism. Let us unite behind a strategy for victory that says we must go beyond containing communism to the ultimate triumph of freedom and democracy. We can start by formally acknowledging and marshalling support for the legitimacy of freedom fighter movements around the world.

Just as we must decide whether or not America will be defended, so, too, must we decide -- what kind of America will we defend, what values will we stand for, what kind of people will we be?

It all begins and ends in one place: The family. I believe our third great challenge for the 1990's is to fortify, nurture and protect the bedrock of our Judeo-Christian values - our families and our children.

Of all the challenges we face at home, none stand more menacing to the future of our democracy than the threats to families: we see these threats in the breakup of families, and in all too many cases, their failure even to form; we see the decline of discipline and erosion of values in education; the danger of sexually transmitted diseases; the loss of many young people to lives of crime, drugs, and even to suicide.

There is a common denominator here. America needs a rebirth of respect and compassion for the value, dignity and sanctity of each and every human life. And the first human value is what our Declaration of Independence called the inalienable right to life.

As we commemorate the. 200th anniversary of the world's oldest constitutional democracy, we must come to grips with this core constitutional question: Will the right to life be withheld by the Supreme Court, or can and shall it be protected democratically, by all the American people?

In 1857, a tragic Supreme Court decision, Dred Scott v. Sandford, declared that Congress could not outlaw slavery in the territories. But that decision was overturned five years later by a simple act of Congress, clearing the way for the Emancipation Proclamation. As democracy and human dignity prevailed over Dred Scott in Lincoln's time, so can democracy and human dignity prevail over Roe v. Wade in our time.

Let us press forward, appoint judges who uphold our Judeo-Christian values, and continue to seek Constitutional protection for human life. The time has come for Congress to pass legislation that permits the citizens of each state, for the first time since 1973, to protect the inalienable right to life of all children.

A compassionate society cares as much for each child's life after it is born as before. There are children to be loved and there are parents eager to love them. We need leadership and laws that honor and encourage adoption.

As our children grow, let us remember that the quality of our culture, as well as the security of our Nation are ultimately determined by the character of our children. Education must continue to be reformed along the lines of Secretary Bill Bennett -- rewarding excellence, and the teaching of values.

For example, in a pluralistic society, we need the competition and choice, as well as the quality, of Magnet schools, so successful in my hometown of Buffalo and other cities. This idea should be promoted and extended to other communities throughout the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is one office that can mobilize the ideas, talent and dedication to help unite America, make our lives more meaningful, and our world more secure.

Understanding the solemn responsibility of that high office, and the historic opportunity of this moment, I announce today that I am a candidate for President of the United States.

I am confident I can lead our party to victory in 1988 -- not for one person, nor for one party, but for one nation, under God.

I have spent the last 17 years developing ideas, building bridge&, advancing the strategy for jobs and freedom that captured people's imagination -- a strategy that can make the Republican Party the majority Party of America.

We will take this campaign to company halls and to union halls; to young people and to senior citizens; to entrepreneurs and yes, to inner city families so that we, the party of Lincoln, can once again hold up the dream of liberty and justice for all.

Like so many Americans, I remember the history of my family, who followed their dreams from England to America, who settled in New York, then founded a new town in South Dakota and eventually moved on to California.

The dream came alive for my Mother and Father as they started their own business -- a small trucking company in Los Angeles, which supported our family through the Depression, and helped provide a college education for their four sons.

I knew the dream was real when I married Joanne and we began our family. Our journey took us from college to pro football, from the San Diego Chargers to the Buffalo Bills, and in 1970, here to the Halls of the United States Congress.

Today we are embarking on a great new journey. I stand with colleagues whom I respect and esteem so very much. As I look at our family and sea Jeff, Jennifer, Judith, and Jimmy, and Jeff's dear wife Stacy -- I think of all our families -- all our hopes, our dreams, our future, our freedom and peace ... I know that's why I am in this race, and why I want to be President. Thank you. God bless you and God bless America.

Source: The Library & Archives of New Hampshire's Political Tradition


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