April 10, 1995
Remarks by Senator Bob Dole
Thank you, Governor Graves,
Senator Kassebaum. Good morning friends -- Elizabeth, Robin, and I thank
you for that tremendous welcome. It's great to be in Kansas. Of course,
I'm not the first Kansan to say, "there's no place like home." But for
me, the words have special meaning. Wherever I have traveled in this
life, I have never forgotten where I came from -- or where I go home to.
Whatever lessons I have applied in public life were first learned
here as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. These days I
spend much of my time in another capitol. You see many things from atop
the hill in Washington where I work -- but you can see America from
Common sense and uncommon sensitivity: that's the Kansas
way. It's what made Dwight Eisenhower a great general and a great
President. And it's what prompted Alf Landon with his unique wisdom to
say, "there are some intelligent people in Washington, but there are
more of 'em in Kansas." I hasten to add the same applies to forty nine
But then, Kansans have never had to look to
Washington, DC for a sense of compassion or community. As a young man in
a small town my parents taught me to put my trust in God, not
government, and never confuse the two. Something else I learned, learned
the hard way -- that while self reliance is an essential part of the
American character, so is the spirit of community that reaches out to
those wounded in body or soul.
When I went off to war it was to
defend a community of values unique in all the world. I came back
sustained by the love and generosity of friends and neighbors who
renewed my sense of life's possibilities. Over the years they have given
me opportunities for service which I can never hope to repay.
Because they restored my spirit in a time of trial I have dedicated
myself to restoring the spirit of America. And so today, tempered by
adversity, seasoned by experience, mindful of the world as it is -- yet
confident it can be made better -- I have come home to Kansas with a
grateful heart to declare that I am a candidate for the Presidency of
the United States.
The view many Americans see this morning is a
sobering one. We are troubled about the direction our country is taking.
Our values are under constant assault from our public and cultural
institutions. We feel threatened by the random incidents of violent
crime. Too many of our schools, which were once passports to
opportunity, have become demoralizing places. Welfare has become a
misery subsidy fostering illegitimacy and generations of dependency. And
yet the deficit keeps growing, taxes keep increasing, and the government
keeps demanding more and more authority over our lives.
this should come as a surprise. For much of this century power and
wealth alike have flowed from grassroots Americans to a federal
government which exploded to meet the twin crises of economic depression
and global war. Yet, the lifejacket of one generation can become the
straightjacket of the next. In giving to Washington our responsibility
to address problems close to their source, Americans have unwittingly
encouraged the Federal government to become too large, too remote, too
unresponsive, and too undemocratic to be representative.
another America is waiting -- an America strong again in heart and sure
of mind. I would like to lead us there.
Our problems are not too
difficult to handle. It's just that our leaders have grown too isolated
from places like Topeka -- embarrassed by the values here. They seem to
have lost the idea that we are -- and must remain -- one nation under
God. We are bound by our heritage to a set of common values: hard work,
integrity, responsibility -- these values have always been the source of
our strength and the glue that holds us together.
must again have leaders who believe in our people and are proud of our
values. We need leaders who will summon from each of us the best of our
character, who will call us as a nation to our full potential. I want to
be president so I can do this for America.
My mandate as
President would be to rein in the Federal government in order to set
free the spirit of the American people; to reconnect our government in
Washington with the common sense values of our citizens; and to reassert
American interests wherever and whenever they are challenged around the
My guide in this would be the final piece of the Bill of
Rights -- the Tenth Amendment. It reads, "The powers not delegated to
the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
states, are reserved to the states ... or to the people."
those words were written by our Founding Fathers more than 200 years
ago, they were an affirmation of a radical new theory of politics -- a
theory based on the need to limit the powers of the central government
in order to unleash the unlimited potential of the people. The Federal
government should do only those things specifically called for in the
Constitution. All others should remain with the states or the people. It
is a philosophy of freedom conceived in liberty, tested by history, yet
too often ignored in Washington. I intend to restore it.
last election, the American people sent an unmistakable message to
Washington. With rare clarity, they reaffirmed their faith in themselves
and a healthy amount of skepticism about government.
If we are
truly to rein in government, we must have a President who is more than a
clever apologist for the status quo. In 1992, Bill Clinton ran for
president as the candidate of change. In 1996, he will seek reelection
as a candidate pledged to prevent change at all cost.
We need a
President who will do more than say "no" to every spending cut, "no" to
every attempt to return power and money to the states. We need a
President who shares our values, embraces our agenda and who will lead
the fight for the fundamental change America chose last November. We
need a President who will say "yes" to the American people, and that is
the kind of President I intend to be.
And while on the subject of
creating a government that will say "yes" to the American people, let me
make one fundamental belief crystal clear: we can cut taxes and balance
the budget. Middle class families are forced to send too much of their
hard-earned money to Washington. We should provide a tax credit for
children and remove the marriage penalty to strengthen our families. And
we should cut the capital gains tax to stimulate economic growth, create
new jobs, and expand opportunity for all our people.
That is just
the first step, not the last. We need a president committed to making
our tax system lower, fairer, flatter, simpler -- so that ordinary
people like you and me could fill out our tax form without a lawyer or
an accountant or both.
Balancing the budget will also be a top
priority; we cannot continue mortgaging our children's future. We will
give the President the line item veto and we will give the American
people a Balanced Budget Amendment.
But that is only the
beginning. Reining in the government means streamlining the entire
Federal bureaucracy, getting its nose out of places the government just
shouldn't be. We should work our way through the alphabet soup of
government, asking this question: Is this program a basic function of
limited government, or is it an example of how government has lost faith
in the judgment of our people?
The best place to begin is with
four of the most ineffective, burdensome and meddlesome departments:
Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, and Commerce. Together
they spend more than $74 billion per year and employ more than 74,000
Let's close down the Education Department and spend the
money on our children, not bureaucracies and red tape; and let's
implement school choice to return power to parents. HUD has become a
cash cow for big city mayors and the well-connected. We should give
housing vouchers to those who need them and get the government out of
the landlord business altogether. Energy would function better as an
agency within the Department of Defense. And more than half of what the
Department of Commerce does has nothing to do with commerce or trade --
duplicated by 71 other governmental departments, agencies, and offices.
And there are other questions we should ask. We spend hundreds of
millions of dollars on the Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Why
is the Federal government in the culture business? In this explosion of
the information age, why do we have a Corporation for Public
There are a host of other areas that cry out for
reform. I will be talking about them at greater length in the year
ahead. Welfare is one. The Federal system has failed. Why are liberals
in Washington so afraid to turn welfare decision-making over to our
governors and state legislatures? There is already considerable evidence
that they can do much better.
Affirmative action is another
Federal policy out of control. Discrimination is wrong, immoral. This is
America. We should have a color blind society. But fighting
discrimination should never be used to divide Americans by race, ethnic
background, or gender.
There is one area where the Federal
government must work in partnership with our state and local governments
-- and that area is crime. Today, a criminal committing a serious crime
has less than a ten percent chance of going to jail. And once in jail
that criminal will serve only a fraction of his sentence.
should put an end to parole for violent offenders. Put limits on the
endless and often frivolous appeals clogging our courts. Remove
teenagers who commit serious, violent crimes from juvenile courts and
try them as adults. We should be more concerned with the rights of
victims than the privileges of criminals. And we must rededicate
ourselves to the war on drugs.
Finally, let me touch for a moment
on America's place in the world. There is one responsibility only the
Federal government has, and that is to protect our freedom. We must
never be reluctant about our greatness or ashamed of our national
We must stop placing the agenda of the United Nations
before the interests of the United States. When we take our revolution
to the White House in 1996, we will vow that American policies will be
determined by us, not by the United Nations. Let us remember that
America has been the greatest force for good the world has ever known.
I was reminded of that on the 50th anniversary of D-Day last summer,
when the eyes of the world were focused on the beaches of France. I was
there and witnessed the emotion as memories came flooding back --
memories of the heroism, the sacrifices and pain men and women suffered.
Before visiting France, I traveled to Northern Italy where I served
in the 10th Mountain Division. While revisiting the battle sites, I
thought about why we had been sent there, about the America of our
youth, the America we were risking our lives to protect, and about our
hopes for the generations who would follow us. And then I thought about
the America we live in now -- an America still great and still the
beacon of freedom around the world, but an America that is headed in the
Standing there gazing across those peaceful
fields I thought of why it is critical to have a president who knows
what made America great, who knows what has been sacrificed to keep us
free, and who would do all in his power to lead America back to her
place in the sun.
My friends, I have the experience. I've been
tested, tested in many ways. I am not afraid to lead, and I know the
way. Let us rein in our government to set the spirit of the American
people free. Let us renew our moral convictions and strengthen our
families by returning to fundamental values. Together, let us reassert
our rightful place as a great nation.
We should do it for
ourselves -- we owe it to our children. We must act to be worthy of the
gift our ancestors sacrificed so much for: to ensure the next century
will dawn on a new beginning of American greatness ... prosperity ...
and freedom. Let us do it together. Let us begin today.
Paid for by Dole/Kemp
Source: Dole/Kemp '96 Website