Remarks and Announcement
Congressman John R. Kasich
Monday, February 15, 1999
Wow? Isn't this something? Beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.
I want to first of all thank all of my friends from Central Ohio. You know, you allowed a kid to come from McKees Rocks, a mailman's son, to go to this great University, Ohio State, and it is a great University.
And then you gave me the honor and the privilege of being able to represent you at the State Capitol. Can you imagine what that was like? My mother and father never quite understood it.
And then you gave me the greatest honor, which was to send me to the Nation's Capitol at the age of 30, and I had so many great memories of what happened in that Capitol. One of the great moments was when Ronald Reagan came back from Reykjavik. When he said to the Russians that we're going to stand up and we're going to make it America's way, that we're going to be for freedom for people all over the world. I showed up early to sit on the aisle, and I wish all of you had been there, too. But maybe in a sense you all were. When Reagan walked down that aisle and I shook his hand and thanked him for all of us.
You see, I always carry our Central Ohio values with me wherever I go. I try to carry Central Ohio hopes, and dreams, and the values that flow from the most important institution right here in Columbus, and that is our families.
You have to understand that I got into politics because my mom and dad taught me, "Johnny, you can change the world. Nothing can stop anyone in this country if you want to work hard, and if you can believe in yourself and the people who are around you."
So I went into government to change the world, and I've been working on a little piece of it every single day for the 20 years that you've honored me in being able to represent you. You know, when I think back to so many of the fights that I have involved myself in; many times even against my own party and always against the skeptics who said it couldn't be done. I just think back to the lonely road that I was on, along with my great friend, Mike DeWine, to not just balance the federal budget, but to put our arms around every piece, every crack and crevice of the way this federal government works.
I believed that it was the start to take power, money and influence from government and put it in the hands of people. They said it couldn't be done. They said it was impossible. And you know something? Now that this budget is balanced and we've run a surplus and the interest rates have come down, I've come to realize that the efforts that we made in '89 and '90 and '91 and '92 and '93 (and then when we finally passed it in 1997) have changed the world. It's made people's lives better. It's given us more prosperity and better jobs and it has allowed us to be an engine for people all over the world.
So when they say sometimes that a mailman's kid can't grow up and change the world, they've got it wrong. A mailman's kid can grow up and change the world. And now we have to embark together on a new mission. The mission is to continue to pursue the economic destiny of the United States of America and to pursue the economic destiny of every single American citizen while at the same time rejuvenating the American spirit.
We're hungry for the renewal of our American spirit, about giving us confidence again. In order to do that I believe we've got to begin to run America from the bottom up, from our families, from our communities, to the top.
You know, power in America flows from the people to the leaders. It's time to take the power back from the elite and put it back into the hands of the American people, into our hands, into every family and every community and every individual.
You know, it's power from the people and power to the people. And let's start with one of the most precious opportunities that we have in America: The opportunity for every boy and girl to be able to get an education so they can pursue their dreams. Because you know, if you're black or red or yellow or white, yes, sometimes if you're black in America, they'll try to hold you back. But you know what? With skills and persistence, you can overcome.
So we have to march every day to make sure that our children have the best education. And, folks, I have to tell you, the best education doesn't come from a bunch of elite who try to tell us how to educate our children. It comes from mothers and fathers who love their children, who want to place their children in the best educational setting, a place where they will be safe and they will learn.
I believe in the power of mothers and fathers and the power of the family to have the power and the choice to send their kids where they will learn. What does the educational elite say? The educational elite says give the power to mom and dad, and they'll screw it up. They're not capable. They're not competent.
The greatest thing we have to fear in education today is a commitment to the status quo; and the greatest opportunity we have is to give mothers and fathers, again, the power to hungry for it because they know the way in which we can save the public school is to give them power in the classroom, to reward them for innovation and creativity. And the education of our children is based on one simple element: Competition in our system. It works, and it works well, and builds for a better child.
In the area of retirement, mom and dad, you're going to get your Social Security. I see so many baby-boomers here today, so many people that it's incumbent upon to pull us into the next generation. Mom and dad are going to get their Social Security. You know who I'm worried about? I'm worried about the baby-boomers and their children.
You see, we don't have the children out there to support the baby-boomers and their retirement. But we can get out of it without having to chain our children to machines to work 20 hours a day. The answer is to let the baby-boomers have a piece of their own tax dollars that they currently send to the government to be able to invest in the American economy.
Now, the President says we need a board of political types who will take our money and invest it. Because the elite believe that we're too stupid to be able to figure out how to plan for our own retirement. Well, I've got to tell you, there is nobody who cares more about our retirement and about our days to have the same prosperity that our parents have than we do. No thank you to the political types in Washington. Let us have our power.
In the area of welfare, we've come a long way. You know, I was the chairman of the conference committee that wrote the new welfare bill. But we can't stop. It's just a way station. Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing in America, if in Westerville, Ohio, I could take $500 that would normally go to the Housing and Urban Development bureaucracy and I could give that money directly to the Habitat for Humanity in Westerville.
Or what if I wanted to take $500, and instead of sending it to the bureaucracy in Washington at the Health and Human Services, I could give it directly to the Salvation Army or to the Red Cross to help people who were in need?
You see, we will solve the problems of people in our society (in my opinion) who are poor, who are disabled, who are disadvantaged, who live in the shadows of life. We will do it by all of us designing the solutions right where we live to give every single American an opportunity to live their dreams.
And you know what they say, the poverty elite says? We are too mean and we are too stupid to get it right. Shame on them. Give us our power back. We will care for the people who need to be cared for in our communities. We ought to be empowered to do it.
Of course, we have this bureaucracy. You know, Ross Perot had it right. The bureaucrats, God bless them, they're out there, and they're doing their best. But somehow they get caught in the system that gives them the attitude that we work for them, but they don't work for us. They come into our businesses, and they threaten to shut us down, to fine us, to sue us or all of the above.
Hard-working people like Cheryl Krueger, all she's trying to do is to have a business where she can promote from within, give the flexibility to the single women who work in her business, who have children in school to be able to support their kids. All she ever asks is for her business to be involved in the community, and what does she get? She gets more plague visited on her than Moses put on the Egyptians with regulators and lawsuits and taxes.
The fact is, folks, the bureaucrats have a view that we're mean and that we'll get it wrong and that they've got to stop us from doing the wrong thing. I've got news for them. If John Kasich becomes president, they're going to have an attitude adjustment, and they're going to realize that they work for us; we do not work for them. We ought to march together on this.
You know, on foreign policy, I believe that the most important decision of the future is to decide exactly what is in the direct national interests of the United States. But the foreign policy elite, they just don't get it. They don't believe anymore that the people have to be consulted, but they made one little mistake, didn't they? They came to Central Ohio and went to Ohio State and they began to realize how much we care about where we commit our sons and daughters to far-away places. We want it to be in our direct national interest, and will stand for nothing less.
Also, you know, they tell me nobody wants a tax cut. Well, I never quite seem to meet them. I have a 10 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you know why I have that? Because I don't believe that America's about redistribution of the wealth.
You see, I come from this little town called McKees Rocks where if the wind blew the wrong way, you find yourself out of work. But you know, there's one thing I found out there. The only people who hate rich people are guilty rich people. You see, the people who are struggling every day in America, they realize that if a rich guy takes his money, invests it, creates a job, that I get the job. Then I go to college and I get smart, then I buy him out, and he works for me. That's the way we see it in middle America.
And a 10 percent across-the-board tax cut is the linchpin. It's the movement towards a simpler, less complicated tax system. And I want to tell you, we balanced the budget. Because if a politician went to a meeting and wasn't for balancing the budget, they'd hang you from the nearest tree.
Well, you know, I understand that if a politician doesn't stand for eliminating all of this junk and firing all of those bureaucrats that designed these mousetraps, if we don't get out there for the reform to greatly simplify this system, you'll hang me from the closest tree. We're going to march every day to simplify this tax code.
I believe what Dick Armey says. We ought to throw the whole darn thing out and get started again so that we can win.
But look, ladies and gentlemen, when we run America from the bottom up, with providing for programs for the poor and educating our children and controlling our retirement and planning our own health care, cutting taxes are it.
My dad used to stand in the basement of our home. He would wear a pair of boxer shorts. Remember Uncle George? And we ha this little typewriter, a little handwritten typewriter, not an electric one, (my dad thought anything electric was too complicated, would just break down). My dad would type on that typewriter, and I'd go down in that basement, and every once in a while he would hold his money up with a little rubberband around it, and he say, "Johnny, I'm rich."
He didn't mean he was rich. What my dad was saying is the bigger that was, the more he could do for Rick and Donna and Johnny and my mom. The road right down the street from our house was McCoy Road. And every once in a while my dad would drive the car down and he would stop it, and he would say, "Johnny, roll down the window," and there would be a man standing on the sidewalk. I knew him because he came every week and picked up our trash; and my dad would give him a few bucks.
See, my mom and dad taught me that we have to give of what we have. That's the American way. That's the God-fearing way. And, ladies and gentlemen, tax cuts are not just about economic theory, they're about the fact that we can be empowered to do what we need to do in our own community.
Let me just suggest to you that there is no substitute for this, and we must march each and every day to get our power back. Because the more we have, the more we can do and the more we can control our destiny. Please join me in the never-ending fight to cut government and cut taxes in America, every single day.
You know, a lot of people say that they don't know if we are smart enough to be able to handle our retirement, and they don't know if we can spend our money in the right way. Shouldn't somebody else do it? And how will we ever figure out all these complicated health care plans? And we bemoan this and we don't have the confidence.
Your grandmother and your grandfather were living somewhere over in Europe a couple generations ago, and your grandpa told your grandma "We're going to America." Your grandma said, "We're going where? I don't want to go."
Maybe grandpa had a doubt in his mind, and grandma said "We're going to America." But together they made the decision to get in a small boat, it probably leaked, imagine the food, very little water, I would imagine; and they floated across the ocean to a place they didn't know.
And when they landed, they didn't know where they were. When they started traveling across America, they had no clue where they were going to end up, unless they had a relative that made the journey before them.
And you know what they were pursuing? They were pursuing freedom, personal responsibility. They were pursuing rugged individualism and at all times they were compassionate. Because they were the first ones to turn to the person next to them that didn't have anything and said, "How can I help?" That's when we got the phrase "the shirt off our backs," from these immigrants that came across that ocean in search of the American dream.
Ladies and gentlemen, the ability for us to pursue our hopes and dreams, the ability to fail and then try again and fail again and try again and succeed, that is the very essence of America. And we honor our grandmothers and we honor our grandfathers when we are willing to stand up and take the responsibility for making America better.
Have no doubt, that the essence of America is an America that is run from where we live to the top. It is not run by a handful of smart alecks from the top to the bottom. We can do it, and you have the confidence to work and fight with me, ladies and gentlemen.
I just want to make two other points. Because that's about pursuing the economic destiny of America, but you know, we've got to renew the spirit of America as well. That's where faith in God comes in. You see, faith in God is not a wedge issue. No one should be nervous. Faith in God is not about taking the values that flow from faith and God that lead to virtue so that we can begin to self-govern again.
I've spent 20 years of my life watching politicians pass a blizzard of laws to try to change us from the outside in, and every single American knows that the change we need in America is not from the outside in, but from the inside out. We need to renew our hearts and our souls and our consciousness again in America, and it can only come through faith in God.
But those politicians and those religious leaders that want to use faith in God as a wedge issue should be dismissed; because faith in God is about our ability to get it right.
But I must tell you that the elites in the media, the elites in the entertainment industry, the elites in higher education, the elites in government who have spent an entire lifetime degrading God and degrading people with faith need a wake-up call; we need to give it to them.
And let me just suggest to you that a lot of people say, "John, in a deregulated society are we going to have to go it alone?" We're going at it alone today. We send our kids to schools, we don't know if they're safe. We don't know if they're learning. We try to call our doctor, we can't get through to our doctor. We talk to voicemail. We're on hold for 20 minutes. We're not even talking to the doctor. We're talking to the insurance company, and then somebody comes on and says, "I'm sorry; can I help."
"Yes, I'm waiting to talk to the person to get the approval to talk to my doctor," and they disconnect you.
Or you work in a business, and all of a sudden you find out one day that some bigshots (out on Fisher Island or somewhere) met over the weekend, and they arranged a leveraged buy-out where everybody has a golden parachute whose salary is a million dollars a year, and we get nothing. We are going it alone today.
See, what we need to do to stop going it alone today is to increase the size of our heart, breadth of our consciences and our spines. You see, we need to be connected in America again. We need to know that wherever we go, that we've got somebody who will stand up and fight for us.
You know how good that feels when you go somewhere and you meet someone you don't really know, and they say, "Can I help you?" "Can I go the extramile for you?" Like my friend Stu Boehmig did for me when my mother and father were killed in that car accident. He went the extra mile. I never forgot it.
And that's what faith in God can give us in America, so we can begin to change ourselves from the inside out.
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, we're all in search of heroes again. We spend our time talking about the big-time heroes, don't we? We talk about the baseball player that spits in the umpire's face. Why does he play the next day? We look at the politicians, and they harp on one another, and they hate one another, and they engage in partisan attacks, and we say we're empty. We look at our religious leaders, our rabbis. They preach on Saturday, and they preach on Sunday, and they run off the next week with the church secretary and our money, or maybe both, and we feel empty.
Media folks who ought to know better put this stuff on; all they want to do is talk about scandal, and we say, "Why can't they give us something else just for a second? How about just for a second forget the ratings and tell us something good?"
Or we look at business leaders, and this is not an insult to the people who serve on the their spirituality, they tell you they serve on a museum board.
Well, what about the fight for the great business leaders of our country standing up and fighting for our children to have a great education? Our education union leaders who live in Washington, D.C. where they know that kids are not learning, and yet they continue to trap kids in those schools. It's an abomination. We need our big-time leaders to be more selfless, to realize that if they're going to enter the space of importance, that they need to do better. They need to be willing to sacrifice more of who they are for all of us, and we do have some great examples.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, every night we watched them, and we said it's too good to be true. And when Mark McGwire went up into the stands and hugged the Maris family, it brought tears to my eyes, because it showed the man's heart, and he's not let us down.
Or Ted Forstmann, who decided to make a crusade against children who are trapped in bad schools, or how about a 20-million dollar gift to the Arthur James Cancer Hospital from our great friend Dick Solove. How is that for leadership?
And, of course, Ronald Reagan can serve as a shining example to the politicians; and how about just another big large dose of Billy Graham to teach us what spirituality is all about.
But ladies and gentlemen, like the video says, our kids are not looking to the big shots. You know who their heroes are? It's their mom, their dad, their Grandpa Jack, their grandma. It's the coach, and Neil Walter's is with us today. It's the coach that just grinds that last little bit of effort out of us. It's the teacher, Uncle George, who told us what we could be when we had some doubts about our own ability.
You see, those are the heroes in America. The heroes in America are everyday people. They are the essence, the bedrock and the foundation of our precious country.
You know, the everyday people are the ones that were in the covered wagons, the hero of Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, a simple Indian woman who led them from one part of this continent to the other and back again. Sacagawea was special. She was an everyday woman.
Or how about the everyday people who took us through the great depression? Think of how tough every one of those days must have been to not lose hope, to keep hope alive. It was the everyday people who did it.
And Normandy, it's wasn't about four stars, was it? It was about the guy that could have lived right next door to us and for some reason got off that boat when he knew he was walking straight into the path of a machine gun. But he did it for his country. He did it for his God, and he did it for his neighbor. He was an everyday person.
We talk about the astronauts. How about the technicians that work the countless hours to put man on the moon? Or the everyday people who today are driving the Internet, the most exciting liberation of the individual in modern time?
And you know what, ladies and gentlemen? It's going to be the everyday people who are going to take us into the next century. So we have a mission. We have a mission to pursue the economic destiny of the United States by running America from the bottom up, by giving us our power back. But we must also work every single day in whatever way we can to renew the very spirit and rejuvenate the United States of America, our spirit, and we will do it by capturing faith in God and honoring what faith in God means to all of us.
And finally, each and every day in every big and little way we as everyday Americans are going to fight to remember that at the end of our lives, we'll answer to a higher power. And if we will all march together, keeping that in mind, we will expand our hearts, we will expand our consciences, and we'll have the firmness to make for a better country, to make for a better society, to make for a better culture, and to make for the precious American family.
Join me, won't you, ladies and gentlemen, in this fight. We will not be denied. God bless you.
# # #
Source: John Kasich for President Official 2000 Campaign Web Site