Governor George Romney of Michigan
Veteran’s Memorial Building – Detroit
November 18, 1967 11 a.m. EST
My wife Lenore is my greatest earthly inspiration. She excels in eloquence, the poetry of words, empathy, and graciousness.
I have given my life to the poetry of decisions and work.
One was aspires to the Presidency should be confident he can be useful and capable of providing the needed leadership.
I decided to fight for and win the Republican nomination and election as President of the United States. I have made my decision with a great earnestness.
I am concerned about America.
The size and complexity of our national problems have bred a widespread sense of personal futility.
We have begun to see acceptance of irresponsibility as a way of life. There is growing aimlessness and flabbiness in our American society.
The evidence is everywhere.
Too frequently family responsibilities are pre-empted by government and weakened by obsolete welfare policies that cripple each new generation of the poor.
The crime rate mounts and over half the major crimes are committed by teenagers. To avoid a society that seems to offer no cause worth serving, too many turn to drugs or alcoholism or other means of “escape.”
Too often, young people bursting with idealism, either find themselves playing a game for which they have little heart or hurling themselves into wasteful protest against the so-called “establishment.”
Men and women in the slums, bitter over unfulfilled promises, listen to revolutionaries who would plunge us into civil guerilla warfare. We are becoming “a house divided.”
In this apathetic period, work is now seldom looked on as joy, and excellence of product or service is now seldom an objective.
Our magnificent economy, which offers an impoverished and hungry world the only model that can head off greater deprivation and unprecedented famine, is being systematically jammed by inflation.
The richest nation in the world is in a fiscal mess.
As we have drifted away from principle at home, we have undermined the foundation of our position in the world. Once a beacon of hope for people everywhere, America is now widely regarded as belligerent and domineering.
We are mired in an Asian land war which sacrifices are young men and drains our resources, with no end in sight. Time and again we have been taken toward the mountaintop of hope only to fall back into the crevices of sickening reality. False optimism and lack of candor on the part of our leaders have confused our citizens and sapped their resolve.
Our foreign policy has no clear positive purpose. NATO and the United Nations are in disarray, subversion threatens Latin America, and the have-not nations are losing ground.
But, I’m confident that the American people can reverse this trend. We have the creative energy and the basic principles to build a new America.
The process begins at home.
Our country’s unique political institutions have released and stimulated the best in more people than any other nation in history. We won’t again fulfill our destiny until we can trust the individual and what he can and should do, and the spirit God shared with men.
We must recognize that the root source of America’s strength is the divinely endowed freedom of its people;
That personal responsibility and family responsibilities are essential in a free society;
That is through voluntary cooperation of responsible individuals that Americans have made life more agreeable and rewarding.
In all our communities we must–as I find poor people beginning to do in the ghettos–design a new fabric of voluntary independent agencies through which people help each other.
We must practice are fundamental principles of mutual self-respect and brotherhood with every citizen enjoying full and equal citizenship.
We must restore respect for law and its enforcement. In order of priority, it is more important to make our streets safe than to put a man on the moon.
We must restore the competitive principle, under which labor and business cooperate to serve the consumer first.
Workers must personally participate in progress to enjoy their work and take pride its product.
We must make private contribution, not concentrated power, the yardstick of reward.
We must reestablish control over Federal spending and end perpetual deficits.
In the 50 states of our union, we must again claim not state rights but state responsibilities.
We can, we must, solve the problems on which the Federal bureaucracy has so obviously failed. Our national government must lead in identifying national problems, establishing priorities, and encouraging maximum state, local, and private effort in their solution. To succeed we must decentralize problem-solving responsibility and action.
If we do those things at home, we will have taken the first giant step for re-establishing the influence of the United States in the World.
To apply these principles, to achieve these goals, to build a new America, we must have a Republican President.
The Republican Party has the faith in the individual, and voluntary cooperation, private competitive enterprise, free collective bargaining, and state and local government needed to apply these principles at home. A Republican President can work for a just peace in Vietnam unshackled by mistakes of the past. A Republican President can restore truth to government and regain the confidence of the people.
We need leadership that can elevate religion and morality to their position of paramount importance and thus eliminating growing selfishness, and immorality, and materialism. We must end the spirit of “anything goes,” and restore the importance and quality of our personal lives.
The present President, who is experienced only in the tools of government, will continue, no matter what his intentions, to build greater and greater governmental control over our lives.
To decentralize our attack on problem-solving and to energize the great talents and character of the American people will require broader experience. I have had such experience. I worked in the fields, in construction, in independent and voluntary national and local agencies during war and peace, in international trade and labor conferences, in two of the nation’s largest corporations operating in three major industries, and in state and federal governments.
A New American requires leadership which, by word and deed, merits the confidence of the people and is worthy of God’s blessing.
Because I believe that, working together, we can build a New America, I will work toward this goal with all my heart, mind, and new spirit. I pledge energy and honesty to the task.
Source: Governor George Romney of Michigan Press Release
Courtesy: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan