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Road To Victory '94

Good evening. I don't think there have been so many conservatives in one room since Bob Doman and Jesse Helms co-hosted a John Wayne film festival.

It has been a wonderful two days, and we have heard inspiring speeches from many great Americans. I read recently that one of my liberal friends said our movement was just "a lot of hot air" -- which was wishful thinking on his part, if you ask me. I couldn't help thinking as I heard what was being said this weekend that what we have here is not hot air but fresh air -- the fresh air of truth and common sense about this land that we love and call America.

I'd like to tell a story that speaks to the crisis of our day: About a year ago, I met a remarkable man. A God-fearing man. A man of dignity, strength and moral courage -- the kind who sometimes seems all too rare in this fallen world of ours.

He was the foreign minister of Zaire, Dr. M'Pinga Kasenda. I met him in New York before he delivered a powerful, spellbinding speech to the United Nations calling for democracy and freedom in his home country. And when you listened to him, you felt hope -- hope that such a brave and intelligent man could indeed play a key role in bringing new life, a new beginning to that long-suffering land.

Last December, I visited him and his wife in their home in Kinshasa, where we ate lunch together, and he spoke of his plans. A few months later, while he was flying to one of Zaire's outlying regions, his turbo-prop plane ran out of gas and crashed, killing everyone aboard.

I returned to Zaire to see his wife. I offered my profound condolences. We prayed together. She wept. At least, she said, he died in the service of his country. As she said goodbye to me at the door, she was once again overcome with emotion; apologizing, she excused herself and went back inside; and through the door I could see that she had retreated to the back of the living room, weeping inconsolably.

And I thought to myself, bitterly: he was a great man, and indeed he had served his country well, but the reason he died was because some fool pilot had overloaded his plane and hadn't put enough fuel in the gas tank.

Recently, as I pondered that tragedy, I thought: isn't that what has happened to this great country of ours: how the promise of our nation is being squandered because the people who run our government have overloaded us with excessive spending and bureaucracy. America, once so full of hope, is being dragged down by taxes and regulation, while at the same time we've been robbed of our fuel --the moral teachings that inspired us. The faith in God that kept us aloft.

How much more of this tragic waste can we as a people put up with. And, friends, isn't it time we had some change?

Such waste:

This genius of our entrepreneurial economy siphoned off to fill the pork barrels of our "legislators for life" in Washington -- a new aristocracy whose only interest seems their infinite self-perpetuation. Isn't it time we cut their pay and sent them home?

Such waste:

A generation denied the future that is rightfully theirs because of substandard education. So-called professional educators who would rather teach condoms than calculus, who see the schoolroom as a chance to socially engineer the young according to the latest sexual and social fads of the left.

In Florida this year, the American Federation of Teachers sued the school district for daring to teach patriotism. Isn't it time that we took control of our children's education away from those with an ideological agenda and gave it back to those who truly have their children's best interest at heart -- the parents?

And isn't it time we stopped treating the Lord as our enemy, and persecuting our school children who ask only to be able to thank their Creator in prayer, just as our Congress and Supreme Court do, and ask for His blessing and His support? Heaven knows, we all need it.

And if you want to see waste, human potential squandered on a massive scale, look at our inner cities. Millions of poor -- in the past they would have worked themselves into the middle class -- condemned by an insane welfare system to a cycle of dependence, hopelessness, violence, and despair.

You know, during the last campaign, one candidate promised to "end welfare as we know it" and many in America believed him, and they voted for him. But, like the middle class tax cut, that promise vanished like dew on an Arkansas summer dawn.

Isn't it time we made that promise come true and put an end, once and for all, to the destructive trap of welfare. And while we're at it --how about enacting an honest-to-goodness tax cut for the struggling families of America.
For years, the Christian Coalition has been pushing for Family Tax Relief: an $8,000 deduction for every dependent so that no family with children making less than $30,000 a year would pay a penny in taxes. No organization has pushed this issue harder than we have.

Now the Clinton administration, panicked by its plummeting popularity, is making noises about changing its mind once again and maybe offering a tax cut before the next presidential election. Well, we need to put them on notice: no half-measures, no more tokenism and no more promises that evaporate in the heat of Washington budget battles --the American people will accept nothing less than a quadrupling of the standard deduction. Nothing less than real, dramatic tax relief that will free us from Washington's insatiable maw and give back money where it belongs -- to the families that are America's future.

Yes, and when I think about the tragic loss of my friend from Zaire, I ask myself, how many brave American men will we squander in ill-conceived foreign adventures that have nothing to do with American's national security?

I think of the brave boys sent to Somalia, their humanitarian mission done, they were left over there with an uncertain purpose, without the arms and armor they needed to defend themselves, their fates at the mercy of foreign generals.

And now the administration is rattling its sabers again, this time against that other great threat to American's national security, Haiti. Remember the debate about "voodoo economics". Well, now we have a voodoo foreign policy.

This administration wants to risk the lives of more brave American boys to put into power a corrupt despot, a murderer, who our own intelligence service has testified before Congress has his hands stained with the blood of his political rivals.

According to press reports, some in the Administration cynically see an invasion of Haiti as an "October Surprise," hoping it will rally the American people behind them and ward off disaster for the Democratic Party in the Congressional elections. But if that's true, it's the Administration and their supporters in Congress who are in for the surprise.

If they go through with this, there will be a universal revulsion and an electoral backlash the strength of which this country has rarely experienced before. As Secretary Cheney has said: The loss of one American life in Haiti is one American life too many.

Mr. President, hear this well: The American people will not stand by and watch this administration trade American lives for votes.

Yes, our country is being mishandled and misused, and that's why we've come here this weekend, to say "Stop! "Enough! To bring America back -- back to the basics of hope and promise and freedom -- and that includes freedom from the proliferating bureaucrats who want to micro-manage our lives. Back to a land of energy and hard work, where people are once again allowed to reap the fruits of their labors. Back to a land of strong families and loving communities that humble and joyfully acknowledge their dependence on the Lord our God and Creator.

Five years ago, the liberal pundits reacted with glee to what they saw as the demise of the "religious right. " "Never before has a movement of such reputed magnitude and political potential self-destructed so quickly, " wrote The New Republic. The media pointed to my own unsuccessful primary bid in 1988 against George Bush as further evidence that we were done for. Their in-house " conservative " Kevin Phillips said that the Religious Right was a political tide that had " come and gone."

How disappointed they must all feel now, seeing how strong we are today. As someone we know is fond of saying, "I feel their pain."

What they thought was the end was just the beginning. Now even The Washington Post has acknowledged in a recent series of articles that the Religious Right has out-organized every other group in the Republican Party and is today one of the strongest forces in American politics.

The primary struggles of 1988 were the training ground of our grass-roots organizers who have honed their skills and built up our local organizations, and have begun to make ourselves felt in every precinct and Congressional district across the country. Already, we've scored major victories:

Early on, there was Clarence Thomas, victim of one of the most vicious campaigns of personal assassination in our nation's history. State chapters of the Christian Coalition literally deluged the Senate with calls and letters supporting Judge Thomas.

In Virginia: Mike Farris -- proudly conservative, proudly Christian -- with the entire might of the liberal media establishment arrayed against him, came within a hair's breath of victory, and received more votes than the Democratic candidate for Governor. And let me predict something: Mike will run again, and next time, he's going to win.

Just as Ollie is going to win in November.

And let me ask something: I don't know which way the Whitewater investigation is going to go, but won't it be sweet to have our Lieutenant Colonel sitting on the other side of the hearing table?

Even in New York City, the epicenter of the liberal establishment, where they said involvement of the Christian Coalition in the effort to defeat the "rainbow curriculum " candidates would backfire. But together with Cardinal O'Connor, members of the Jewish community and just plain concerned citizens and parents, we helped win a majority for those favoring traditional values.

In Kentucky, we helped Ron Lewis win the special election, and in Mr. Clinton's home state, our support helped elect Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor, as Lieutenant Governor -- the first time a Republican had won that office since Reconstruction.

Yes, we've set out down the Road to Victory, and in November that road is going to lead right up to the U.S. Congress. For the first time in a generation, Republicans have a real hope of taking -- not one, but both houses of Congress.

All we need is 35 seats in the House and seven Senators, and you'll see a sea change like -- well, it will be like that other sea change in Egypt some time ago. You know the time the Red Sea parted and Moses led his people out of bondage.

But friends, the Road to Victory doesn't end in November, no matter how hopeful the outcome. Our goals stretch beyond. Now, I don't usually quote Tip Q'Neill as the fount of all wisdom, but he was about as skillful a politician as they come, and he said something that we've taken to heart -- and are putting into action. "All politics," he said, "is local." So if we win the Congress this fall, we'll be very thankful. But as the World War II soldiers in the trenches used to say, "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition." Our ammunition is faith. Our ammunition is truth. Our ammunition is dedication. And, our ammunition is our grass-roots organization. Our goal is to have ten trained activist believers in every precinct in America, and with them a majority of people who believe in traditional family values in the legislature of every one of these 50 states.

Of course, there are some liberal members of the Republican Party who say they don't need us. They call themselves the "big tent" Republicans. They find the social and moral issues an embarrassment and wish that these issues, and people like us, who care about them, would just go away. They seem to have forgotten that the Reagan coalition --which produced three of the biggest landslides in American history -- was made up of Evangelicals and "blue collar Catholics." They have forgotten that the only states President Bush carried in 1992, he carried because of our support. In recent polls, 40 million American voters identified themselves as Evangelicals or devout Roman Catholics. Thirty-nine percent of all registered voters are self-identified church-going Evangelicals, Protestants or Catholics.

So I say this to the "big tent" Republicans, we believe in winning elections by inclusion, not exclusion. We want to live in harmony with every segment of the Republican Party. Although we have no intention of advocating bizarre positions which will lose elections; let me make this clear, we also have no intention of surrendering our deeply held moral stands just to please a handful of timid moderates who don't stand for anything.

Our goal, is for America's families, the God-fearing, hardworking good folks in this nation to have enough political power so that our beliefs are not trampled on by the self-appointed liberal elites; to take back our right to worship as we wish and raise our children in safe, wholesome communities with schools that teach traditional values, not fringe ideologies; to live in communities with streets that are once again safe for our children to play in.

Is that so much to ask? I don't think so.

You know, I have a certain amount of sympathy for the Democratic Party. They managed to elect a President with only 43 percent of the vote -- three percentage points less than Mike Dukakis --and since he's been in office, and people have seen his true colors, his popularity has fallen right through the floor. Now the Democrats are in a tight spot. Apparently, the American people just don't want what they're trying to sell --the same old grab bag of sexual license and socialism. So since the people don't like what they stand for, they're desperately trying to find something, someone to stand against. That's why the DNC has geared up a national attack demonizing the Religious Right, and they're about to unveil expensive TV spots highlighting yours truly as everything they don't like.

They call me a radical. Well, just because I used to be a Democrat is no reason for them to call me by their name. You know, for most of my life I was a Democrat. I grew up in the party of Harry Truman, when that party still stood for what was good and decent in this country, when, like Harry Truman, it represented Mainstreet America and mainstream values. But starting back in the 1960's, the Democrats began their leftward march into the liberal fever swamps, and I, like millions of other Americans, just couldn't follow. As Ronald Reagan used to say, I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democrat Party left me.

So here we stand, where we've always been, but now those new Democrats want to paint Christian Americans as radicals. And you know when they really want to slam us, they charge that we want to bring America back to how it was in the 1950s.

Well, I'm actually old enough to remember the 1950s, when Dwight Eisenhower was President and the federal budget was balanced at less than $100 billion a year. When the free world looked to the U.S. for strong, confident leadership; when there was peace abroad and tranquility reigned at home. Before taxes crushed middle class families and drugs invaded our neighborhoods. Before our mass media became an endless stream of sadism and violence, and one of the most popular shows on television was Father Knows Best.

Before abortion was legalized and our nations still protected our most defenseless and fragile citizens, the unborn, and still upheld the most sacred right of all -- the right to life.

Only someone whose view of reality is hopelessly warped would call a yearning for those days "radical extremism." No, ladies and gentlemen, America has only one group of radicals -- and they are plain to see. The big government, high tax, social engineering, amoral, liberals who now control our government. And I believe the American people want them out! Now!!

Even the liberal, pro-Democratic group -- People for the American Way -- is now being urged to drop the label " radical right " because the American people reject that pejorative label. In a poll conducted just days ago for the group, 51 percent of those surveyed said society' s biggest problems were attributable to a decline in moral values.

Consider these findings:

53 percent said they were more likely to support a candidate who backed prayer in schools.

And 74 percent said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who "put a priority on returning to traditional moral values." Sevenyty-four percent of Americans surveyed want candidates who make returning to traditional moral values a top priority! This from a poll commissioned by People for the American Way.

I am, and have always been, no more and no less than a Jeffersonian Conservative. With Thomas Jefferson, I believe that "the God who gave us life, gave us liberty." With Thomas Jefferson, I believe, that "to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. "

But the ones who call us radical now propagate speech codes and politically correct thought control on our nation's campuses. The petty tyrants who run the Department of Housing and Urban Development bring criminal charges against people who are doing no more than exercising their free speech to stop the destruction of their neighborhoods.

In California, a woman who refused to rent to an unmarried couple because it violated her religious beliefs, was compelled, by the liberal thought police, to put up a sign in her front yard that said "I have discriminated."

In Michigan, a five-year old girl in kindergarten tried to thank Jesus quietly before her Friday snack, but was told by

her teacher that she had to stop because prayer is not allowed in schools.

In another case, a teacher snatched a Bible from the hand of a little boy and said "get that thing out of here."

These are a few of the hundreds of cases we get at the American Center for Law and Justice, and thankfully, we've begun to turn some of them around.

But it is these people who are the real radicals. It is the militant secularists who are trying to tear out every last vestige of religion from our public life. The real radicals are those, like the former Attorney General and erstwhile Democrat gubernatorial candidate in Texas who said, and I quote, "The state owns your children and it owns you too."

No, Mr. Ex-Attorney General, you do not own our children, and you do not own our country, and we're going to take them back.

The real radicals are the ones who have discarded the democratic process, and try to impose their beliefs on the rest of us through the courts. The judges in black robes have the secular priesthood of liberal culture, not beholden to any higher authority than their own whims, they find new constitutional principles in shadows and penumbras, and deny those clearly written in English in the founding document.

As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice in Wonderland, they make words mean only what they want them to mean. That's why in the liberal looking-glass world, things mean the opposite of what they seem: the establishment clause, clearly written to protect religious freedom from state power, becomes a stick to beat religion out of our schools and out of our society. That's how abortion -- outlawed by every civilized state and illegal for the first 200 years of our history -- suddenly becomes a "constitutional right," for which 1.6 million unborn children must be sacrificed every year.

Today, medical science can save the lives of children born as much as four months premature, so small and delicate they can lie in the palm of your hand. But even while the miracle of science has expanded the boundaries of what is possible and given us new abilities to save life, the moral foundations that taught us to value life are crumbling under our feet.

Just this month, the administration -- despite its double-talking denials --has been pushing abortion at the international conference in Cairo, and President Clinton has signed an executive order that allows experimentation on aborted babies hardly different than those tiny preemies born in our hospital's prenatal wards.

Truly, I say with Thomas Jefferson, that I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.

My friends, I spoke earlier of our organization and strategy, and they are important, vitally important. But ultimately, our success, our growing political strength doesn't come from those things. It comes from a welling need, a hunger in the land that goes beyond this room, beyond our caucuses and membership roles.

It is a hunger for an America that is as good as it is great. A hunger for values -- values that tell us to protect the weak and defenseless, values which we as a culture are proud to impart to our children, in the books they read, the movies they watch, and yes, the lessons they learn in school.

A hunger for values that keep families intact, and that allow our children, our future, to experience the love and kindness, the security and stability that we all yearn for.

A hunger for values like sacrifice, and hard work, and understanding that there is a power in this universe greater than us, before which we can only bow down and humbly give thanks and praise.

We have been brought together this weekend by our concerns and our faith, but our strength is that we have friends of all faiths and speak for the people of every faith in this nation.

The Apostle Paul said that the truth is written on our hearts. A truth that is indelibly written by the Author of all life and it will never be erased. A culture, a society, may for a time forget those truths, or try to deny them, but we know that without God's loving hand, which holds this creation together, moment by moment, we can not long endure.

Friends, America is still the greatest country in the history of this troubled planet, a land conceived in liberty that has illuminated the world with the beacon of liberty. We are a people that, in this century alone, have defeated two of the most ruthless tyrannies ever wrought by the sins of men. Never before did we shirk the great tasks put before us: we battled the Nazis, and for 45 years we expended our treasure and our blood in a Cold War that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Empire and has brought freedom to millions who never knew it before, who had hardly dared hope to see it in their life-times.

Now the beacon of liberty is in our hands, and the struggle is at home. With us, in us! We must find the courage -- I know we will find the courage and fortitude -- to bring America back to the promise of its inception, one nation, under the gentle, loving hand of God. A land of hope, and freedom and promise and opportunity. A moral nation, once again, a good nation.

Thank you, and God bless you.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
—Philippians 4:13

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