Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Wyatt Durrette in Arlington, Virginia
October 9, 1985
Thank you, Wyatt, very much. Thank all of you very much -- the Members of the Congress, our former Governors, our visiting Governor Dick Thornburgh of Pennsylvania, and our Governor-to-be.
I've just come a short distance to be here today, but I feel worlds away from that town across the river. It's estimated that nearly 60 percent of all Virginians identify with the conservative philosophy. My only question is, what happened to that other 40 percent? [Laughter] And how are we going to help them see the light? I guess we all know the answer to that. He's sitting right here -- Wyatt Durrette, the candidate for Governor. He ranks right up with the finest of the fine Governors that have governed this great Commonwealth of Virginia. And that's why so many of Virginia's most respected elected officials have come out strongly for Wyatt. And Wyatt's support extends beyond the State and crosses party lines. I know at least two former Democrats who are giving Wyatt Durrette their wholehearted endorsement. One is Harry Byrd, who served this State so ably for so many years, and the other one is the current leader of the Republican Party -- me. [Laughter] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child. And when I became a man, I put aside -- [laughter] -- childish things. [Laughter]
Well, Virginia needs Wyatt Durrette's strong, principled leadership. But you all know that already, and I'm here today to tell you that America needs him, too, because it's only if we pull together at both the State and national levels that we can give America the bright future of expanding hope and opportunity that she deserves. Wyatt understands that the road to that future is not paved with government programs. He knows it's freedom that creates economic growth and prosperity, and all over the world we are seeing more and more freedom works.
He knows, in addition to that, that it's not another new State office boondoggle paid for by higher taxes that we need for any of the problems that confront us. He knows the way to give minorities a fair shake is to open up with enterprise zones and a youth opportunity wage for teenagers. He understands the transportation needs of Northern Virginia, and he knows that the way to educational excellence is through incentives for achievement, higher standards for our students, and merit pay for teachers.
I've been following this race in Virginia pretty closely, and in many ways it reminds me of that campaign I was going through not too long ago. Last year, too, we heard promise after promise for billions of dollars of new government spending programs, but at least my opponent, then, admitted that he wanted to raise your taxes. Well, the American people let it be known last November what they thought about that idea, and I am convinced come November 5th, the people of this great State are going to repeat that message loud and clear when they elect Wyatt Durrette Governor of Virginia.
While I'm on that subject of taxes, let me interject a note here about the national scene. I'm going to let you in on a little-known fact. There are people in Washington -- some of them even hold elected office -- who still harbor a secret desire, way down deep in their hearts, to raise your taxes. Now, I know you may find this hard to believe, but it's true. They pine for the old days, when the special interests were lined up 10 deep at the Federal trough gorging on taxpayer dollars; some even want to pervert our fair share tax plan and turn it into a sneaky way of raising America's taxes. Well, they can keep on dreaming because there isn't going to be any tax hike.
I've said it before, and I'll keep on saying it as many times as it takes: No matter how it's disguised or packaged, if Congress sends me a tax hike I'll send it right back with a big veto written across it. And for those who are trying to torpedo tax fairness, let's remind them exactly what's on the line. America's fair share plan, as submitted, would increase the gross national product by about 3 percent above projections; that translates into nearly 4 million more new jobs and $600 to $900 a year in added income for every American household. Now, those are the benefits of America's fair share tax plan, and those are the standards by which any alteration of the plan will be judged. Any plan that is less progrowth, any plan that is less profamily will be robbing America of the jobs and prosperity that are rightfully theirs.
Now, last Friday I announced our support for an historic deficit-busting measure called the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. It would put the force of law behind deficit reduction, locking us into a spending reduction path that will bring the budget into balance by 1990. And then I think we should honor the words and the complaint of another great Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, who, when he looked at the ratification of our Constitution, said: ``It lacks only one thing -- a provision to prevent the Federal Government from borrowing.'' Well, let's have that come 1990 with our balanced budget. [Applause] Well, it sounds like an awfully good idea to me, and I gather from your reaction, you agree.
It's funny how some of those who've been screaming the loudest about deficits are now obstructing and delaying, doing everything they can to try and sink this bill, which will be coming to a vote, I understand, in the Senate this afternoon. Now, I'm not accusing anybody of insincerity, but the next time one of those folks gets up and complains about the deficit, they'd better have a smile on their face. You know, there's been a lot of jousting and hustling going on there across the river in the Capital. You learn that when you get between the hog and the bucket, you get jousted about a bit. [Laughter]
But when we talk about the future of Virginia and the future of America, we're really talking about something more fundamental than dollars and cents. Wyatt understands that underneath all these issues lie basic questions of values. The big spending pressures that we still have to fight against on both the State and national levels are really an attempt to artificially pump up a failed and exhausted liberal ideology. It's an ideology that looks on America with despair and that has spent the last several decades trying to unravel the social order that binds us together as a nation and as a people. When it looks abroad, it is an ideology that, in Jeane Kirkpatrick's famous phrase, always ``blames America first,'' while too often making excuses for the enemies of freedom. At home, it erects walls to lock out God and keep Him away from our schoolchildren, but has trouble locking up drug pushers, thieves, and murderers. Well, I just have to say -- and I think you'll agree with me -- that the real walls of separation we need in this country are prison walls that will keep criminals off the streets and away from our children.
You know, I often think the real heroes of today are the parents trying to raise their children in an environment that seems to have grown more and more hostile to family life. Music and the media floods their children's world with glorifications of drugs and violence and perversity, and there's nothing they can do about it, they're told, because of the first amendment. Well, I don't think James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights and one of Virginia's proudest sons, ever imagined that his great document of liberty would be twisted into a pretext for license. I don't believe that our Founding Fathers ever intended to create a nation where the rights of pornographers would take precedence over the rights of parents and the violent and malevolent would be given free rein to prey upon our children.
I guess one of the things that I like best about Wyatt is that he has common sense enough to know the value of values. Family, faith, freedom, and opportunity aren't just campaign slogans for him; they're the foundation upon which his political philosophy is built. Wyatt is an experienced, principled leader that Virginia can depend on and trust.
You know, back in 1977 I spoke at my first fundraiser for Wyatt, and by coincidence the day of the fundraiser just happened to be my birthday. So, the event turned into a kind of a dual celebration. There I was 39 years old -- [laughter] -- for the 27th time. [Laughter] Wyatt, I just want to make sure that when I reach 40 next year -- [laughter] -- you can give me a birthday call from the Governor's office. You know, I learned a little truism about this talk of age and everything else, in addition to having 39th birthdays from here on out, and that is someone told me very wisely that getting old is 15 years from wherever you are now. [Laughter]
Well, you know, ladies and gentlemen, Virginia is one of the greatest States of the greatest Nation on Earth. Virginia deserves the very best -- John Chichester for lieutenant governor, Buster O'Brien for attorney general, and Wyatt Durrette for Governor. And all of them, I know, endorse the fact that we must never forget that our very freedom is based on this fact: that this nation is a federation of sovereign States, and they must never be reduced to administrative districts of the Federal Government, as some in Washington would have us do.
Thank you. God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at 12:30 p.m. at the Marriott Gateway Hotel. He was introduced by Mr. Durrette.