Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Richard McIntyre in Evansville, Indiana
October 29, 1986
The President. Thank you very much. Believe me, Governor Orr, it's great to be back in your State again. And here on this 30th anniversary of the opening of this particular stadium, I don't think I'll be as entertaining 30 years later here as the wonderful Harlem Globetrotters were then. Of course, I was just a small boy at the time. [Laughter] But let me start off by saluting some tremendous young people who have come out here to help us: the Castle High School Band, the Bedford North Lawrence High School Band, the Lincoln High School Band, the North High School Band, and the Reitz High School Choir.
You know, Rick, and all of those nice things that you said about your good people here -- I owe a tremendous debt to the people of Indiana. In the Presidential primaries and elections of 1976, 1980, and 1984, you were always very supportive, and I just want you all to know that I was grateful then and I'm grateful today. And there's another reason why I and many Americans feel gratitude to you. Incidentally, before I go on in my remarks, too, I'm sorry that out there in the motorcade I had to miss Joan Moore's singing of our national anthem.
Well, there's another reason why I feel gratitude to all of you: You've sent to Washington some of the finest Representatives in the Capital. And I refer here to Senators Dick Lugar, Dan Quayle, and a great Congressman like Dan Burton. And, as you know, I'm here today because I was hoping you could right a great injustice and send us one more Republican to the next section [session] of the Congress. And I promise, I'll get to that in just a few moments. And believe me, as a farmer says, I intend to throw some hay down here where the goats can get at it.
I can't help but see these young people here in the audience, and I have a special message for all of you from my roommate. [Laughter] She said to tell you that when it comes to drugs, please -- for yourselves, for your families, for your future, and your country -- just say no.
Well, it's wonderful to be here in Indiana. As you know, as I often say to my staff when we're taking off in Air Force One, it's great to get out of Washington and get back to where the real people are. Now, you probably know I couldn't do this much traveling when Congress was in session. As Rick McIntyre will tell you, that's because some of the folks back there need watching. [Laughter] Now, I am not taking a crack at the institution of the Congress; it's fine. I'm talking about some individuals there. You know, they remind me, in the way they do governmental business -- these ones I'm talking about -- of the three fellows that came out of a building and found they'd locked themselves out of their car. And one of them said, ``Get me a wire coathanger. I can straighten it out, and I know how to trip the handle and get us in.'' The second one said, ``We can't do that right out here. They'll think we're stealing the car.'' And the third one said, ``Well, we better do something pretty quick because it's starting to rain and the top's down.'' [Laughter]
That story says so much about how the tax-and-tax and spend-and-spend policies left our country, just a few short years ago, with negative growth, double-digit inflation, the highest rates since -- get ready -- the highest rates since the Civil War. And so, as a part of that 1980 cleanup crew for the worst economic mess since the Great Depression, we Republicans headed for Washington. We cut government growth, we slashed regulations, and cut income taxes almost 25 percent. Today we're enjoying one of the longest economic expansions in our history. The prime interest rate has fallen by two-thirds. Mortgage and auto loan rates are down. Inflation has plummeted from more than 12 percent to 1.8 percent. And we've created over 11\1/2\ million new jobs in a little less than 4 years. That's more jobs than Western Europe and Japan combined have created in the past 10 years. And you know, our economic recovery programs were widely criticized by some of those people I was talking about a moment ago in Washington. And they were taking cracks at them and even making fun of them. I really could tell when our plan was beginning to work because they stopped calling it Reaganomics.
Just days ago we learned that the figure that represents the country's economic growth, GNP, the gross national product, and some other indicators show our economy gathering momentum for even more growth, higher take-home pay, and more new jobs. In short, we're headed for more prosperity. And I'm determined to see that those who still are not sharing fully in our nation's prosperity do so. And I give you my pledge: Neither Rick nor I will be satisfied until this expansion reaches every sector of our economy and every home in America and until every American who wants a job has a job.
To broaden our expansion, I signed into law last week the most sweeping reform of the tax code in our nation's history. For more than 80 percent of Americans, it means a top tax rate of 15 percent or less, and that's why I call it Tax Cut II. But wouldn't you know it, even before this fair share tax plan reached my desk, the Democratic leadership in Congress was saying that they wanted to break faith with the American people and turn tax reform into a tax hike. You know, the truth is, those folks never met a tax they didn't like. And when it comes to spending your hard-earned money, they act like they've got your credit card in their pockets. And believe me, they never leave home without it. [Laughter]
Now, Rick's opponent [Frank McCloskey] is a card-carrying member of the tax-and-spend crew. He has voted repeatedly to block our cuts in the Federal budget and for higher and higher taxes. But Rick McIntyre and the American people know the truth. They know we don't have a deficit because Congress spends too much -- or I mean, we don't have it because we're taxed too little; we do have it because Congress spends too much. Made a slip there. I was trying to read that sign they're holding up. Isn't it about time that the Congress started protecting the family budget instead of fattening the Federal budget?
You know, these differences we have on taxes and spending, and the differences between what they say at home and what those people then do when they get back in Washington, reminds me of a Democratic fundraiser at a downtown hotel. And when they came out from the fundraiser, there was a boy outside, a kid selling puppies. And he was holding them up and saying, ``Buy a Democrat puppy. Buy a Democrat pup.'' Two weeks later the Republicans had a fundraiser there. And when they came out, there was the same kid, only he was now saying, ``Buy a Republican pup. Buy a Republican pup.'' Well, a newspaperman that was there 2 weeks before recognized him and said, ``Hey, wait a minute son. You were here 2 weeks ago selling them as Democrat pups,'' he says, ``now you're selling them as Republican pups. How come?'' And the kid says, ``Now they've got their eyes open.'' [Laughter]
But, ladies and gentlemen, we've come now to an issue that transcends in importance even all the other crucial matters I've mentioned: my most solemn duty as President, the safety of the American people and the security of the United States. Here, too, because of the Republican support, we've been able to restore America's strength. There's nothing in this job that I'm prouder of than the 2 million young men and women who make up the Armed Forces of the United States. And let me tell you, if we must ever ask them to put their lives on the line for the United States of America, then they deserve to have the finest of weapons and equipment that money can buy. And with Rick's help, we're going to see that they get them. Because of our young men and women in uniform, things really have changed around the world. You know, America used to wear a ``Kick Me'' sign around its neck. Well, we threw that sign away and now it reads, ``Don't Tread on Me.'' Today every nickel-and-dime dictator around the world knows that if he tangles with the United States of America, he will have a price to pay. And one other thing I'm especially proud of: After 6 years of this administration, not 1 square inch of territory in the world has been lost to communism, and one small country, Grenada, has been set free.
And finally, there's another special accomplishment. We remain committed to our decision to move ahead with our Strategic Defense Initiative against ballistic missiles, the thing we call SDI. Today we're dealing with the Soviet Union from a position of strength, and it was SDI that brought the Soviet Union to the bargaining table. And let me pledge to you: Our goal is to keep America strong, to save the West from mutual nuclear terror, to make ballistic missiles obsolete, and ultimately to eliminate them from the face of the Earth. SDI is America's insurance policy to protect us against accidents or some madman like a Hitler or a Qadhafi who might come along, or just in case the Soviets don't keep their side of a bargain. The record on Soviet treaty violations is clear. We can either bet on American technology to keep us safe or on Soviet promises. And I'll bet on American technology every time.
Now, Rick's opponent is an example of what I'm not talking about. Not once, but seven times he voted to cut and delay SDI, just what the Soviets want us to do. Now, I knew there were those who had their doubts, but flying back from Iceland, I knew the American people would support firmness with the Soviet Union. So, I couldn't come here today without thanking each one of you for that support.
Now, I know that in a crowd like this, this place, there must be some of you who are Democrats.
The President. No, no, now wait a minute. No, no, hear me out. I couldn't come here today without thanking them for their support. I want you to know that during these past 6 years as President, I've relied again and again when the chips were down, on the support of some of the Democrats like those who are probably here. And I thank them, because, as you may know, I used to be a Democrat myself. Yes -- wait a minute -- until I learned that the liberal leadership of the Democratic Party had gone a direction that took them completely out of step with millions of hard-working, patriotic men and women who make up the Democratic Party across the country.
With all these bands present I have to tell you that I was once the drum major of a boys band in Dixon, Illinois. And I had a little experience that now seems to me like what I've seen happening to the Democratic Party. We were invited to a neighboring town to lead their parade on Memorial Day. Really leading the parade, of course, was the parade marshal on a big white horse out in front of me there. We're going down the street and suddenly he turned and rode back down the parade to make sure everything was coming along all right. And I'm pumping that baton and the band is playing, and suddenly, music began to sound a little faint. [Laughter] And I kind of sneaked a look over my shoulder. The man on the horse had gotten back just in time to turn my band to the right down an intersection and I was all alone, going up the street by myself. [Laughter] Well, that's what's happened with the Democratic Party. The people have turned to the right, and the leaders are still going down the road. Now, I know how tough it can be to break with tradition, but remember what Winston Churchill, that great Englishman, said, as a Member of Parliament, when he changed parties and was roundly criticized for doing that. And his response was, he said, ``Some men change principle for party, and some change party for principle.''
You know, my friends, one of the principles that the Democrat leaders have abandoned most dramatically is the principle of fairplay. And there's no better example than what happened to Rick McIntyre. Twice -- twice the votes showed that he was certified as the duly elected representative of this district, but the Democrats in the House, on a strictly partisan vote, simply refused to seat him. It was an act of unprecedented arrogance. If there's one thing that makes this country of ours great and strong, it is that we are a federation of sovereign States. And this is unique in most all the world. But these individuals, these Democrat leaders, would like to make the States into just administrative districts of the Federal Government. Well, don't let that happen.
You, the people of Indiana, said officially, and in keeping with your rules and regulations of elections, that you had elected Rick McIntyre. And a little group in the Congress of the United States said no and overrode your State. Well, they threw your votes out the window and, in a naked display of power politics, as you know, just turned the district over to someone else. I think it's clear that it's time we restored balance to the House of Representatives. So, I'm asking all Americans: Vote against power politics. Vote fairness, and vote for balance. Vote Republican in 1986. And I'm sure I don't need to ask the people of this district: take back what is rightfully yours, send Rick McIntyre to Washington as your Representative in the United States Congress. And while you're at it, remember that nothing has done more to balance the Democratic House than our Republican Senate. So, please send Dan Quayle back to Washington, also.
Ladies and gentlemen, we couldn't have accomplished all that I was talking about a little earlier if we had not had that one House of the Congress, the Senate. Ladies and gentlemen, the eyes of America are on you and your great State. If you've often thought about all that could be achieved if we had more Republicans to join that gallant band of 180 that we now have in the House, I ask you: Will you choose the Democratic leaders who in 1980 weakened our nation and nearly brought our economy to its knees, who raised your taxes and have announced their plans to do so again, who oppose our efforts to pursue a defense to protect us from attack by nuclear ballistic missiles? Or will you choose to give the cleanup crew of 1980 a chance to finish the job?
Well, just to be sure of where you stand, I thought I'd conduct an informal poll. Speak up loudly now so you'll let all America hear. Do you want to go back to the days of big spending, high taxes, and runaway inflation?
The President. Do you want Ted Kennedy or Joe Biden controlling the confirmation of Federal court judges?
The President. Do you want to return to policies that gave us a weak and vacillating America?
The President. That's good to hear. Now, would you rather have an America that is strong and proud and free?
The President. Would you rather have low taxes, low inflation, and low interest rates?
The President. Do you want Rick McIntyre as your Congressman from the 8th district of Indiana?
The President. Thank you. You just made my day, and you didn't hurt Rick's feelings at all.
Audience. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. Well, there's a little constitutional difficulty there, but if you mean do you want me to live 4 more years, I'm with you. And I'll tell you what I'll settle for: You send Dan Quayle back there so that we've got a Republican Senate for 2 more years, and I'll be happy.
You know, my name will never appear on a ballot again -- --
The President. -- -- but if you'd like to vote for me one more time, you can do so by voting for Rick McIntyre. But important as this election will be to me, it will be even more important to you, and especially to you young people, because it will shape our nation's future. Now, every poll shows that the age group in our country from 18 to 24 has the greatest majority on our side. But wait a minute. Every poll shows that just as clearly, it's that same age group that has the lowest percentage of voter turnout. So, those of you in that group who are here, don't go out of here only committed to vote yourself. Buttonhole your friends and tell them to vote, that you can participate in shaping history itself simply by casting a vote.
You know, back at the beginning of World War II, General George C. Marshall, who was the Chief of Staff of our Army, was asked if we had a secret weapon for that war and what it might be. And General Marshall said: ``Yes, we have a secret weapon. It's the best blankety-blank kids in the world.'' Well, I've been crisscrossing this country. I've been on campuses. I've been in schools. I've seen those young people in our military. And I can tell you, if George Marshall were here today, he would repeat, you are the best blankety-blank kids in the world.
Well, it's time to go now, but before leaving -- --
The President. I'm due out in South Dakota. Before leaving, I'd just like to say that people my age deeply believe that it's our duty to turn over to you young Americans the same freedom and opportunity that our parents and grandparents handed on to us. When we look at you -- when we see your openness, your enthusiasm for America and for life itself -- it gives us heart and it strengthens our pledge. My generation and those other generations in here that are between mine and yours -- that is our obligation. There have been times in recent years when some in the Government have shaken our faith that that might continue and be true. But now it is, and we're pledged to see that we give you that kind of country when it's your turn -- that, as I say, our parents and grandparents gave to us.
I see at least one young man in this room here who's a fraternity brother of mine. I was told that -- --
Audience members. Eureka State!
The President. I was told that Tau Kappa Epsilon was a fraternity for life. And I found out they not only made me a member at Eureka, but they gave me a job so I could go to school -- waiting tables in the fraternity house.
But, my friends, in casting your vote for Rick McIntyre and Dan Quayle, you'll be winning one for yourselves, you'll be winning one for Indiana, and believe me, you'll be winning one for America. And, yes, you'll raise one for the Gipper! Thank you all, and God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. in Roberts Municipal Stadium. He was introduced by Mr. McIntyre. Following his remarks, the President met with major donors to the Indiana State Republican Party at the stadium. He then traveled to Rapid City, SD.