Remarks at a Republican Party Reception in Atlanta, Georgia
July 30, 1981
Thank you very much, and thank you all also for more than that and for all that I know you did to help. I have to tell you, it wasn't any one single victory. The victory goes to everyone, and I mean everyone in this country, as well as a great team there in Washington, and people on both sides of the aisle in Washington, who worked as hard as they could work. This truly was a bipartisan thing. Yesterday, they weren't Republicans or Democrats in the halls of Congress; they were Americans.
When I say you the people, just let me tell you a little bit of what it was like and what happened. Monday night in the Oval Office I went on with the television program. And an hour later, I got the first count on the calls that had come in just to the White House in that hour. By morning, we had received four times as many calls as we have received at any time in these 6 months on any of the other appearances that I've made or issues that we've discussed.
But up on the Hill, the Capitol switchboards were jammed. [Laughter] The calls were coming in. The wires were coming in from all over the country. And you'd be amazed how many, because I'm very proud of the fact that there wasn't any real arm-twisting. I can tell you that people that I called -- Congressmen that I called and who had to tell me that, well, no, they thought they were going, leaning the other way. Many of them responded with the ``but thanks'' -- because what can you do but say to them: ``Well, I'm sorry. If there's anything I could tell you to change your mind, I would, but I understand.'' And they have commented and thanked for the fact that we didn't try to pressure them or threaten them or do anything else to get them.
This, I think, reflects that there is a change going on in this country. And the things that we used to say and wonder if we could ever get accomplished, now, we're on the side of the people. They feel that way, too.
So, now we go forward from here. I think this is the dramatic turn in the direction the government's taking, but it also means now the responsibility's on us. We've got to prove that what we said about it is true; it'll work. And I happen to believe that very definitely, that leaving more of the people's earnings in their hands and reducing government spending as we have, it will work.
But, all of us together are going to have to make sure that what we call ``the safety net'' remains, and that is no one must fall between the cracks. We have no intention of any of those cuts ever reflecting against or making it difficult for some person with real need, some person truly handicapped, some person who through no fault of his own must depend on his neighbors for help. And we all together, in our communities and every place else, have got to see that it works that way and that no one is cast aside.
Now, a few months ago -- then I'm going to come down because I haven't got much time here -- a few moments ago in there speaking to the legislators, I quoted a former Democratic President, and I think it's only fair that I quote a Republican President -- [laughter] -- something on the order of what this is all about and what I think we're trying to undo in Washington. This former President said, while he was a President, ``No method or procedure has ever been devised by which liberty could be divorced from local self-government. No plan of centralization has ever been adopted which did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny, inflexibility, reaction, and decline. Of all forms of government, those administered by bureaus are about the least satisfactory to an enlightened and progressive people. Being irresponsible, they become autocratic, and being autocratic, they resist all development. Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted, it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is the one element of our institution -- that our institutions set up -- they set up the pretense of having autonomy over everybody and being responsible to nobody.'' And old, silent Cal Coolidge said that at William and Mary in 1926. [Laughter]
Well, I know that if I get down off here I have at least a few minutes to mingle. If I didn't have any other reason for getting home, Nancy has just arrived home from the wedding. And it's the longest separation since we've been married, and I want to make sure that she hasn't gone royal on me. [Laughter]
Okay. Thank you all very much.
Note: The President spoke at 2:43 p.m. to Georgia Republicans and Republican State legislators in the Galleria area of the Atlanta Hilton Hotel. Following the reception, the President returned to the White House.