In February 1995 I attended the announcement of the candidate that I supported for the Republican nomination for President. Here a a few “sound bites” from that speech.
His mother reminded him of his childhood: “You had a library card from the day you were three, and music lessons from the day you were four. You had everything you needed that was important.”
His grandfather told him to “Aim for the Top. There’s more room there.”
During his public education: “My teachers taught me more than Algebra and music. I learned the importance of the pledge of allegiance, of telling the truth, of the greatness of this country and of our civilization, of the value of working and being on time, and of the difference between right and wrong.”
On his life as a child, he said: “Across from the school is the Presbyterian Church. If the church doors were open, we were there. Sunday morning, Sunday night fellowship, Monday night scouts, Wednesday prayer meeting, Thursday choir practice.”
One of his ancestors, when someone asked about his politics, said, “I am a Presbyterian and a Republican. I fought to save the Union and I vote like I shot.”
His reasons for running “It is first, because of the arrogance of Washington, D.C. and, second, because of a collapse those institutions –the family, the neighborhood, the church and the schools — that gave to me and to most of you — the privileges that made us believe in my grandfather’s advice, “Aim for the Top.”
“This anger at the arrogance of Washington, D.C., and this deep worry about what has been happening to our most basic institutions, produced a Republican Congress in November and gave birth to the opportunity for a new American revolution — and the opportunity to turn that anger into hope. The place to start is Washington, D.C.”
“Where I come from has everything to do with where I stand. Because I believe that parents and teachers know more about their children than anyone in Washington, I would abolish the U.S. Department of Education and move the responsibility back home. We know what to do.”
“There is a federal crime bill that would require the state to adopt certain prison sentences in order to receive federal money. This sounds like Democrats giving orders from Washington, D.C.! If they want to set state prison sentences, they should resign and come home and run for governor or for the legislature or for sheriff. We are not too stupid to know what to do.”
“I learned long time ago that it makes no sense for the government in Washington to spend $600 million more each day than it takes in. I am the only Republican candidate for President who has ever balanced a government budget. In eight years I balanced eight budgets, lowered the state debt and reduced the number of state employees. Because I helped to start a business, I would cut the capital gains tax in a minute. That taught me that nothing else would better provide dollars to help growing companies create new jobs.”
“You and I know that it is dangerous for our country to reduce defense spending as a percentage of our wealth to its lowest level since 1940 when, in many ways, the world has never been more uncertain. We know that for the last two years a “focus group Presidency” guided by overnight polling has been especially damaging to our foreign policy. The President’s zigging and zagging has perplexed our allies and encouraged our enemies. When the United States is not strong and certain, the rest of the world becomes more unsettled and more dangerous.”
“I believe that we know what to do — that in Maryville and Concord and Des Moines and Austin and Tampa we are not too stupid to make decisions for ourselves about how to educate our children, to help the unfortunate, to build roads, to fight crime, to create jobs, to plan our own lives.”
“Our schools will be good when we decide they will be. We can have the power to choose the right one for our own child when we demand it. Welfare reform will happen when citizens, not the government, penalize irresponsibility, encourage independence and offer a hand to the truly needy. Streets will be safe when we decide that no wrong deed goes unpunished. Families will become strong when we turn off the TV and spend more time with our children.”
“Thirty years ago Ronald Reagan, before he was elected to any public office, made an address called “A Time For Choosing.” He said that in America freedom is our greatest value, and that then there were two great threats: communism abroad and big government at home. Looking back over those last 30 years, I suppose we could say, one down and one to go. Communism, the evil empire, has virtually disappeared. But big government at home has become an arrogant empire, obnoxious and increasingly irrelevant in a telecommunications age. In every neighborhood in America, the government in Washington is stepping on the promise of American Life. The New American Revolution is about lifting that yoke from the backs of American teachers, farmers, business men and women, college presidents, and homeless shelter directors and giving us the freedom to make decisions for ourselves.”
“Ronald Reagan put it this way in 1964: “This is the issue of the election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan ourselves. ” That was also the issue of the election in 1994. It will be the issue of 1996, and for years to come. It took 30 years of unfashionable principled leadership by the last Republican Washington outsider who became President to help collapse the evil empire. Now is a good time to give another Republican Washington outsider the opportunity to help put some humility into the arrogant empire in Washington, D.C.”
“When I was five, that grandfather I told you about was a switch engineer on the Santa Fe railroad in Newton, Kansas. His job was to push each big engine into the roundhouse, put it on the turntable and head it in the right direction. Last year the people pushed America’s engine into the roundhouse. The new Republican Congress is trying –but we need a new President to help turn it around and head it off in the right direction.”
“We need a President who is part of the people’s revolution. We need a President with the vision to paint a picture of America’s future and lead us into the next millennium. We don’t need a President of Washington, D.C. We need a President of the entire United States of America.”
“Because I am absolutely committed to moving responsibility out of Washington, D.C. and giving us the freedom to make decisions for ourselves, because deep down in my heart I believe that we know what to do, and because I am determined to help renew the American spirit the old fashioned way, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block and family by family — I am announcing today that I am a candidate for the office of President of the United States.”
“If you agree that the problem is the arrogance of Washington, D.C. and the answer is the character of our people, then this campaign is for you. My friends, I invite you to Come On Along!”
“Thank you. God Bless You. God Bless the United States of America.”
So, In 1996, I supported Tennessee native, Lamar Alexander.
I am trully surprised! Really, wow, shock and amazement. Really. I had just moved to Knoxville and was living on campus and didn’t follow the race closely. I wasn’t even registered to vote here in Tenessee at the time so I knew of (now) Senator Lamar Alexander only slightly. Not that it would have made any difference. Since I had already kind’a figured that Sen. Dole of Kansas would get the nod.