Remarks at a Republican National Committee Fundraising Luncheon in Dallas, Texas

August 23, 1984

Thank you all for inviting me here today. [Laughter] I wanted to be here to thank all of you for your generosity to our party and your dedication to our cause. And in the midst of the hoopla of this convention, I also wanted a chance to share a few quiet words with you about where we're going in the next few weeks and months.

You know, the events of this week have shown me once again how much is at stake this year, how much depends on the efforts of people like yourselves. Over these few weeks, all America has seen the choice that we'll face in November. On the one hand, they've seen our party, the party of new ideas and fresh initiatives, the party of energy and excitement, the party of the future. And on the other hand, they've seen the other party with its worn out, discredited, far-left ideology that caters to special interests, and that's the party they saw in July.

So, while that other party is trying to return us to the days of malaise and defeatism, we'll bring a message of hope about America's future to the people. We're leading America to economic expansion and progress, to opportunity for all our citizens and, we hope, someday, freedom and self-government for all the people of the world. I think the election returns this year and for many years to come will show that our party is truly the party of the eighties and beyond. I really think that that's why the American people voted the way they did in 1980 and that's why they supported us when we needed their help in getting those tax cuts and spending cuts through the Congress.

But you know, despite all the defeats they've suffered, the Democrats still aren't listening to the people. What we must do now is go to the American people with that long list of legislative initiatives favored by the American people but held up in the Congress by liberal Democrats. I mean the balanced budget amendment, the tuition tax credits, and enterprise zones -- not to mention an anticrime bill that passed the Senate on a 91-to-1 vote, but which the liberal Democrats have kept bottled up in committee. They won't even let it come out to the floor for a vote.

Now, we have to use these as instances of the ideological stubbornness and intransigence of the liberal Democrats. This year we must speak to the American people about what distinguishes the two major political parties of this country. The other day I said the GOP has a new meaning: It is now the Great Opportunity Party.

We're the party of the future, and they're the party of the past. We're the party of new ideas, and they're the party of tired old cliches. We're the party of growth; they're the party of stagnation. We're the party -- and we've proved it this past week -- of open and freewheeling debate. They're the party that says, ``See it our way or else.''

Well, the truth is we are, in this year, 1984, a new thing in history -- a new Republican Party, a giant reemerging on the scene. And we will be content to be the minority party no more.

The leadership of the Democratic Party -- and by that I mean the eccentric clique that was calling the shots in San Francisco and not the rank-and-file members -- the leadership of the party has abandoned the principles that formed their party. They're no longer the party of Jefferson and Jackson, and they speak no more for the working people of this country.

But there is one party that does -- our party; one party that speaks for working people and entrepreneurs and risk-takers and dreamers and great souls and heroes -- the kind of people who made this country and who keep it going every day. There is one party that sees the future not as a big dark cloud waiting to rain on us, but as a great and happy challenge waiting to be seized.

I don't mean in any way that it shouldn't rain around Dallas, here where you need it so much. [Laughter] You just don't need their kind of rain. [Laughter]

It's the Republican Party, the party of the new majority, founded 130 years ago and lifted to greatness by the candidacy of an awkward and obscure lawyer who had some new ideas himself. And when he had won the Presidency, he said some words that reflect what all of us think when we look at the policies of the other party. He said: We must disenthrall ourselves with the past, and then we will save our country.

Well, Abe Lincoln was one great dreamer, one great risk-taker, one great soul, and one great hero. And I think he would be proud of his party today.

So, this year there's a lot more at stake than just a national ticket. We need to remind the people of the liberal Democrats' record in the Congress, especially in the House of Representatives, and especially on the issue of taxes and deficits. We need a Congress that won't thwart and won't obstruct the people's visions of domestic legislation. We need a Congress that won't try to gut the defense budget or lead America down the garden path of naivete in our dealings with those who do not wish us well.

We have to send a message to the American people: Only by electing a Republican House of Representatives and a Senate can we get on with the Nation's business. Only by electing a Republican House and Senate can we get the Democratic Party to return to the mainstream of American politics.

You know, you have to go back -- well, in 20 of the last 32 years, the people have chosen to have Republican Presidents. But for 14 of those 20 years, the Democrats have held both Houses of the Congress and one House, the House of Representatives, for an additional 4 years, these last 4. In only one 2-year period of all those 20 did a Republican President have the help of a Republican Congress. That was the first 2 years of Dwight Eisenhower. I believe we should appeal to the inherent fairness of the American people and ask them to elect a Congress that would help a President fulfill his promises, the promises that the people must have approved when they elected him.

That's the task before us this year. And together, I think we can do it. We can move forward with all the important legislation I mentioned. We can give the American people that era of national renewal that we promised them. And I thank you all for all that you've done, but more than that, I ask you to take one message to the people. Yes, we're proud of our record in office. But most of all, we have to talk about the future and how bright it can be with a Republican President and Vice President, a Republican majority leader, and a Republican Speaker of the House.

Just a few minutes ago, George and I were meeting with a group of Republicans, our Hispanic Republican Assembly, and I was talking to them about this congressional thing. And, you know, it's time for the American people to really look at how government runs. You know, I hear about ``the President's budget.'' There isn't a line in the Constitution that lets the President spend a nickel. Everything, all the spending that's done starts over there in that House of Representatives. But I told them, isn't it funny that when the people of this country, voting as a nation, choose so often a Republican President, and then when voting statewide they choose a majority of Republican Senators, shouldn't we be asking ourselves why it is that for all but 4 of the last 50 years, the Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives, which is elected in congressional districts? And I think it has to do with who's been in charge in these 50 years, every 10th year, when they laid out those districts. And maybe if we do that, the people of this country will begin to see not that there has been pure government of and by the people, but that there has been a deliberate thwarting of what the people, as a whole, have made evident they want. And then maybe the people will go to the polls with a little idea of redressing a grievance in mind.

Well, that's enough of that. I thank you all very much for letting us be here.

You know, I've been an after-luncheon speaker for a long time, many years, but this is the first time that I've been a luncheon speaker and no lunch, because I have to go on -- [laughing] -- some more is scheduled before the evening takes place.

Thank you all. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 1:09 p.m. in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Loew's Anatole Hotel.

In his remarks, the President referred to the Vice President.