Radio Address to the
Nation on the Democratic National Convention and the Administration's Achievements
July 23, 1988
week there was a certain meeting in Atlanta, and maybe, like me,
you just couldn't help hearing a few things about it and shaking your head.
Some people just don't seem to learn. The American people want to hear straight
talk about where our leaders plan to take the country, not personal attacks.
For all our history, we Americans have debated our differences vigorously. But
like two of the earliest political adversaries in our history, Thomas Jefferson
and John Adams, while we've always fought hard for our differing opinions,
we've honored each other for taking part in the democratic process. This week's
convention speakers seemed to forget this American tradition.
beyond that, there was something amazing about what we heard. Our liberal
opposition seems to think so much is bad in America. To hear them talk you
would never have guessed that we're in the longest peacetime economic expansion
on record, that America has created over 17 million jobs in the last 5 years,
or that a greater proportion of Americans in the work force has jobs today than
ever before in our history. You would never have guessed that, after dropping
by 3 percent when their party was last in the White House, the real income of
the typical American family has grown by more than 10 percent since the current
would never have guessed that our cuts in tax rates and recent tax reform have
done exactly what we said they would do. Americans with the most income pay
more of our total income taxes than before; many Americans at the bottom of the
scale no longer pay any income tax at all. And growth and opportunity have been
born again in America. Most of all, you would
never have guessed how much our expansion has meant to all Americans. For
example, one respected economic writer noted that for black Americans, the year
1982 to 1986 represented, in his words, ``On every
front -- jobs, income, even household wealth -- the best 5 years in black
listening to the rhetoric, you'd never have guessed America's economy is the
strongest in decades. To them, it's in America. It's the same sad song
they sang 4 years ago. They say they want to turn America around. When their
party left the White House 8 years ago, inflation was at one of the highest
levels in American history. Now it's under control. Do they want to turn that
around? When they left office, America's industrial
productivity was stalled. Our competitiveness was slipping, and technological
research, key to our industrial future, appeared to be on hold. Today
manufacturing productivity is rising strongly -- some
rate us as the most competitive nation for manufacturing costs in the
industrial world -- and we're again the world's leader in developing new
technology. Do they want to turn that around?
when their party turned over the keys to the White House, the Soviet Union was going forward with
the biggest arms buildup in history; we were cutting back. And the Soviets had
invaded Afghanistan. Today we have the
first treaty in world history to eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear
missiles. The Soviets have pulled troops out of Afghanistan. And American-Soviet
relations are better than they've been for a good long while. Do they want to
turn that around, too?
said America can do better -- with
that I wholeheartedly agree. But the people also know that the last time our
opponents were in charge America did a heck of a lot
worse. What do our opponents really want to do? Well, again and again, we've
heard from the press that our opposition just won't say. We've heard that they
don't want to level with the country because when they've done that in the past
the country hasn't liked what it's heard.
this year they've learned one lesson: They're covering their tracks. You'll
never hear that ``L'' word -- liberal -- from them. They've put on political trenchcoats and dark glasses and slipped their platform
into a plain brown wrapper. But while they're saying that government needs to
do more of this or more of that, will they also pledge not to raise taxes?
While they're talking about reducing the danger of nuclear weapons, will they
also pledge to go forward full speed with our Strategic Defense Initiative, the
one practical way of reducing the threat of those weapons once and for all? And
while they're talking about the war on drugs, will they also support the death
penalty for drug kingpins? The American people expect straight talk about real
issues. That's what they deserve, and that's what they ought to get.
next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at from his ranch in Santa Barbara County, CA.