Iowa Straw Poll
August 14, 1999
Thank you, Bruce Springstein, for that tremendous introduction. [cheers].
Now, let me talk--let me talk a little bit--go back into the past and talk about how I first came into this conservative movement.
It was back almost 40 years ago; I was a young recruit in the great army of Barry Goldwater that met the forces of Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller--the coup in the Cow Palace--where we changed this party and turned it into something, it was a great instrument of modern conservatism.
We won that battle then, and we made a resolution then that I believe has application today: Resolved that never again would we let the national press or the big media tell us what Republican should get in any race and who should get out of any race. [cheers].
And never again would we let big money and the beltway elite tell us who we should nominate for president of the United States. [cheers].
As of old, the battle has been rejoined, and as of old, we march to Armageddon to do battle for the Lord.
Let me tell you about the party that I believe in and have fought for all my life. It is the party of a man I stood beside in 1977 when we fought against the giveaway of the Panama Canal--Ronald Reagan.
It is the party of that same Ronald Reagan I stood with in 1986 at the great summit of Reykjavik when he pounded the table and got up and walked away from the greatest arms deal of the century because the Soviet dictator demanded that he give up the defensive weapons to defend his country, SDI.
That's the Ronald Reagan I knew. That Ronald Reagan did not equivocate. That Ronald Reagan did not apologize. That Ronald Reagan did not mince words, and he did none of those when he stood up unequivocally for the right to life of the innocent unborn and all of God's children. [cheers].
So let me tell you, I don't know what others may do, but let me tell you, when I'm sitting in that Oval Office, any judge that comes before me and he wants to go on that Supreme Court, he'll either be a pro-life constitutionalist or he will not sit on the Supreme Court. [cheers].
Roe v. Wade is an ugly scar across the face of America. We got to remove that scar, and then God will hear this people and He will heal our land. [cheers]. You know, the party of Reagan--the party of Reagan was a party of working men and women in this country, of teamsters and steel workers and textile workers. Yet now we see the farmers of a Iowa in a depression; 400,000 manufacturing jobs lost last year in a good year for America; a $300-billion trade deficit for our country. Our economic independence is being lost and our sovereignty is being eroded.
Let me ask you something. What is the party of Reagan doing? Sacrificing the working men and women of this country on the altars of NAFTA and GATT and the World Trade Organization in Clinton and Gore's New World Order. [cheers]. What are we doing, this party of ours?
Well, let me tell you--to all those internationalists and globalists, whether they be in Washington or up at the U.N. or in Bonn or Paris or Tokyo or New York, let me tell you something. When I raise my hand to take that oath of office as president of the United States, your New World Order comes crashing down. [cheers, chants].
What is this party of Ronald Reagan doing? Parts of it. Not all of it; we got some good men here who oppose that policy. But what is part of our party doing embracing the policy of groveling and appeasing of Communist China with most favored nation trade treatment that gives Communist China a $60-billion trade surplus every year with the United States?
Let me tell you I've got a different policy in mind. I've got a different policy in mind. If Mr. Zhu Rongji had come to see me in the Oval Office as he saw Bill Clinton, I would have told him, sir, you're going to stop persecuting Christians, you're going to stop bullying our friends on Taiwan, you're going to stop pointing missiles at us, or you're going to have sold your last pair of chopsticks in any mall in the United States of America. [cheers].
We're just--we're just getting there. You know, the Chinese Communists are all whining and complaining. They said, we don't know how your American missile hit our embassy in Belgrade. You know, the Chinese Communists said that, but if the Chinese Communists don't know how our missiles work, who does? They stole every secret we got under Bill Clinton. [cheers].
Now, let me talk about this recent war in Kosovo. What is our party doing, cheering Mr. Clinton on in an illegal, unconstitutional war that destroyed a country that had never attacked us and in a region of the world--the Balkans--where we have never had a vital interest? What are we doing, embracing that policy? [cheers].
I'm against that war for other reasons, even though we had no vital interests there and Serbia had not attacked us. I believe it was launched in part by Bill Clinton to cover up the latest disgrace in the Oval Office. [cheers].
And I oppose that war for another reason. I don't believe the man who launched that war, Mr. Clinton, is fit to be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States. [cheers].
We got our armed forces spread all over the country, my friends, spread all over the world--some places under U.N. command. They're defending borders in Korea, in Kuwait, in Kosovo. What we need to do is rebuild, re-arm and replenish that military and bring them home. And if you want to defend a border, why don't they try defending the southern border of the United States of America. [cheers].
You know--let me close here. I don't want to use up all my time and have these microphones cut off on me the way they were in 1996. I went 16 minutes; they finally had it with me.
But let me tell you a story. Ollie North is a friend of mine--you know old Ollie, the Marine. He called me up and said, "Pat, I'm going to have you on my TV show. I'm going to tell you what I'm going to ask you. My first question's going to be, 'What's the first thing you're going to do as president?'"
So I said, Ollie, "I will be ready. I do TV for a living, Ollie. I can handle that." So I went on that show with Ollie. The first question he asked me was, "What's the first thing you're going to do as president?" I said, "The first thing I'm going to do, Ollie, we're going to shut down the Department of Education." [cheers]. Ollie said, "No." -- Ollie said, "No, no, that's not it." I said, "All right, I'm going to shut down that National Endowment for the Arts, I'm going to fumigate the building and put the IRS in there." [cheers]. And Ollie said, "No, the first thing you do when you're up there on the inaugural stand?"
I said, "Well, I got to deliver my inaugural speech, but, Ollie, when I raise my hand to take that oath of office, I'm the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, aren't I?" He said, "That's right."
I said, "Well, if I'm the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, I guess the first thing I'd have to do is turn to Bill Clinton and say, 'Sir, you have a right to remain silent [cheers]; you have a right to have an attorney present.'" [cheers continue].
Let me say it has been wonderful to be here. It's a great event, and we were here in '96. We had a wonderful time. The Buchanan Brigades are over there, wonderful folks from these other folks in the campaign, and I'm proud and honored to be here.
And I've had a long, good career in politics, and I just thought tonight that I would want to leave with a thought that I remember reading in Teddy White's book that Jack Kennedy said. He quoted Lincoln in the final days, the final days of his campaign in 1960 when he came out on the porch in some place in Connecticut. And he quoted Lincoln. And I want to say this especially to my wonderful folks over there in the Brigades. He said, "I know there is a God and I know he hates injustice. I see the storm coming and I know His hand is in it. But if there is a place and a part for me, I believe that I am ready."
God bless you and God bless the U.S.A. [cheers].