"First in the Nation Primary Kick Off Dinner"
May 2, 1999
Thank you! Thank you very much.
I wouldn't want to leave anybody with a false impression. I have to thank Chairman Nicholson for his gracious words. But I would have to correct him on one point, though, because truth to tell, Mr. Chairman, I can't honestly say that I had in mind the Eleventh Commandment when I ceded to Dan Quayle's request. I was probably thinking more of the commandment that was given by the one who is my Lord and Savior - He said "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."
Because, you see, I believe that in jest Eleventh Commandments are all well and good. And having served as an ambassador in the Reagan Administration, I have the highest regard for Ronald Reagan. He is still my President.
But God is still my God!
And I'll tell you, if one of man's commandments comes into conflict with one of those, I know which way I have to go.
And that means that, no matter who will gainsay me, I have to stand here and be quite honest and straight with you. We can talk all we want about "family values," and about how we have to stand with courage for what is right, but we also know what that means in today's world. And there are a lot of folks, whether we want to hear it or not - and they DO wear a Republican label - who want us to forget.
Because in today's world, if you want to stand where God stands, then you will remember that His commandment says "Thou shalt not kill." And that also means innocent children in the womb!
I wear a Republican label, but God is still my God.
And that means that if you want me to stand silently by while fellow Republicans rip out the moral heart of this party, turn us from the party of the Declaration and Lincoln, from the party that made it clear that all men are created equal and endowed, not by their mother's choice, but by God Almighty with their unalienable rights, I will NOT be silent. And I will not turn away.
And that quietly means . . . I shall speak no ill of my fellow Republicans, but Mrs Dole, when you tell me that the fight for a human life amendment is a dead-end issue, I will speak no ill of you, but I will oppose your judgment.
And I'll have to tell you . . . I will speak no ill of my fellow Republicans, but when they wish me to stand by and follow, down a dark road of confusion and conflict, the most lying, the most morally incompetent, the most defective, the most shameless president we have ever had . . . when such a president comes to me and says he's leading me on a moral crusade, I'm gonna look twice, and three times, at what he is telling me.
And if you want to know the truth, I will speak no ill of my fellow Republicans, but if Mrs. Dole and John McCain want me to stand back and salute that moral defectiveness, and act as if I do not understand that we are fighting a war against a people that never attacked us, that never harmed our interests, that never killed our people, that never in any way drew the sword against the United States - I will tell you that that is an un-American war!
We have people who are lying today in their graves, and who lie in their graves because we stood foursquare for this simple principle - no state or group of states has any right whatsoever to commit aggression against another. And it cannot do the world good when the state that has, time and time again, culminating in Kuwait, successfully organized the world in defense of that principle, violates it on grounds that are NOT - I repeat, NOT - a moral crusade.
He says that we mean to save the Kosovars, but he bombs and kills them too.
He says that we mean to prevent harm to the innocent, and yet the air war itself provoked greater harm.
He says that we mean to go in and, on our moral crusade, we shall bring safety to those whom he knew, when he started the war, could not be made safer by air power. His generals told him what General Clark has already declared: air power could not prevent paramilitary murder. And that means that, if you are going in to save the innocent, and you use an ineffective means, then your judgment is not morally right, it is morally defective.
And I say now, that I will speak no ill of my fellow Republicans, but I will speak ill of those who wish us to follow fifteen left-wing NATO governments as they redefine NATO, turning it into the sword of a global nanny. I have opposed that socialism at home, and I will oppose it as our international policy.
So we have to be clear. I don't want to spoil anybody's fun and games, but we are not engaged in fun and games. We are choosing a President of the United States. And I realize that in the last couple of years we have made all kinds of nonsensical statements. We have listened to all kinds of stupid drivel about the presidency. We have heard them tell us that "it's the economy, stupid," and moral character doesn't matter, and integrity can be thrown to the winds.
The President of the United States is not the president of a widget factory. He is the commander in chief of the most awesome military power ever assembled in the history of the world. That is the most awesome moral responsibility any human being can be called upon to bear. And that means that the first requirement of the presidency is moral character, moral judgment, moral conscience, moral decency, and moral shame. And Bill Clinton has none of them.
But if we mean to provide leadership for the American people, then we are going to have to more than mouth platitudes. We are going to have to stand before this country and, with courage, articulate the alternatives, and tell this President the simple truth -
Mr. President, stop the war against innocent children, and stop the war for UN sovereignty in Yugoslavia.
We will support you no longer.