Remarks at a Campaign Rally
for Senator Robert W. Kasten, Jr., in Waukesha, Wisconsin
October 23, 1986
The President. Thank you very much.
But before I get into my remarks, let me give you a news bulletin. This morning
the Commerce Department just reported the biggest jump in durable goods orders
in 2 years, about 5 percent, and what this means is more production and more
jobs in the future. Our 4-year-long economic recovery looks like it's headed
for a second boom. We can let the good times roll again in America if we keep Bob Kasten and company in the Senate, too -- if we keep the big
spenders out of Washington just 2 more years. Help
I thank Senator Kasten for that very kind
introduction, and a very special thanks to the North Waukesha High School Band.
Now, before I came out I heard them playing a particular song that brought back
many great memories to me. No other fight song has been adopted by so many high
schools across the land -- my own included. As a matter of fact, I was halfway
through my high school football career before I knew that it was ``On
Wisconsin'' and not ``Onward Dixon.'' [Laughter] On my way in I saw a lot of
young people here today, and I have a special message for all of the young
people here from my roommate. When it comes to drugs, please, for yourself,
your families, for your future, and for your country, just say no. I want to
tell you that Nancy has impressed me so
much on this point that the other day in Iceland, even though it didn't
have to do with drugs, I just said no. [Laughter]
it's wonderful to be here in Wisconsin and really good to be
back on the campaign trail. It almost feels like 1980 all over again. You know,
as I said to my staff when we were taking off on Air Force One, it's great to
be out of Washington and back where the real
people are. Now, you know, with your excellent Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner
here and with the Senator here, I'm not going to say anything about the
institution of the Congress of the United States; but there are some
changes that are needed there. And with regard to some of the people there,
some of them remind me of the three fellows that came out of a building one day
and found they'd locked themselves out of the car. And one of them said, ``Will
you get me a wire coathanger? I can straighten it
out. I can fix it. I can get in and lift the handle.'' And the second one said,
``You can't do that. They'd think we're stealing the
car.'' And the third one said, ``Well, we better do something pretty quick,
because it's starting to rain and the top's down.'' [Laughter]
it's great to be here with so many old friends: Wisconsin's excellent
Congressman, James Sensenbrenner, and Governor Tommy Thompson. You know, having
been a Governor myself for 8 years, I think I recognize good Governor material when I see it, and believe me, Tommy Thompson is
the best. I became Governor of California after a liberal, free-spending,
high-taxing administration like Tony Earl's. I made tough choices and hard
decisions, and I know that Tommy Thompson will do the same here in Wisconsin. We've turned the
country around, and now it's time to bring the revolution home to Wisconsin and elect Tommy
Thompson as your next Governor.
if Tommy is tomorrow's star, today's star is Bob Kasten.
Bob is a man of proven ability, one of the key players in Washington and a tough, effective
fighter for Wisconsin -- just one of the best
darn Senators in the whole United States Senate. Now, believe me, we need Bob Kasten in the U.S. Senate to keep America on the track of growth,
prosperity, and freedom. It's no secret there are still some folks in
Washington who want to put America full speed in reverse, back to the days when
big government, taxes, and inflation were destroying our economy, and military
weakness made America a punching bag for fanatics and dictators around the
world. America used to wear a ``Kick
Me'' sign around the neck. Now, we threw that sign away, and it reads, ``Don't
Tread on Me.''
as Bob said when he was up here, it's important to remember those days 5\1/2\
years ago, because the tax-and-spend crowd is still lurking in the shadows,
just waiting for a second chance. The liberal leadership of the Democratic
Party hasn't changed. They're just itching to raise your taxes and rev up that
inflationary money machine. The Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, spoke for
them all last year when he said, and I quote: ``Should the American people pay
through the nose by taxation? The answer is yes.'' Well, come November, the
American people will be going to the polls and saying, loud and clear: ``Sorry,
Tip, the answer is no.''
I signed a piece of historic legislation to overhaul our country's tax code,
making it fairer and simpler and cutting taxes for almost every individual
taxpayer. But wouldn't you know it, even before the bill reached my desk, the
liberal Democrat leadership came out and said they wanted to raise your taxes
and to turn tax reform into a tax hike. Well, Bob was one of the first Senators
pushing for fairer and lower taxes, and he agrees with me that raising tax
rates now would be an intolerable breach of faith with the American people. And
that's why I've asked every candidate for national office to sign a pledge not
to raise the rates on tax reform, to keep them low and fair. But I think you
should know Bob Kasten signed up right away, but so
far his opponent has refused to sign. I think that tells the whole story right
truth is, the liberal Democratic leaders never met a
tax they didn't like. [Laughter] And when it comes to spending your hard-earned
money, those liberals act like they've got your credit card in their pocket;
and believe me, they never leave home without it.
[Laughter] Well, you're the people who pay the taxes, and you know that we
don't have a deficit because we're taxed too little. We have a deficit because
Congress spends too much. It's about time that Congress cut the Federal budget
and left the family budget alone. But, you know, sometimes I don't think the
liberal Democrats will ever change their thinking. But then, as I've always
said, you don't have to make them see the light, just make them feel the heat.
[Laughter] So, let's make them feel the heat on this election
you know, even the liberals who've bottled up our tough anticrime bills for
years have begun to climb aboard our campaign to rid America of the scourge of
drugs. We have much more to do in this area. We'll need to back up the new drug
legislation with strict enforcement, perhaps even stiffer penalties, and the
kind of no-nonsense judges that we will put on the bench unless we're denied
that chance by a Democratic Senate. We need the Republican Senate. We need Bob Kasten.
there's another issue that Bob and I feel strongly about, and I bet you do,
too: that's keeping America strong and proud and
peaceful and free. As you know, I just recently returned from my meeting with
Mr. Gorbachev in Iceland. That meeting was a
breakthrough in our discussions with the Soviets. We're no longer talking about
arms control; we're talking about arms reductions, possibly even the complete
elimination of ballistic missiles from the face of the Earth. Now, that's an
historic turnaround for the Soviets, and it wouldn't have been possible without
the firm support of you, the American people, whose hard work and support have
enabled us to rebuild our military might. The American people know that the
only way to negotiate for peace is from a position of strength. We're closer to
real arms reductions than ever before, and it's because America today is once again
strong and united.
one major obstacle remained in Iceland. Unfortunately, Mr.
Gorbachev decided to make all our progress hostage to
his demand that we kill our Strategic Defense Initiative. I had to remind him
of my pledge to the American people on SDI and that in America when you give your
word, you keep your word, and that stands up no matter what the time or place.
SDI is our insurance policy to protect us from accidents or some madman or some
other country that develops ballistic missiles, or in case of the Soviets who
don't keep their side of the bargain. No responsible President could rely on
Soviet promises for his country's safety. The record on their treaty violations
is clear. We can either bet on American technology to keep us safe or on Soviet
promises, and each has its own track record. I'll bet
on American technology any day.
thing that's come out of all this discussion, now, since that trip, about SDI
is that a great many Americans, I don't think, quite understood what we were
talking about with those initials. SDI, Strategic Defense Initiative, is a
purely defensive and purely peaceful technology. If the Soviets honestly want
progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons, they have nothing to fear from
SDI. Soviets are hard bargainers. We must even be more patient and determined
and united. We must speak with one voice, saying, loud and clear, we'll walk
the extra mile for peace, but we'll never gamble with America's safety. So, I want to
ask you a question. I'll bet I know the answer. Can I count on your support to
keep America strong and united and
on the road to peace?
The President. I was sure you'd say
that. [Laughter] You know, if I could interject
something here: There's nothing that I am prouder of than the young men and
women who make up the Armed Forces of the United States. They're some of the
most splendid young people this nation has ever produced. And let me say this:
If we must ever ask them to put their lives on the line for the United States
of America, they deserve the finest weapons and equipment that money can buy;
and I'm going to do my best, and so is Bob, and so is Congressman Sensenbrenner
here, to see that they get that kind of equipment. And it's because of the quality
of the men and women in our Armed Forces and the quality of the weapons they
carry in defense of this country today that every nickel-and-dime dictator the
world over knows that if he tangles with the United States of
America he will have a price to pay.
we're once again united in hope and strong in purpose. We have, as Bob told
you, squashed inflation. We've cut the prime interest rate by two-thirds. We're
keeping the doors of the opportunity society wide open by cutting tax rates
further and spurring on the economic expansion that has already created almost
11.7 million new jobs. This year more Americans are working than ever before,
and the proportion of working-age people employed is the highest in the history
of the United States. Now, I didn't know it
until I got buried in the bureaucracy up there that what is considered to be
the potential employment pool in the United States is every human being,
16 years of age, male or female, and up. And today -- highest level as I say --
61.3 percent of the people in that group are employed in the United States. That's the highest in
just know that a State whose motto is ``Forward'' and whose official song is
``On Wisconsin'' is going to want a fighter and a man with bold vision for the
future and the talent, imagination, and willpower to take us there. I just know
that Wisconsin is going to send Bob Kasten back to the United States Senate. I don't think Wisconsin wants a Senator like
Bob's opponent who belongs to the tax-and-spend liberal wing of the Democratic
The President. He's offering nothing
positive in his campaign, and I'm just proud that Bob is going forward with his
record of achievement. You know, very few freshman Senators have made the mark Bob
Kasten has -- a pioneer in tax reform and one of the
leaders in putting America back on track to
strength abroad and prosperity at home. In the Senate and in the White House,
Bob Kasten's opinions count. He's earned the respect
and admiration of his colleagues, and he's earned Wisconsin's vote. And we need him
to stay right where he is: in the Senate.
you know, we're talking about more than just one man. His election could well
decide whether we keep control of the Senate or lose it to the liberal
leadership of the Democratic Party. And that's the difference between 2 more
years of progress and 2 more years of paralysis. I didn't seek reelection to be
a 6-year President. There are too many exciting challenges still before us, too
much business that still must be completed. I cannot, and I will not, have my
hands tied by a Congress that is totally hostile to all that we're trying to
do. You know, my name will never be on the ballot again --? --
Audience. Four more years! Four more years! Four more
The President. Thank you. I hope you
mean you hope I'll live 4 more years. [Laughter] The Constitution speaks to the
other. But if you want to vote for me, vote for Bob Kasten,
so that we can have a Republican Senate that will work with me instead of
against me and be around after I'm gone. And I'm not just asking that for me.
Do it for yourself. Do it for Wisconsin. Do it for America.
maybe you've noticed that I've been careful to refer to the liberal leadership
of the Democratic Party. That's because I believe that the liberals who have
taken control of that once-great party don't represent the vast majority of
hard-working, patriotic Democrats found throughout America. I would have to feel
that there were probably some here in this audience today. Maybe some are
ex-Democrats, also, like I am. Maybe some still haven't switched. But I know
how tough it can be to break with tradition. But I remember what Winston
Churchill once said when he was in the Parliament of England and changed parties.
And when he was criticized for it he said ``Some men
change principle for party, and some men change party for principle.''
I'm asking the people of Wisconsin is to remember that the
Senator you elect will determine the future, your future, America's future. So, before I
go, let me just conduct an informal poll. [Laughter] Do you want to go back to
the days of big spending, high taxes, and runaway inflation?
The President. Do you want a weak and
The President. That's good to hear.
[Laughter] Would you rather have low taxes, low inflation, and low interest
The President. Would you rather have
an America that is strong and
proud and free?
The President. Do you want Bob Kasten as your Senator for the great State of Wisconsin?
The President. Do you want Tommy
Thompson as your Governor?
The President. You just made my day.
I'm so pleased to be able to talk with so many young people that I can see who
are here today. I just want to finish by saying you're what it's all about. You
know, back at the beginning of World War II, General George Marshall, the Army
Chief of Staff, was asked if the United States had a secret weapon as
we went into that war, and what was it? George Marshall said, ``Just the best blankety-blank'' -- well, just the best
darn kids in the world. Now, he didn't say ``darn'' exactly, but Presidents
aren't allowed to talk like generals. [Laughter] Well, I've been seeing your
generation all over the country in rallies like this one, and I know that if
George Marshall were here today, he'd still say, ``We've got the best blankety-blank kids in the world.''
when it comes election --?
The President. Thank you. I love you.
So, when it comes to election time, I hope you'll remember how important that
your vote is, because it's your future that's being voted in this election, America's future. And I just
want to tell you one thing, though, that -- a reminder here. Now, I know that
none of you are guilty or you wouldn't be here. We find out from all the
polling that in the age group from 18 to 24 that's where our party stands with
the strongest support -- the most. But that happens to be the voting group that
has the smallest percentage of going to the polls and voting. So, when you go
home and when you talk to your friends -- if they're 18 or over -- tell them
they've got to get there. Go the polls on election day.
you're there, win one for Bob Kasten and Tommy
Thompson, Jim Sensenbrenner, and win one for Wisconsin's all-star
congressional team. Win one for your future, and win one for America. And, again, on that
voting and the necessity of it, let me just tell you -- Will Rogers, not known
to many of you young people, a great humorist in our country, once said that
the people you elect and send to public office are no better and no worse than
the people who send them there, but he said they're all better than those who
don't vote at all. Go to the polls!
you. God bless you all.
The President spoke at at the WaukeshaCountyExpoCenter. Following his remarks
at the rally, the President attended a reception for major donors to Senator Kasten's reelection campaign at the center. He then
traveled to Springfield, MO.