Remarks at the Annual Senate Republican Dinner
you very much. [Applause] You don't know how heartwarming that is to just come
it was so good to have with us tonight Howard and Joy Baker [Former Senate
majority leader and Mrs. Baker]. I think they had to depart early to catch
either a train or a plane; I didn't quite get which one it was going to be. But
this is one of those occasions when it is easy, as Bob hinted, to get a little
misty. We've been a team -- men and women who've shared a vision and who've
developed bonds of friendship while working to turn our goals for
Tonight we honor, in particular, Senators Laxalt, Goldwater, and Mathias and all those who will not be returning for the battles in the years ahead. Paul Laxalt, as is no secret, has been close to me these last 6 years and long before that. I've managed to stay his friend even if it meant having to eat those special dishes at his Basque barbecues -- [laughter] -- some of you'll have to explain to others. Paul, Nancy and I are grateful for all you've meant to us, and we'll miss you and Carol.
Senator Goldwater, who is not able to be with us this evening, has been our inspiration, indeed, the conscience of Conservatives. And 6 years ago at this very dinner, I saluted Barry, saying then what remains true today: His principal stand in 1964, the ideals he expressed, the courage he displayed, captured our imaginations. He was a pathfinder, a point man, and in these last 6 years his guidance and grit and wisdom has strengthened our resolve and kept us going.
then, there's Senator Mathias, who also couldn't be with us this evening. Mac
is the kind of individual who's made
of us in the class of 1980 came here 6 years ago, dedicated to strengthening
our country's economy, rebuilding our defenses, and restoring our confidence.
To those of you who will leave the Senate next year, we can be proud of what
we've accomplished, individually and collectively. Mark Andrews has stood by
and fought for the farmer through difficult times. And thanks to the efforts of
Jim Abdnor, this week I was able to sign a landmark
water resources bill into law which will benefit Americans of present and
future generations. Jim Broyhill has had a long and
dedicated career in Congress. A keen parliamentarian -- he brought the
leadership in the area of energy and commerce. Jerry Denton, an American hero,
is a hero still. In the Senate he fought against terrorism and held up
traditional family values. Slade Gorton played a key role as a member of the
Budget Committee and helped to give us a stronger
of us came to
Yes, the election results in the Senate may make our task more difficult. Many of you'll be playing new roles in the struggle to direct the course of our country's future. But let us not forget -- I'm going to change that around. I was raised in an era in which -- the first major employer I had said you should never use a negative. Let's say, let us remember that the underlying long-term message of the election was positive. Governorships were won that will redirect State government and grassroots politics throughout our country.
The Senate vote itself, contrary to what our opponents have been saying, reflected a continued evolution in our direction. With a change of 29,000 votes, control of the Senate would still be in our hands, and this in the face of historical trends that work against the party in power. There's ample reason for optimism. At every rally across our country young people in great numbers could be seen and heard. Their youthful idealism, their energy, their zest for life made those rallies joyous occasions, especially for someone who used to cause a hostile riot just by showing up on a campus -- a certain Governor I remember.
remember back in the days when, well, when I'd first become a Republican,
because I was in the other party. Then, as the Bible says, I put aside childish
things. [Laughter] When I was new as a Republican and I would go and appear at
a fundraiser or something for the party and I would come home to
all changed now. They've responded to our message of opportunity, as I say,
growth, and strength. And they don't want to be told to lower their
expectations. They don't want to give their lives over to central planners in
a word, the challenge now before us is simply this: to complete the revolution
that we have so well begun. Of course, I'll be talking about this in detail in
the days to come. But you know of our commitments to the American people on the
balanced budget amendment and the line-item veto. You know the importance of
keeping tax rates low and spending under control and of appointing Federal judges who will interpret law, not make it. And, yes, you
know of the freedom fighters around the world who need our help and with whom
we're determined to stand. In these last 6 years we have left the days of
retreat and apology behind. We've again made
In tackling our agenda, I want to assure you of one important thing: Now, more than ever, we'll need to depend on one another to achieve our goals for this country. No, I've never served on a legislature before, that's true, but after 6 years down the avenue here, I think I understand your problems pretty well. And I know that your problems are my problems, too. We're one team. We've got to stick together, even more effectively in the Congress to come. So, in the years ahead, no matter where we are, we can be proud that we were members of the class of 1980 and that, together, we changed history.
God bless all of you. You'll always have a place in my heart. Thank you.
Note: The President spoke at in the Great Hall at the Library of Congress.