Here is the text of a speech prepared for delivery to the
Republican National Convention Tuesday by Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas:
Never in history has the world experienced more dramatic changes in a shorter
period of time than during the last four years.
The Berlin Wall has come down; the people of Eastern Europe have been
liberated; the Soviet Union, the evil empire that threatened our lives and our
freedom for 45 years, exists today only in the pages of history books.
One-hundred and thirty-two nations united behind our leadership to stop a
tyrant in the Middle East. And America stands today in triumph with economic and
military power unrivaled in the history of the world.
None of these changes happened by accident. They are all the result of strong
Republican leadership. Two men more than any other people on the planet have
been the catalyst for these changes, and their names are Ronald Reagan and
When you count the number of nations liberated from Soviet tyranny -- when
you total up the population freed from the Marxist yoke -- when you add up all
the puppet despots whose support from Moscow has now been yanked away, ours is
the greatest victory in the history of freedom.
Ronald Reagan sighted the Kremlin in the cross hairs but it was George Bush
who pulled the trigger.
If Jimmy Carter had been re-elected in 1980, if Walter Mondale had won the
presidency in 1984, if Michael Dukakis had been elected in 1988, the Berlin Wall
would still be standing. And all we marvel at in the world today would be a
wishful dream. Leadership is the difference. It has changed the world and it has
brought us more than peace; George Bush's leadership has brought us victory.
With this victory secured, President Bush instituted a long-term build-down
in defense saving $300 billion for deficit reduction and for tax cuts for
But Governor Clinton and the Democrats in Congress don't want to build
defense down, they want to tear it down. If they succeed in implementing the
Clinton plan, one million people now in uniform and in civilian defense jobs
will be thrown into the street and defense spending as a percentage of the
budget will plummet below the level that existed on Dec. 7, 1941.
We have not forgotten that the last Democrat in the White House so decimated
defense that on any given day, 50 percent of our combat planes couldn't fly and
our ships couldn't sail, for lack of spare parts and mechanics. So bad was pay
for the military that many enlisted personnel and their families qualified for
Under Republican leadership, we modernized our weapons and we recruited some
of the finest young men and women who have ever worn the uniform of this
country. They wear that uniform all over the world tonight with a new pride and
a new confidence, and we Republicans are committed to keeping it that way.
We must never allow the Democrats to disarm America again.
There are still tyrants in the world and there will be new tyrants in the
future. When reason and diplomacy fail, we must have an Army, a Navy, an Air
Force, and a Marine Corps that do not fail. Even in a world where the lion and
the lamb are about to lie down together, we Republicans are committed to the
principle that the United States of America must always be the lion.
The Constitution gives the president broad, unilateral powers in defense and
foreign policy. And in watching George Bush exercise those powers, the world has
stood back in wonder. In any hut in any village on the planet, one world leader
is honored and loved above all others. Spoken in a thousand dialects his name is
still George Bush.
When crisis erupted in the Middle East, President Bush united the world
behind his leadership. He won the support of the Soviet Union, a resolution from
the United Nations, and the endorsement of every civilized nation on earth. And
then he came to the Congress and said, let America speak with one bipartisan
voice on the Middle East, and every elected member of the Democratic leadership
in the House and the Senate said, "No."
Ultimately we shamed enough Democrats in Congress into supporting the
president. But the president, using his constitutional powers, could have and
would have acted without the support of Congress.
The Constitution makes the president commander-in-chief of the Army but not
commander-in-chief of the Congress. And all domestic programs proposed by the
president must be approved by Congress. The Democrats who control Congress by
overwhelming margins have used their majority to throttle the president's
program and strangle the nation's economy in a partisan gridlock the likes of
which we have not seen in this century.
By January of 1989, the Reagan-Bush economic program had created 19 million
new jobs. But with the longest peace-time expansion in American history starting
to cool down, President Bush asked Congress for new incentives to ignite the
The President asked Congress:
-- for investment tax credits
-- for a cut in the capital gains tax
-- for enterprise zones
-- for a $5,000 tax credit for first-time home-buyers
-- and for an additional $500-per-child exemption.
Had Congress said yes to these proposals, 1 1/2 million more Americans would
be working today. But the Democrats said no.
To break the back of the deficit before it broke the back of the economy,
George Bush asked Congress:
-- for a spending freeze
-- for the line-item veto
-- and for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Had Congress said yes, the deficit would be falling and mortgage rates would
be 6 percent today. But the Democrats said no.
To stop skyrocketing medical costs from driving working families to ruin,
President Bush asked Congress:
-- to reform health insurance
-- to give the self-employed a health insurance tax deduction
-- to cap Medicare and Medicaid costs
-- and to end the million dollar malpractice suits that drive insurance rates
out of reach.
Had Congress said yes, the cost of health care and health insurance would
have stabilized. But the Democrats said no.
To fight back against the drug thugs who prey on the health, happiness and
lives of our children, 1,161 days ago today, the president sent to the Congress
the nation's toughest anti-crime/anti-drug bill. It restored the death penalty
at the federal level. Under our bill, no matter who your daddy is or how society
has done you wrong, if you sell drugs to a child you are going to jail and you
are going to serve every day of 10 years in the federal penitentiary. And when
you get out, if you do it again, you're going back for life.
Had Congress said yes, we would have grabbed drug thugs by the throat. But
the Democrats said no.
The Democrats still blame society, not criminals, for crime! Not content with
just gutting the president's bill, the Democrats went on to overturn 22 Supreme
Court decisions that had strengthened law enforcement. So bad was their bill
that 15 Democrat state attorneys general, not to mention 16 Republicans, urged
the President to veto the Democrats' "pro-criminal" bill.
America's problem today is not that the president's plan to energize the
economy has failed. Our problem is that it has not been tried. It is not that
the president did not ask for change but that the Democrats who run Congress
killed those changes. Our president asked Congress for the tools to rebuild the
economy and for weapons to win back our streets. And Congress bent them and
broke them and threw them away.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill: Give us the tools and we will finish the
job. Give us a Republican Congress to work with President Bush and we will put
America back to work and put criminals in jail where they belong.
Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing: We both want change. The debate
is not about who is for change; it's about the direction of the change. Today
America stands at the crossroads. It is a time for choosing: their way of more
taxes or our way of more jobs; their way of more government or our way of more
The change Republicans want today is to stop the growth of government, to
control spending, to balance the budget and to cut taxes again. The change
Democrats want is to go back to the tax-and-spend policies they gave us in the
'70s, the last time there was a Democrat in the White House.
Did you notice that at their convention in New York, the Democrats hid their
congressional leaders? Speaker Tom Foley and Majority Leader George Mitchell
were so far back in the crowd you had to press your nose right up to the TV
screen and use a magnifying glass to spot them. It is clear Governor Clinton
wants people to forget that Democrats run Congress so he can blame every problem
on George Bush.
But if you needed a magnifying glass to see the Democrat leaders of Congress,
you needed a microscope to see the details of the economic plan which Governor
Clinton had previously touted before every special-interest group in America.
And the reason is obvious. The change Clinton has promised the special interests
is not the change America wants. It is a plan that only lobbyists, lawyers,
labor bosses and big-city machines could love.
The Clinton plan calls for a new domestic spending spree totaling over $100
billion a year -- the largest increase in American history.
Is that the change we want?
The Clinton plan doubles payroll taxes and increases taxes on small business
and family farms. It is, in fact, the largest tax increase in the nations's
Is that the change we want?
The Clinton plan through new taxes and mandated costs, will eat up one-half
of all business profits. Private investment would collapse and millions of
Americans would loose their jobs.
Is that the change we want?
The Clinton plan repeals congressional spending limits, kills the balanced
budget amendment and sends the deficit up by $100 billion.
Is that the change we want?
The Clinton plan. Add up the spending, add up the taxes, add up the
regulations, add up the deficit.
Is that the change we want?
At the New York convention, Clinton was like a used-car salesman peddling his
vehicle for change -- the wax job was shiny, the hubcaps sparkled, the
upholstery was spotless, the paint was new. But when you look under the hood,
you discover he is hawking a model from the '70s -- a Carter mobile with the
axle broken and the frame bent to the left. It was a lemon for the nation in the
'70s when it sent inflation through the roof and income through the floor, and
it is still a lemon today.
When you look at the fine print, the Clinton plan calls for increases in
domestic spending and taxes greater than those promised by Mondale and Dukakis
combined. The American people rejected Walter Mondale. The American people
rejected Michael Dukakis, and when they understand the Clinton plan they will
reject Bill Clinton too.
After 12 years of Governor Clinton's failed leadership, his home state ranks:
-- 50th in average family income
-- 50th in jobs for young people
-- 50th in environmental policy
-- 50th in law enforcement funding
That is what 12 years of Governor Clinton's plan for change has done for
Arkansas. That sorry record and a little slick rhetoric is the change he offers
Is that the change we want?
Thanks to the leadership of President Bush, freedom has swept the planet and
all over the world people are turning to free enterprise and limited government
to promote economic growth and prosperity. The Democrats must be getting pretty
lonely. In all the world, only in Cuba and North Korea and in the Democratic
Party in America do we still have organized political groups who believe that
the answer to every problem is more government.
The answer is not more government -- it's more opportunity. And the path to
greater opportunity for all our people will be found by controlling federal
spending and letting the people who do the work, pay the taxes and pull the
wagon keep more of what they earn.
Governor Clinton says trust the Congress to "invest" the taxpayers' money. We
say trust the family. We know the Congress and we know the American family and
we know the difference. Bill Clinton and the Democrats do not know the
difference, and that's what this election is all about.
In one very real sense balancing the budget, the hardest thing we must do to
right our economy, is pretty simple. We just have to set the right standard in
spending the taxpayers' money. I know that standard. In 1981, on the day the
Reagan-Bush economic program passed in the House, I was walking down the steps
of the Capitol and a reporter came running up to me and said "Congressman Gramm,
in your 1,350-page budget how did you decide what programs ought to grow and
what programs ought to be cut?"
I said, "I used the Dicky Flatt test." And not being from Mexia, Texas, the
reporter didn't know Dicky Flatt and didn't understand. So I explained it. I
said, "I looked at every program in the federal government. And then I tried to
think of a real, honest-to-God working person in my congressional district. And
I often thought of a printer from Mexia named Dicky Flatt.
"And I thought about Dicky Flatt because he works hard for a living. He is in
business with his wife; his momma; and his brother and brother's wife. They have
a print shop. They sell stationery and school and office supplies. They work
till 7 or 8 o'clock every week night; and they're open on Saturday. And whether
you see Dicky Flatt at the PTA or the Boy Scouts or at his church, try as he may
he never quite gets that blue ink off the end of his fingers."
And I told that reporter, "I looked at each program and I thought about Dicky
Flatt and I asked a simple question: will the benefits to be derived by spending
money on this program be worth taking the money away from Dicky Flatt to pay for
Let me tell you something, there are not a hell-of-a-lot of programs that
will stand up to that test. The Dicky Flatt test is the Republican test and when
Congress starts using that test we are going to lick this deficit problem once
and for all.
Bill Clinton does not know Dicky Flatt.
In saying the answer is more opportunity and not more government, Republicans
have sometimes been accused of having too much faith in the American system and
in American families. It's not just faith we have, it's evidence. That evidence
is found in the life story of thousands in this hall and millions watching at
home on television. Part of my evidence is from my own family.
Neither of my parents went to high school and yet my momma had a dream before
I was born that I was going to college. I fought it. They kept trying to
inoculate me with learning, but it didn't take. I failed 3rd, 7th, and 9th
grades but my momma prodded me all the way through college to a Ph.D in
economics. Mothers' dreams do not die easily in America.
My wife's grandfather came to this country as an indentured laborer to work
in the sugar cane fields in Hawaii. His son, my wife's father, was the first
Asian-American ever to become an officer of a sugar company in the history of
And today Dr. Wendy Lee Gramm, my wife, is chairman of the Commodity Futures
Trading Commission, which oversees the trading of all commodity futures from oil
and gold to pork bellies and yes, cane sugar. That's what freedom and
opportunity are all about. That story is not a testament to a great family. It
is instead a testament to a great country.
America is not a great powerful country because the most brilliant and
talented people in the world came to live here. America is a great and powerful
country because it is here that ordinary people like you and me have had more
opportunity and more freedom than any other people who have ever lived on the
face of the Earth. And with that opportunity and with that freedom, ordinary
people like us have been able to do extraordinary things.
In the middle of the last century, in the midst of a crisis far greater than
any we face today, a delegation of citizens deeply worried about the future
called on President Lincoln at the White House. And Abraham Lincoln told them a
story about a young boy who went hunting with his father in the mountains. As
the boy gazed at the stars that night, a meteor shower frightened him and he
shook his father awake.
And as Lincoln told the story, the father said, "Son, don't look at the
shooting stars -- look at the fixed stars that have guided us in the past and
will guide us in the future."
And so Lincoln told the delegation that if America steered by the fixed stars
of freedom that our founding fathers forged, the future of America would yet be
As we look to the future tonight, let us be guided by the fixed stars of
freedom and opportunity; of family and faith; of values and character. If we
follow the principles that made America great to begin with, we need not fear
America's third century will be our greatest century.