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Callista and I are both just delighted to be back at Restoration Weekend. And I just want to say a couple of brief things to put in context the film you’re about to see. First, I want to urge you to go to americansolutions.com, and look at two speeches I gave in the last week. And I don’t usually say this, but I think these two speeches — the first at the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas Thursday a week ago, and the second at the Republican Governors Association this Thursday — are really designed to lay out the next 10 years, and to explain the context of where I think we are and what we have to do. And they’re the culmination on my part of a process, a journey, that began in August of 1958.
I believe we are the end of the cycle of what I would call rejection conservatism. We rejected [conservatism] with McGovern in 1972, by a landslide. We rejected conservatism in 1980, and Jimmy Carter carried the same number of states as Herbert Hoover. We rejected — I mean, we rejected liberalism. We rejected liberalism in 1984, and Walter Mondale carried one state. We rejected liberalism in 1994, and we elected the first Republican House in 40 years and established a majority which lasted 12 years because we balanced the budget for four straight years, cut taxes for the first time in 16 years, reformed welfare, and modernized the House. And then, in this most recent election, we rejected the Left once again.
But rejection by itself doesn’t work for the very reason David described to you, which is that, as long as the Left survives — in universities, in unions, with trial lawyers, in Hollywood, in the news media, in judgeships, in the bureaucracies — it just continues to get worse. They are more radical today, more arrogant today, more prepared to impose their will on the American people today. And with every decade, it’s grown worse.
And so we have to move from a rejection strategy, which has clearly not worked, to a replacement strategy, in which we methodically and systematically replace the Left and create institutions that are center-right in their values, their operating models and their impact.
There are five areas in which we have to find a way to communicate, so that in each of the five areas we build a 60 to 80 percent majority. The first, which I believe will be our most powerful contrast, is American exceptionalism. And I believe we will win the argument over American exceptionalism by maybe as high as 85 percent or 90 percent by the time we’re done.
The fact that this President went to Europe, was asked about American exceptionalism and could not answer — basically said, Well, we think we’re exceptional, but I’m sure the British think they’re exceptional, and the Greeks think they’re exceptional — a sign he has not got a clue about America — I think draws for us the sharpest possible contrast. And I define that in great detail on the two speeches.
Second, we have to benchmark China, India and Germany. Germany today has the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years, is a high-cost manufacturing system which succeeds in exporting worldwide, and is a case study. And we have to decide that we’re going to reform seven areas — litigation, regulation, taxation, education, health, energy and infrastructure. Because that’s what it will take to compete successfully with China, India and Germany. And if you don’t compete successfully, you will not sustain your national security. It is not possible to be the most powerful country in the world if you’re not the most powerful country in the world.
Third, as I shared with the Republican Governors Thursday, government is s the biggest, most expensive bubble; will be the most bitter in its opposition to change. It is bigger than the 1999 information technology bubble, it is bigger than the 2007 housing bubble, it is bigger than the 2008 Wall Street bubble. And we have to fundamentally shrink the government, redistribute it out of Washington, reestablish citizenship, volunteerism and charities, reestablish local communities.
I reminded all the governors — I don’t just want to get power out of Washington to the state capitol; I want to get power out of the state capitol back home, so people actually have control of their own lives, run their own community; and government once again is a tiny part of who we are.
And let me say about American exceptionalism for a second — because you’ll see how it relates to all of these topics. American exceptionalism starts with the premise that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, which means we are the only country in history that says, you personally are sovereign. You loan power to the state. The state never loans power to you. And that’s why we’re so fundamentally different form the Obama model.
Fourth, as this movie will indicate to you — we must — and Callista came up with a phrase which I think is exactly right — we have to have the courage to tell the truth, and we have to have the courage to act on that truth. And I think that phrase captures everything we need to say about the defeat of radical Islamists.
Fifth, we, the people in this room, the conservative movement — we have to decide that the right to pursue happiness belongs to every single American of every ethnic background in every neighborhood in America. And we have to have the courage to walk into those neighborhoods, convene the meeting, to ask what it is about the culture, what it is about the bureaucracies, what it is about the tax code, what it is about the lack of public safety — what are the factors which are blocking Americans from their God-given right to pursue happiness. And then we have to have the courage to take out those inhibitions to human creativity, so that every American of every background has a true opportunity to pursue happiness.
And the morning that they believe we are serious, we will have created a 70 percent majority that is a center-right majority. Because all of the Latinos, all the Asian-Americans, all the African-Americans and all the Native Americans, who share our values but fear us because they don’t understand us, and we don’t understand them — the morning they decide we care about them, they will care what we know about their lives being better. And that’s the fifth great zone that we have to define and dominate.
To give you a sense of the scale of change, I gave the governors 12 major areas to change. As an opening commentary, I’m going to do a series of webinars that you’ll have access to on the Internet over the next three months. And I gave them 12 areas.
I’m just going to give you one example of scale. And I want you to listen — hear me out before you react negatively. I proposed $134 billion-a-year human resource training program, paid for with state and federal money. Because we spent last year $134 billion on unemployment compensation allowing people to do nothing. And we should change that into a requirement that you be signed up learning a marketable skill if you’re going to get money.
And that will not only be budget-neutral; it will be budget-positive. Because the morning there’s actually a learning requirement, a substantial number of those folks will go to work and decide that this was in fact not the subsidy for them relaxing for 99 weeks that they thought it was.
Finally, politically — within the framework I’ve described to you, our goal has to start in January of 2021. In January 2021, success will be if a center-right majority elects an informed, sophisticated team dedicated to continuing the momentum of the decade, that understands why we’re doing what we’re doing, how we make it work, and how to sustain and grow the majority to be even more stable.
Now working back, that means you have to win a reaffirming election in 2018, a reaffirming election in 2016, a reaffirming election in 2014. In order to be able to do that, you have to win a cataclysmic election in 2012. I believe, if we calmly and methodically outline the five areas I’ve described for you, that we will in fact win a cataclysmic election.
I told Pete Sessions the other day my goal for the NRCC would be a minimum of 40 additional Democratic seats. I think in the Senate, to make up for this year, we should have a target of 12 to 15. I think if you carry the Presidency, 40 House seats, 12 to 15 Senate seats, 200-plus state legislative seats and a handful of governors, you would then enter 2013 with the moral authority and the shear legislative power to fundamentally, for the first time since 1932, replace center-left government with a center-right majority. And you could then be serious about competing.
And frankly, if we get serious about competing, the radical Islamists will pretty rapidly be defeated, the Chinese and the Indians and the Germans will accommodate the reality that for the next century we’ll be the leading country on the planet. We can pay off the Chinese debt and then start loaning them money so that they can modernize to catch up with us.
Callista and I have been engaged in creating the cultural context for this campaign. If you want to understand American exceptionalism, we’ve both done a book with her photos and my text. And we’ve done a movie called “Rediscovering God in America,” which lays it out perfectly. If you want to understand how freedom arises in places that are tyrannies, we did a movie called “Nine Days That Changed the World,” about Pope John Paul II, and the fact that his visit to Poland in 1979 was the decisive break in the Soviet Empire.
We will probably do several more movies next year, and you can imagine how they fit into the model I’m describing to you now. And at the moment, I would just say to you that the film you’re about to see is a perfect example, I think, of how you communicate, in an educational, cultural way, why the fourth topic I described is important, and why we have to have the courage to tell the truth. And we have to be prepared to run the risk of being honest and direct, even though our enemies are at times intimidating and threatening. And I think when you see this film, you’ll see exactly what Callista was introducing, and how it fits into as a building block of this larger system.
Thank you all very, very much.
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