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Sen. Ted Cruz: Turning America Around

Posted By Frontpagemag.com On December 6, 2013 @ 12:43 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 20 Comments

Editor’s note: Below is the video and transcript of Sen. Ted Cruz’s keynote speech at the Freedom Center’s 2013 Restoration Weekend. Restoration Weekend took place November 14th-17th at The Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Senator Ted Cruz from DHFC on Vimeo.

Ted Cruz: Thank you. Wow. What a tremendous introduction. What a tremendous comparison to the Last Lion, Winston Churchill.

You know, I have to note — I can think of at least one person on the face of the earth who, in a tiny, tiny, tiny aspect, would agree with that comparison. And that is President Obama.

(Laughter)

Because he would, I think pretty assuredly, like to send my head back to England.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Let me say a word about David Horowitz. David is profoundly principled. And he commits one very simple act that has incredible power over and over again. He tells the truth. Telling the truth is so rare in our modern world that it seems utterly bizarre. And yet, the truth has a powerful, powerful impact. And David is fearless. Utterly fearless.

You know, in Texas, we’re proud of a lot of Texans. The one Texan we’re particularly proud of is Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris is a tough guy.

You know, a lot of kids across this country wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

(Laughter)

And Chuck Norris wears David Horowitz pajamas.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Now, the night is getting late. So I’m going to make a promise to you. I’m going to try my very, very best to speak for under 21 hours.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

But you will know that I’m nearing the end if and when I begin to read “The Cat in the Hat.”

(Laughter)

Twenty-one hours is a long time. I mean, it’s really a long time. That’s almost as long as it takes to sign up on the Obamacare website.

(Laughter)

You know, I haven’t talked about Forest Gump. I think President Obama has discovered Obamacare is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to find.

(Laughter)

All of us are here tonight because we love this country. We’re here tonight because we love our kids, we love our grandkids. And we’re worried about the future. And one of the great things of being a parent is that kids, I think, have a unique ability to instill humility, frankly, whether you want it or not.

Couple of weeks ago, Heidi and our girls — we have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine. Caroline’s five, Catherine’s two. Just turned three. They were up in DC. And it was a Sunday afternoon, we were driving down to Mount Vernon. And we’re driving down there, and Caroline asks her little sister, Catherine, she says — Catherine, what do you want to do when you grow up? And Catherine says — I want to work in the US Senate.

(Laughter)

I want to work with Daddy. And Caroline says — oh Catherine, that’s boring.

(Laughter)

We’re going to be in a rock band. And then she throws in the zinger. She says — besides, Daddy will be dead by then.

(Laughter)

This is a true conversation. I’m sitting there, driving, going — hello, I’m right here.

(Laughter)

Frankly, I kind of wondered if maybe Caroline had been speaking with Republican leadership.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

If maybe she knew something I didn’t know.

These are times of big challenges in this country. And yet, I want to come with a word of encouragement. I’m incredibly optimistic for turning this country around. And I want to tell you three things that we need to do together to turn this country around.

Number one — champion growth and opportunity. Number two, defend American interests. And number three, empower the people.

Let’s start with the first one. You know, in the last four years, our economy has grown 0.9 percent a year on average. 0.9 percent. I can tell you, in the less than a year I’ve served in the Senate, every day my top priority has been bringing back economic growth, bringing back jobs. The reason is simple — because growth is foundational to every other challenge.

You want to turn around unemployment? You want to turn around our national debt? You want to maintain the strongest military in the world to protect our national security? You got to have growth.

You know, there’s only one other four-year period since World War II of less than one percent growth on average — 1979 to 1982. Coming out of the Jimmy Carter Administration, it was the same failed economic policies — out-of-control taxes, spending, and regulation. But it doesn’t work. Produced the exact same stagnation.

Now, President Obama is fond of saying that he inherited the worst economy in the history of the universe. Anyone here remember the 1970s?

(Laughter)

Double-digit unemployment, 22 percent interest rate, stagflation, gas lines? And yet, in 1981, a very different President came into office.

(Applause)

Ronald Reagan came into office and implemented policies the exact opposite of Barack Obama’s. Instead of jacking up taxes by $1.7 trillion, Reagan cut taxes and dramatically simplified the tax code. Instead of exploding national spending and the debt, Regan restrained the growth of spending. And instead of unleashing regulators like locusts to destroy small businesses, Reagan pulled back federal regulation. The result was some of the most incredible economic growth this country has ever seen.

By the fourth year of Reagan’s presidency, 1984 — anyone know what GDP growth was? 7.2 percent. 7.2. Now, what does that mean? What does that mean in a real sense? One point David makes all the time — Republicans, we talk like a bunch of accountants. We put on green eyeshades. I’ll tell you, a friend of mine who’s an accountant said — how do you tell an extroverted accountant? He looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you.

(Laughter)

Now, in the interest of all the accountants in the room, I’m obliged to tell a lawyer joke in response, which is that I don’t know if you’ve heard, a number of laboratories across the country have started using lawyers instead of rats in their experiments.

(Laughter)

This is true, this is true, this is true. But really, for two reasons. Number one, the scientists were getting too attached to the rats.

(Laughter)

And number two, there’s some things even rats won’t do.

(Laughter)

What does that growth mean? What does 7.2 percent mean? It means that if Barack Obama coming into office, inheriting the same lousy economy Ronald Reagan inherited, had implemented the same economic policies Reagan implemented, and if the same economic growth had resulted, by today, we would have an additional seven million new jobs. Seven million. That is the equivalent of taking every single person who is unemployed in 46 of the 50 states and finding a new job for every one of them.

That’s transformational. That’s what we need to stand for. How do you get growth back? You do what has worked every time we’ve implemented it. You do tax reform, you do regulatory reform, you unleash entrepreneurs and get the economy growing. It worked in 1980, it worked in 1960, it worked in 1920. We stand for growth.

Fundamental tax reform — you know, every year we spend roughly $500 billion on tax compliance? That’s about the entire budget of our military. Wasted, pure deadweight loss. Lawyers and accountants filling out government paperwork. We need to dramatically simplify the tax code. I think the best solution of all — we should abolish the IRS.

(Applause)

You look at regulatory reform. The most important regulatory reform we could do is to repeal every single word of Obamacare.

(Applause)

And let me make a point about Obamacare. Boy, it is amazing how things can change in a couple of weeks.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Three, four weeks ago, in DC, people asked over and over again — why are you guys fighting so hard on this? Today, nobody asks that.

You know, a couple of weeks ago, Jay Leno came out on his show. He said — so, President Obama called me. He said — Jay, if you like your job, you can keep it.

(Laughter)

Last week on Leno, Leno came out and said — so, holiday season is coming up. Thanksgiving. You know, the first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims said to the Indians — if you like your land, you can keep it.

(Laughter)

What a powerful indication, a barometer of where this country is. Look, Obamacare is a disaster.

(Applause)

It is the biggest job-killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, millions of people have been forced into part-time work. Over five million people have already had their health insurance canceled.

Now, this compassionate President says — well, your health insurance was substandard. So now you don’t get any.

(Applause)

Thanks a lot!

And you know, the shoes will keep falling. One of the next steps that more and more people are going to discover is you can’t see the doctor that you’ve been seeing. We’re seeing hospital chains all over this country — Texas Oncology, one of the leading cancer providers in Texas, has just said it’s out. It’s not dealing with Obamacare at all. Visit with a cancer survivor whose doctor they suddenly can’t go to anymore.

One of the next steps we’re going to see this spring, since nobody is signing up for this thing — it was actually funny, “Saturday Night Live,” when they made fun of this, they made a joke saying — we designed the website for six people to sign up.

(Laughter)

And then we discovered, on the first day, six people signed up.

(Laughter)

We talk about life imitating comedy. This spring, we’re going to see premiums skyrocket. Skyrocket, as people are going to get — they’ve already been hit with higher premiums. But more is coming. And in the next stage, you’re going to see the 90 million-plus people that have employer-provided healthcare getting their healthcare dumped and getting them pushed on the exchange.

This thing isn’t working. And we know now that the President said — 28 times at least, he committed a flat-out deliberate willful falsehood. Now, if you read the New York Times — well, that’s your first mistake.

(Laughter)

But the New York Times Editorial Board said he misspoke.

(Laughter)

You know, there are times when you don’t need to ridicule the Left. They engage in self-parody. Which part of “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it, period” — that’s not misspeaking. That’s not being less than clear. That is perfectly clear, and entirely false.

We need to champion growth. And I’ll tell you the biggest reason we need to champion growth. Because growth is foundational to opportunity. The single biggest lie in politics is the lie that Republicans are the party of the rich. Complete and utter nonsense.

You know what? The rich do great with big government. Big business does great with big government. They get in bed with big government, they have armies of lobbyists and accountants and lawyers.

(Applause)

You know, the top one percent, the millions and billionaires that President Obama demagogues all the time — top one percent today earn a higher share of our national income than at any time since 1928. And everything worked out real well after ’28.

(Laughter)

Who are the biggest losers under the Obama economy? Mainstream media will never tell you this. The biggest losers are the people who are struggling the most. They are the most vulnerable among us. They are young people, Hispanic, African Americans, single moms. Why is that? Because they’re the ones who are losing their jobs. They’re the ones who are pushed into part-time work. They’re the ones who are losing their health insurance.

Opportunity — for a long, long time, I’ve advocated what I call opportunity conservatism. That every policy we think about, we talk about, should focus like a laser on opportunity, on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder, on how it impacts those who are struggling to achieve the American dream.

What the men and women in this room understand is the free-market system in the United States of America has been the greatest engine for prosperity and opportunity the world has ever seen. Why is it that millions have come from all over the world to America? Because there has been no land in the history of the world where so many people could start with nothing — and it doesn’t depend on who your daddy was, doesn’t depend on what you born with — but start with nothing and, based on your talent and perseverance, and the content of your character, achieve anything.

(Applause)

The most tragic casualty of these failed Obama economic policies is the American dream. The American dream is becoming a more and more distant reality every day for people who are struggling.

If you’re a single mom working a job who suddenly had your hours reduced to 29 hours a week, you can’t feed your kids on 29 hours a week. So what do you do? You get another job at 29 hours a week. Now you got two jobs at once, with two bosses at once, both of whom want you to work on Tuesday. And you’re driving from one to the other. You still don’t have healthcare. But now you have two jobs, and you see your kids even less.

Those are the real people who are hurting. We need to be all about opportunity, all about creating an environment where people can achieve the American dream. That’s the first thing.

The second thing we need to do is we need to defend American interests. Let me say something to each of you who are here, who are supporting the Horowitz Freedom Center. David and the men and women here speak out about defending our nation at a time when that is sadly uncommon. We are facing a global war, not initiated by us, but launched by radical Islamic terrorists across the globe.

(Applause)

And we have a President of the United States who seemingly cannot utter the words “radical Islamic terrorists.” You can’t fight something if you won’t even acknowledge what it is. You know, my history book may be wrong. But I don’t recall on September 11th that it was 21 ticked-off boy scouts on those planes.

In Texas, you look at the 14 innocent souls that were murdered at Fort Hood by Major Hasan, and this administration calls that workplace violence. That wasn’t workplace violence. That was a radical act of terrorism. And I have to say the single greatest threat to US national security right now is the threat of a nuclear Iran.

You know, we just saw –

(Applause)

– in the past couple of weeks, John Kerry, on behalf of the President, attempt to negotiate a deal with Iran. That was a spectacularly horrible deal. It was — let’s call off the sanctions in exchange for what? Don’t dismantle even a single centrifuge. Don’t turn over even a pound of enriched uranium. But just give us a promise that maybe, kind of sort of, you’ll slow down and not sort of do the nuclear weapons tomorrow, maybe.

I don’t know how many of y’all saw the video statement that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, put out. It was extraordinary. And if you haven’t watched it — it’s one thing to read it; watch it — it was incredible as he looked in the camera and said — this is a very, very bad deal.

Now, there are a lot of men and women in this room who have followed US-Israeli relationships very closely for a long time. It is extraordinary. It is almost without precedent for an Israeli prime minister to so explicitly, so directly call out US foreign policy. And it illustrates how spectacularly dangerous what was about to happen was. But he felt he had no choice but to speak up.

You know, if there’s one principle true from time immemorial, it’s that bullies and tyrants don’t respect weakness. Appeasement doesn’t work. A responsible President of the United States would stand up and say on the world stage — under no circumstances will the nation of Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capacity.

(Applause)

And we will use every available tool to prevent it from happening, including overwhelming military force.

(Applause)

Now, the reason is simple. The risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capacity is utterly unacceptable. Because if they acquire it, no reasonable person would be willing to risk that they will use those weapons against the United States or against our allies, like the nation Israel.

You know, a lot has been written about President Rouhani, the moderate. Well, he uses Twitter, so he’s got to be okay.

(Laughter)

Mean, what utter nonsense. He’s described Israel as a wound. And his response was — well, I was taken out of context.

(Laughter)

Okay, what was the context? Give the context that explains that.

One of the leading generals of the Iranian Guard — his last will and testament said that he wanted on his tombstone the words “This man sought the annihilation of Israel.” Well, God has a sense of humor. So he was assassinated, many expect, perhaps by the Mossad.

(Applause)

Here’s a simple bit of advice — if somebody tells you they want to kill you, believe them.

(Applause)

When Iran refers to Israel as “the little Satan” and the United States as “the great Satan,” those are not terms of endearment.

(Laughter)

You know, one illustration of that, that ought to be spoken of much, much more, is the tragic circumstance of Pastor Saeed Abedini. I suspect most of you all are very familiar with Pastor Saeed’s situation. Was born in Iran, but he’s an American from Idaho. Went back to Iran to start an orphanage. And he was sentenced to eight years prison time for preaching his faith.

So many of us take for granted the incredible constitutional liberties we have here in the United States to worship God with all of our heart mind and soul. He went sent to prison for doing that. First to the Evan Prison, a terrible, terrible place. And then, just over a week ago, he was transferred from the Evan Prison to the Rajai Shahr Prison, the infamous prison where they keep their death row, they keep the worst of the worst; and they send people to be tortured and disappeared.

The day he was transferred happened to be the 34th anniversary of the Iranian taking of American hostages. What they call Death to America Day. Mind you, this is by the moderate President Rouhani.

Everyone here realizes these are perilous times. I think the safety and security of Israel has never been more in jeopardy than it is right now.

I’ll tell you, when the issue of the US-Israel alliance comes up — and in my view, US support for Israel should be absolute and unshakable.

(Applause)

But when our alliance comes up, many characterize the $3 billion in military aid we provide as foreign aid. I think that completely mischaracterizes the relationship. It is fundamentally a strategic partnership. A strategic partnership that yields immense national security benefits for the United States of America.

(Applause)

And there is right now a powerful illustration of that. Sadly, I think the mullahs in Iran have little to no reason to fear military reaction from the United States for continuing to develop and acquire a nuclear weapon. And as much as that may dismay every one of us, there is one Commander in Chief, and only one person who has the authority to order our military forces into combat.

And I will tell you, when I travel Texas, a point I make all the time that gives great comfort is if Iran gets too close to acquiring nuclear weapons capacity, I have deep confidence that Israel will act.

(Applause)

And what an incredible, incredible benefit to US national security interests for Israel to act to take out Iran’s nuclear weapon capacity.

(Applause)

Now, let’s be clear — Israel shouldn’t have to act; the United States should take care of its own problems. But I will underscore to the men and women in this room — the urgency is growing greater by the day. I think we could see a military attack within weeks or months. If that happens, the international pressure on Israel will be deafening. And I worry greatly about the response of this administration. And it will be incumbent on the men and women in this room and the men and women across this country to make clear that the United States stands with Israel. And we stand together, protecting our national security.

(Applause)

The third thing we need to do is empower the American people. If you remember nothing I said tonight, then you probably had too many glasses of wine.

(Laughter)

If you remember just one thing I said tonight, let it be this — that I am profoundly, profoundly optimistic about where we are, and that together we’re going to turn this country around.

You know, Harrison’s talk about the space program, and John F. Kennedy’s commitment that let us commit together we’re going to send a man to the moon, inspired me. And let me say, collectively, let us commit together today that we should send Congress to the moon.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

And the best thing is, we only need to worry about one-way travel.

(Laughter)

The answers to this country are not going to come from Washington. But the reason I am so excited is that we are seeing a new paradigm in politics. We are seeing the rise of the grass roots.

The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us there’s nothing new under the sun. And I think where we are right now is very, very much like the late 1970s. We had dismal economic conditions caused by failed presidential politics. You had a President in the late 1970s telling people to accept malaise. We had a President wringing his hands in impotence as our hostages languished in Iran for 444 days.

And yet, we saw in the late 1970s a movement, a grassroots movement, sweep this country — the Reagan Revolution — millions of men and women. A lot of the men and women in this room who bear the scars of that fight, who stood up and said there is a better way. We can get back to the free-market principles, the constitutional principles, that are the foundations of this country.

You know, if you look at the big fights we’ve had this year, you look back to the fight we had on guns — following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama, instead of saying let’s go after violent criminals — and I think we ought to come down like a ton of bricks on violent criminals — but instead, he said — let’s go after the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

And Washington, the political class, said this is unstoppable. And what happened? The American people rose up in overwhelming numbers and said — no. Protect our rights.

(Applause)

You look at what happened on immigration, where the President came out and said he supported a plan that doesn’t secure our borders and yet grants amnesty. And Washington said — this is unstoppable, you got to do it. It cannot be stopped. And you know what? The American people rose up in overwhelming numbers and said — we want our borders secured, and we don’t want amnesty.

(Applause)

And then you look at the fight over Obamacare. The fight over Obamacare, when it started months and months and months ago, it was clear that Washington had no interest in doing anything to stop Obamacare. And we saw, all across this country — we saw over two million people across this country sign a national petition at dontfundit.com and melt down the phone lines — calling and saying stand up and stop this train wreck of a law. What an incredible, breathtaking demonstration of the American people.

And we saw the House of Representatives stand up and stand strong and say — we’re going to fund the federal government and not fund Obamacare. Washington was shocked! Just a couple of months ago, they said it was impossible that would happen. And you know what? The House, people like Louie and Trent, stood strong and listened to the American people.

(Applause)

That new paradigm, the rise of the grass roots, terrifies Washington. Terrifies them out of their minds.

You know, the single biggest complaint that my colleagues raised during the whole fight? They’d pound the table and say — my constituents keep calling me!

(Laughter)

I kind of thought we worked for them. That’s changing the rules of Washington.

You know, one of the powerful things with Obamacare is telling human stories. We’ve launched a national website — makedclisten.org. Makedclisten.org. It’s a portal where people can go and upload their stories about Obamacare, how it’s impacted their lives, their jobs, their healthcare. You can record on an iPhone your own video. And we’re trying to help tell those stories in a very real sense.

Let me just close. It’s always dangerous to pause after that phrase.

(Laughter)

The terror you have at any remarks is when you say “in conclusion,” and rapturous applause bursts out.

(Laughter)

But let me just close by observing that what I’m fighting for, what you’re fighting for, what all of us are fighting for, is the same thing. Freedom is not something we read about in a book. It’s something we’ve experienced in our lives. It’s part of who we are.

You know, I think of my mother, Irish and Italian. Her mother was the second youngest of 17 kids. They were Irish Catholic. They didn’t know what else to do on a Saturday night.

(Laughter)

My mom became the first in her family to go to college. Got a degree in math from Rice University in 1956. Went to work at Shell as a computer programmer in the 1950s, the dawn of the computer age. My mom used to tell me all the time when I was a kid — she very deliberately didn’t learn how to type. She said — listen, it was the 1950s. I understood the world I was living in. She said — I’d be walking down the hall, and men would stop me. And they’d say — sweetheart, would you type this for me?

(Laughter)

And my mother wanted to be able to smile very, very sweetly and say — I would love to help you out, but I don’t know how to type.

(Applause)

I guess you’re going to have to use me as a computer programmer instead.

(Laughter)

And then, my dad — many of y’all have gotten to know my father.

(Applause)

As you know, he is a shy, retiring wallflower.

(Laughter)

One of my favorite reactions, David, was when he was actually on Glenn Beck. And he talked about, in Cuba, they had the Ministry of Disinformation. And he said — you know what? We have that here. It’s called the mainstream media.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Tell you a true story about my father that you’ll appreciate. April 15th, 2009, when the Tea Parties first started, my dad spoke in Dallas. About 20,000 people in downtown Dallas. My father stood up and said — you know, when I was a young man, I saw a young and charismatic leader come to power. And he promised hope and change. My father then described the enormous suffering and misery that Fidel Castro visited upon Cuba.

Now, at the end of those remarks, I posted a portion of it on my Facebook page. And some liberal journalists — although I repeat myself –

(Laughter)

– posted a story about how crazy this was — this was ridiculous to compare Barack Obama to Fidel Castro. And about 1:30 in the morning, I’m reading all of these commentators, all of these lefties, who are just going nuts about how terrible it was. I did something I’d never done before — I signed up online, using my own name, and I said — I’ve just been reading through all of these hysterical comments about my father’s remarks. I want to make one simple point — if you look at what he said, he never once mentioned the words “Barack Obama.”

(Laughter)

Now, what does it say about you that you hear what Fidel Castro did, and you immediately think — that’s got to be Barack Obama?

(Applause)

But I’ll tell you, at every stage, when I think about the challenges we face, I think about them from the perspective of being the child of an immigrant who risked everything to come here. Fifty-five years ago, when my dad fled Cuba, he’d been imprisoned, he’d been tortured. He’d been beaten almost to death. When he landed in Austin, fleeing the Batiste regime, he was 18. He couldn’t speak English, he had $100 sewn into his underwear. Michael, I don’t advise carrying money in your underwear.

(Laughter)

His first job was washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour. Why’d he get that job? Because he couldn’t speak English. You didn’t have to speak English to stick a dish under hot water.

He learned English quickly. His next job was as a cook. Same restaurant, better job, paid a little more. With the money he made washing dishes and cooking, he paid his way through the University of Texas.

Unidentified Speaker: [Book 'im].

Ted Cruz: Book ‘im.

(Laughter)

From there, he got a job as a teaching assistant, teaching math to undergrads. And then he got hired by IBM as a computer programmer in the early 1960s. And then he went on to start a small business, a seismic data processing company in the oil and gas business, and worked towards the American dream.

Now, you know what? If he doesn’t get that first job washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour, he doesn’t get the second job. Or the third job, or the fourth job. He doesn’t get to start his business. The people who are being hurt — if my father were washing dishes today, he’d been one of the people that maybe is laid off because of Obamacare. He’d be one of the people forced into part-time work because of Obamacare. He’d be one of the people losing his health insurance because of Obamacare.

And as much as my dad is my hero, what I find most incredible — every person in this room could walk up here right now and tell a story just like that.

(Applause)

The most fundamental DNA of what it means to be an American is we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom. That’s what we are fighting for.

And I got to say, the window is short. We don’t have decades to turn this country around; we have a window right now. And the way we do it is the same way we did it in the 1970s — we energize and empower the American people to get back to free-market principles, get back to the Constitution, to get back together to that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.

Thank you. And God bless.

(Applause)

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