Fred Thompson Election Address Transcript
It’s time for those of us who are concerned about our nation’s future to focus on what is at stake in this year’s elections. This is a time of great challenge for our country. We know that somewhere in the world our worst enemies either have, or are trying to get their hands on, the most dangerous weapons known to man. Small rogue nations are developing nuclear weapons and threaten our allies. Large nations are engaged in massive military buildups.
At home we are girding for the possible onset of a recession. Very soon we will go to the polls and set a path that will determine how we respond to these challenges. It will be a decision that we will make not only for ourselves but very possibly for generations to come. The path we choose will depend upon our vision of America’s role in the world and most importantly our vision of our own people.
Senator Obama and his campaign see an historic opportunity—a political opportunity. They know that in times of fear and uncertainty the promise of a safe haven is well received. But there is no sanctuary in what they offer. [# More #]
Their “haven” is the same old tired refuge of liberalism: the federal government. And the candidate – the least experienced, most liberal in two generations – represents a last gasp at imposing the failed 1960s radical, leftist agenda that could never succeed in normal times.
Let me make it as plain as I know how. If Senator Obama is elected President with a Democrat majority in the House and Senate, this country will make a dramatic shift to the left, such as we have never seen before.
Senator Obama and the Democratic Congress will be unrestrained and unrepentant in making our country as never before more divided and more dependent upon a dramatically larger and intrusive federal government.
They have already promised $900 billion in new spending, and we will see additional stimulus packages, and so-called “investment” spending to fulfill their pent up wish lists. Entitlements, which are already destined to bankrupt the country unless reformed, will be expanded in the guise of “health care reform.”
We will see across the board tax increases on income, investments, dividends and upon the occurrence of death. Why? Because the voracious appetite of the federal government will demand it. Obama’s so-called “tax cuts” for people who don’t pay income taxes aren’t tax cuts at all, just additional spending in the form of governments checks, paid for by us … the American tax payers. Are we really expected to believe that the insatiable spending appetite of the most liberal government in American history, in control of all three branches, will be satisfied by only raising revenue on the top 5% of tax payers? We’ve seen this before … when Bill Clinton campaigned on a middle class tax cut and, when elected, imposed a middle class tax increase.
All of this is important, because how we respond to our economic challenge is more important than the crisis itself. For the last 25 years the United States, and indeed the world, has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. You wouldn’t know it from listening to Obama, but worldwide over 1 billion people have been able to lift themselves out of poverty. This is due to America’s influence, from our defense of freedom in World War II to the Cold War, to the ascendency of our free-market capitalism, the adoption of open trade policies, and globalization. Yet some say our current financial difficulties are evidence that we should turn our back on our founding, free market principles … that it’s time for big changes.
But in a world that is increasingly inter-connected by jobs, trade and global finance, how our economy is viewed by the rest of the world is extremely important to America’s economic well being. The worst thing in the world we could do is appear to be unfriendly to investment and trade with an economy constrained and made uncompetitive by layers upon layers of new regulations, and bogged down in the divisiveness of class warfare. Yet if you are to take them at their word this is precisely the direction that an Obama administration and a Democratic Congress would take us, turning a short term recession into a long term economic decline for the United States.
And while our regulatory regime needs to be examined and improved, we should be clear: capitalism is not the cause of our nation’s economic challenges. The subprime mortgage crisis was not rooted in lack of regulation, but in bad policies made by Democrats in Congress that forced banks to give mortgages to people who could not afford the houses they were buying. These are the same politicians who protected the excesses and fraudulent conduct of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are the same ones who now want to control the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars to solve the problem they helped create, and who tried to slip $200 billion into the first bailout bill for their political cronies in ACORN, the organization that is now systemically perpetrating voter registration fraud around the country. This record, Obama and the Democrats say, entitles them to total control of all of the levers of power in Washington.
Under an Obama-Reed-Pelosi scenario nothing will restrain them from making the secret ballot in union elections be a thing of the past. The so called “fairness doctrine” will likely be passed, restricting free speech on talk radio, possibly even the Internet.
Obama’s idea of “health care reform is moving more people away from private insurance into a Medicare-type government-run program. His education plan? Look no further than the federal bureaucracy that seems to work for the NEA, not the American people. But his plan to defend the sanctity of life? There would be none.
And if Obama and Congress somehow fail legislatively they will turn to the courts, because they will be able to nominate and confirm whomever they want to the federal judiciary. In all likelihood we would lose the Supreme Court to left-wing social, economic and even military policy-making for a generation.
Obama and the Democrats believe that Americans in a time of crisis will be willing to sacrifice their freedoms, abandon their founding principles and common sense and ease into the mediocrity of the warm embrace of the Washington papa bear who will take care of all of our problems for us.
These are not the ideals of the America that drew brave men and women from all over the world to our shores. In most cases, they were fleeing nations with the heavy hand of government, intolerance and class warfare. They risked everything to experience our Founding Fathers’ notion of a limited government with powers that were delineated, checked and balanced, in a land where they could live and prosper in a free, dynamic, upwardly mobile society – the kind that existed no where else in the world. But Obama and his liberal friends don’t see things that way.
The liberal agenda is based upon the belief that there are elites among us who know more and know better than the rest of us. And that with the application of their intellect and power … and our money … they can impose regulations and establish programs, bureaus and agencies that will solve all the problems of the masses’.
Senator Obama and his supporters essentially see society not as dynamic and changing or full of opportunity. They see one that is divided by economic classes into which every one of us is permanently assigned. In their worldview, those in a lesser economic class are presumably resentful and envious. So it’s the government’s job to level things out … or as Senator Obama would say “spread the wealth around.” It’s about dividing the pie among static classes, not trying to make the pie bigger for everyone or creating opportunity in an upwardly mobile society.
This is the reason why they do not understand Joe the Plumber. Because he doesn’t have a higher income today they assume that he never will and that he believes he never will. They expect him to resent anyone whose doing better than he is, instead of planning to do better himself. They don’t understand the Joes of the world. Never have. Never will.
This political philosophy has a long tradition. At best it can be labeled a benign welfare state. But history tells us that it can lead to tyranny or economic turmoil or both. And … most important … it has never found favor in the United States – not during the Great Depression, in times of war, or any other time.
It’s because in this country we have a different view. We know that people do better when given opportunity and responsibility. It has to do with our view of the nature of man. We believe that man is supposed to be kept, fed, and protected from the elements by a master. We believe that man was meant to be free—entitled to be free. It’s an inalienable right, endowed by our Creator. When free and inspired man can achieve great things – for his family, community and his nation. In fact this belief is what we built our nation on.
When times of stress occur as they inevitably do in the life every great nation just as in the lives of all of us, our policies may need to be revisited and perhaps changed but our principles do not change—because they are rooted in the very fabric of our nation, derived from God and have been paid for when the blood of millions of brave people. A temporary economic recession doesn’t change any of that.
Let there be no doubt that an Obama administration and a heavily Democratically controlled Congress would change the face of this nation. Only you can decide whether or not the ways in which they would change it would be a good thing.
I don’t believe it. And John McCain doesn’t. John McCain’s entire life has been devoted to defending those principles that made our country great. It has been one of duty, honor, dedication and sacrifice. He has been involved in every major domestic and foreign policy issue for three decades and has fought to reform and change Washington in ways that would change our country for the better.
Responsible change is the essence of conservatism. We must change in order to preserve what is best about our country. We have always been able to accommodate constructive change without turning our back on our first principles. We must do it again.
However, that does not include staking everything upon the eloquence and inexperience of one who has towed the extreme liberal and partisan line his entire political life, much as he tries to blur that fact now.
This is the choice that we have in this election. Let’s hope for our nation’s sake that we choose well.