September 20, 2010 | 108 comments
June 18, 2009 | 54 comments
Remarks delivered by the chairman of the House Republican Conference at The American Spectator’s annual Robert L. Bartley dinner last Thursday evening.
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, delivered the following remarks last Thursday night at The American Spectator’s Robert L. Bartley Dinner:
(Remarks as delivered)
I stand before you today at an historic moment for the conservative movement and for this great country. The coming weeks and months may well set the course for this nation for a generation and beyond. How we as conservatives respond could well determine whether America retains her place as a beacon of hope in the world, or whether we slip into the abyss that has swallowed much of Europe in an avalanche of Socialism.
While some are prepared to write the obituary on capitalism and conservative values, I believe we are in the midst of a great American awakening. And it is breaking out all across this land, in townhalls and tea parties, coffee shops and church halls, in New Jersey and Virginia, and in the hearts and minds of everyday Americans, who are fed up with runaway federal spending, bailouts and takeovers by both parties and are saying with one voice: enough is enough.
The American people know what makes sense and what doesn’t.
On the foreign stage, the American people know that weakness arouses evil. They know that bowing and kowtowing to foreign dictators only diminishes our standing in the world. And they know that standing idly by while the Ayatollahs in Iran crush innocent civilians, clamoring for free elections, is totally inconsistent with our history of standing with those who stand for freedom around the world. Ronald Reagan didn’t stand before the Brandenburg Gate and say, “Mr. Gorbachev, that wall is none of our business.” The American cause is freedom and in that cause we must never be silent again.
And the American people know that trying terrorists like ordinary criminals puts international public relations ahead of public safety and makes a mockery of American justice. This administration’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cohorts in our civilian criminal courts is the most naïve and dangerous decision I have ever witnessed the United States government make. We should not be granting terrorists their wish to be tried at the scene of the worst enemy attack in American history.
We should not tell terrorists around the world that they have more rights if they kill Americans on our soil than if they kill Americans on the field of battle. The Obama administration must overturn this wrongheaded decision and try these enemy combatants in a military tribunal where they belong.
And on the home front, the American people know we can’t borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy. And they know that one bailout after another, and one government takeover after another, will undermine our national character and relegate our national economy to the permanent economic decline.
The freedom to succeed must include the freedom to fail. Even as Ben Bernanke told me this week, capitalism without bankruptcy is like religion without hell.
When you look at the failed Democratic policies on stimulus, cap and trade and healthcare, it looks like their recovery strategy is, “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” Democrat policies in Washington, D.C. are taking our economy from bad to worse. The unemployment rate in this country reached a 26-year high, 10.2 percent, the worst since 1983, and the national debt reaches 12 trillion dollars.
And where was President Obama this week? In China visiting our money and being lectured on monetary policy by communist dictators. But seriously, the image is striking: a President of the United States, flying on one more foreign junket, to one more glamorous capital, as our nation continues to struggle in the city and on the farm and unemployment rises to record levels.
To get this administration to focus on creating jobs, maybe the president should spend less time at the Great Wall of China and more time at Wal-Mart!
The American people know what works and what doesn’t. We know the time-honored path to recovery is fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C. and fast-acting tax relief for working families, small businesses and family farms. And, to borrow a line from a great American, more and more Americans realize every day that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose your job, and a recovery is when Nancy Pelosi loses her job.
Clearly we’ve had it. But we see here tonight and at town hall meetings, tea party rallies across this country, and in the march on Washington in Washington, D.C., it is not the orchestrated theater of liberal special interest groups. It’s authentic and it’s powerful and it’s real and it’s American. And the American people know this is not just about dollars and cents, it’s about who we are as a nation.