Jimmy Carter photo

Hollywood, Florida Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraising Dinner.

July 17, 1980

Senator [Congressman] Pepper, Governor Graham, Ambassador Askew, Congressman Lehman, Congressman Stack, Attorney General Smith, Secretary of State George Firestone, my good [fiend, Chairman Charlie Whitehead, and particularly Joe Cantor, who has done so much this evening to make this a resounding success:

I'd like to start out by asking a question of this group. How many of you believe that in Florida and throughout the Nation we can whip the Republicans in November? [Applause]

I've been observing the situation in Detroit, as has Senator Pepper, and I have just one comment to make about it. I'm very glad to be down here in Florida, in Hollywood with you. I come representing an administration and a party that's well organized. We took off from near Sapelo Island a few minutes, this morning, before noon, and we landed in Hollywood, Florida, at the right airport. And we're very grateful for that. A lot of the planes coining out here lately have not done so in the past. [Laughter] It just shows how much farther advanced the Democratic Party is than some others that I won't mention.

We've got in prospect for us a good year. The Democratic Party is well organized. The Democratic Party National Committee, for the first time in history under the U.S. laws, can now join with the State and local Democratic Parties to share funding campaign efforts between local, State, congressional, and the Presidential campaigns. This opens up a vista of cooperation and common purpose that will be very significant, and I think that the extraordinary and, I might say, unpredicted success of this banquet this evening is a testimony to that.

I want to talk to you very briefly and, from the bottom of my heart, to say that in order for the Democrats to be elected in November, we must deserve victory. We will have to stand on our record, and we will also have to present the vision of a future that will be attractive and exciting, significant and acceptable to the American people. We must be a party—and this is difficult—with some degree of humility, recognizing that we don't know all the answers, recognizing that there have been mistakes made under Democratic administrations, no matter how enlightened or how dedicated or how honest they have been.

Beginning in 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt ran for President in the depths of a debilitating and disheartening depression, the Democratic stamp has been on the Government of the United States. We have not betrayed that trust, and we are not now betraying that trust placed in us by the American people.

I like Florida. You've been good to me. Every time I've run for office, we have surprised people in Florida. And I also like Florida because of the climate. The weather, of course, is good, but I like the fact that the political climate here is conducive to good will and to progress. You've got a Democratic Governor, a Democratic cabinet, a Democratic congressional delegation, a Democratic legislature, Democratic local officials, and a strong Democratic Party here in Florida that accurately exemplifies the hopes and ambitions of the Florida people. You've not betrayed that trust, and that's why we have been so successful in your great State.

Let's look very briefly at what the Democratic Party has meant and means to this country. I think first and foremost, ours is a party of peace. We believe that nations should be at peace with One another. We believe that differences should be resolved without bloodshed. We believe that peace can only be maintained through strength, because with strength comes a certain aura or element of confidence. We don't have to prove our strength by combat. We don't have to prove our strength by pushing small nations like Panama around. And with a degree of confidence within our hearts and within our souls, we are able and eager to reach our hands out to others and to provide the hope for peace to them.

One of the most significant developments in the last few years has been the bringing of the prospects for peace to the nation of Israel, a troubled, young, aggressive, strong, dedicated democracy, crucial to the strategic future of our own country. In the last 32 years our Nation has provided Israel with 22 billions of dollars in aid. I'm glad to say that since I've been President, a very short time, about half that amount of money has been requested from the Congress, about $11 billion. This is not a handout from us to a people, no matter how worthy or how much they are in need of a strong defense capability; it's a real paying investment in our own future, in our democratic principles, and in our own strength and security.

We are committed to certain principles that have never varied since I've occupied the White House. We have never threatened Israel with a withdrawal of funds or the withholding of armaments that they needed to defend themselves in a time of crisis, as was the case, as many of you remember, under the administration that preceded mine. We have recognized the worth of the ambitions of the Egyptian people. We've also known that Egypt, as the strongest, most dynamic, most influential Arab country, was the key to progress toward peace for Israel. And because of the courage of President Sadat and the deep commitment and courage of Prime Minister Menahem Begin, we have so far made good progress.

The avenue toward peace for the Middle East has not been one that's smooth. It's not always predictable. It doesn't always move as rapidly as I would like. But the commitment there by our Nation has indeed paid rich dividends for us all. We could not possibly do this if our own Nation's defense was not assured, if we were not strong militarily. We are now strengthening our own Nation's defenses. For 8 years, under the preceding Republican administrations, our commitment to defense went down in real dollars. Since I have been in office, there has been a steady, sustained, predictable, efficient growth in our commitment to our own defense capability. That's one of the reasons that I look forward to the future of a country, our country, able to maintain peace.

This is a troubled world; it's an unpredictable world; it's a complex world. It's almost impossible to understand. We cannot dominate others; that's not the American way. But we can provide them with a vision of the future and an assurance of their own security and a realization of the hopes and dreams of people who live under subjugation that provides some glimpse of how we can work together in the years ahead.

We have seen gross violations of the peace—the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a powerful nation attacking free, deeply religious, committed people, who were no threat to anyone, and now who persecute them, as you well know, with military force, brutally brought to bear on the small villages and towns of that troubled country.

In Iran we've seen the grossest example of the violation of human rights, through international terrorism condoned and supported by the Government of that country. We have no quarrel with the people of Iran; we have no quarrel with the results of their revolution. We do not want to interfere in their internal affairs. In the future we would like to see a good working relationship in trade and commerce with them. We want to see an Iran that is united, secure, stable, and at peace' with its neighbors. That's our hope.

But as long as 52 Americans, innocent Americans, are held against their will, I as President can never rest. And it's heartening to me to see 220 million people in this great Nation almost completely obsessed with the safety and the freedom of just 52 Americans, who are not rich, not famous, not wealthy, but who belong to us. That's an example, I think, of the greatness of our country.

We're a nation that believes in compassion, and we're a party that represents a compassionate attitude to those not quite so fortunate as we. We've been the party of civil rights, and we are the party of human rights, not only in our own country but around the world. I just met a few minutes ago and made a speech to the International Transport Workers Congress, a very broad-based group of labor organizations. This is their 33d annual congress. They have never before met in North America. In addition to taking care of their own members, their prime commitment over the years has been for human rights. That's been one of the top priorities of my own administration and compatible, again, with the principles of the Democratic Party.

We are also a party of courage. We've not tried to avoid controversial issues when they might have been costly in a political sense. It was not politically advisable, after 14 years of delay, to have a Panama Canal treaty signed and to fight that battle in the Senate, ultimately to get it ratified. But I have no doubt that history will show that it prevented violence, it treated a small nation fairly, and it provided for the security and continued use of a vital waterway joining the two oceans that span our shores.

It was not politically advisable to move toward evolving a national energy policy. When I spoke to the Nation in April of 1977, I predicted that I would lose 15 percentage points in the public opinion poll when I presented an energy policy to our Nation. I underestimated the loss; I dropped a lot more than 15 percent. But as the Members of Congress here well know, that has been a successful struggle that will provide our country with a dynamic and exciting future as we develop new forms of energy and we break our ties and dependence on a 12,000-mile uncertain pipeline that goes into one of the most troubled areas of the whole world.

It will also provide us with an opportunity to conserve energy, a new approach to natural resources by this great country, because we've never had, in the past, to face the prospect of limits on us. And I predict to you that this facing of the prospect of limitations on the use and waste and importing of energy will open up a new future as exciting as anything we've ever seen. In the next 10 years we'll have $128 billion in income from the windfall profits tax passed by Congress; $88 billion of that, roughly, will go to develop new kinds of energy. And we'll have, indeed, new jobs, new industry, a new complex of life that we cannot possibly envision even today.

In addition, we are a nation that believes and a party that believes in hard work. We believe that part of that hard work and the human rights is that each person able to hold a job ought to have a job. We've provided in the last 3 years a net increase of 8 1/2 million new jobs in this country, something never before done even in time of war. The commitment is sound. It's one that's compatible with the hopes and aspirations of American people. It particularly addresses the yearnings of those who've suffered in the past from discrimination of all kinds.

And we opened up vistas of the nourishment of human capability, given to each person by God, through a better educational system. We've increased expenditures in 3 years for Federal aid to education by 73 percent, at the same time letting local people control the school system. And now, for the first time in the history of this Nation, there is no reason for any child to be deprived of a college education because of economic limitations of that child's family.

Additionally, we've moved in areas to bring local, State, and Federal Government entities together. With an urban policy, we've transformed the attitude of people in New York, Philadelphia, cities in the South that formerly were deeply discouraged about the future. This is a part of binding our Nation's wounds and bringing our country together.

And finally, let me say, in talking about the Democratic Party, that we are one that believes in competence. We have been able to deregulate American private industry and let the free enterprise system begin to work as it was originally conceived during the early years of our history. We've also been able to cut paperwork by 15 percent. We've reduced Federal employees at the same time we've greatly enhanced the allocation of Federal services to the American people. We've been the party of progress, and we've been the party of the enhancement of civil rights.

I've only been in office now 3/2 years, not nearly long enough. But I've had a chance in this brief time to appoint more women Federal judges, more Spanish speaking Federal judges, more black Federal judges—one of whom is sitting on my left here, Judge Hastings—than all previous Presidents who've ever served in the White House combined, and we're not through yet. We've got a long way to go.

In contrast, we'll be running in this election this year against a party almost exactly opposite from us, a party that opposed social security, a party that opposed the rural free delivery of mail, a party that opposed the minimum wage, even when Democrats were trying to set a goal of 25 cents an hour, a party that opposed Medicaid, a party that opposed Medicare, a party that brought us the disgrace of Watergate, a party that failed to provide for an energy policy of this Nation, even after the embargo of 1973, a party with a narrow vision, a party afraid of the future, a party whose leaders are inclined to shoot from the hip, a party that never has been willing to put its investment in human beings who were below them in the economic and social status; in this country of freedom and equality, a party that is going to be defeated in November if the Democrats, in an honest way, present our case to the American people, never fail to tell the truth, even when it hurts, never offer simplistic answers to complicated questions, never fail to point out the difficulty of obstacles that we have not yet surmounted, if we never lose confidence in the people who put us in positions of leadership, a nation that never deviates from a commitment to peace, a nation that never forgets the principles that have made this the greatest and the oldest political party on Earth.

That is not an easy task. It's not even an easy task just to tell the truth and to let the American people make an honest and fair judgment. I'm convinced that we can do so, with inspiration, with unity, with commitment, with compassion, with confidence, with courage, with moral and ethical commitments that never change. That's why I'm proud to be President of a great country; that's why I'm proud to be part of the Democratic Party.

If we work together in a spirit of unity, then we will not fail, and November will answer the question that you answered, at the beginning of my talk, successfully, and we will whip the Republicans all over Florida and all over this great Nation of ours again. And that's what the Nation needs, that's what the Republicans need, and that's what the Democrats need as well.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:49 p.m. in the Care Cristal Room at the Diplomat Hotel.

Following his remarks, the President returned to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, where he boarded Air Force One for the flight to Washington, D.C.

Jimmy Carter, Hollywood, Florida Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraising Dinner. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250811

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives