Ronald Reagan picture

Radio Address to the Nation on the Administration's Goals and Achievements

August 13, 1988

My fellow Americans:

This coming week the Republican National Convention will take place in New Orleans, the 32d such convention since the Grand Old Party first met in 1856. I want to talk about that convention in just a moment, but first I'd like to tell you a little about what's been taking place here at the White House in the past few days. And you should know, I have a special reason for wanting to do so. You see, in this campaign season, some in the other party are parading around the country, talking and talking about what they claim they'd do if they were elected. Well, while they talk, we deliver.

To begin with, I recently vetoed the defense bill that Congress had sent me. Why? Because Congress, perhaps taking their cue from the other party's leadership, laid on my desk a bill that would have set back our nation's defenses severely. I won't stand for that and neither will George Bush. Now it's up to Congress to come up with a new bill, one that strengthens our defenses instead of weakening them and strengthens our hand still further in dealing with the Soviets.

Still on foreign affairs, we're seeking from Congress effective aid for the freedom fighters in Nicaragua. In recent weeks, the Communist regime in Nicaragua—the regime the freedom fighters are opposing-has stalled the Arias peace plan, expelled the American Ambassador to Nicaragua, shut down the independent press, and brutally suppressed a peaceful protest. Regarding Nicaragua, the leadership of the other party advocates policies of disengagement and unconcern, policies that would surely permit the Communists to consolidate their power. Indeed, they would permit a Communist lock on a nation right here in our own hemisphere. George Bush and I happen to disagree with them. It's our firm belief that in Nicaragua the United States has a high moral duty: a duty to stand for human liberty and to extend our help to those who are struggling to secure it.

Turning to matters here at home, we saw the passage this past week of an important fair housing bill. George Bush and I have supported stronger fair housing measures from the first, and I look forward to signing the measure. On Wednesday, I signed legislation that compensates Japanese-Americans who were wrongly interned during the Second World War. And on Thursday, I signed into law the largest disaster relief bill in our history: drought legislation that will help the tens of thousands of American farmers who are suffering from this summer's terrible shortage of rain.

So, while the other party talks about compassion, we put it into action.

We're also working on important legislation involving trade. And in this connection, I might as well admit that the leadership of the other party has my Irish up. You see, they talk as if the country were in some kind of recession, if not in outright depression. But the truth is just the opposite. Since George Bush and I put our economic policies in place, we've witnessed the longest peacetime expansion in American history, an expansion that has created over 171/2 million jobs. Now the Vice President and I are determined to go still further, opening America and all the world to still greater trade and economic growth.

This past week we saw the implementing legislation for the U.S.-Canada free trade agreement move closer to final congressional approval. And Congress has passed a trade bill, one that more closely reflects George Bush's and my emphasis on world trade that is both free and, yes, fair.

So you see, while the leadership of the other party have been talking, George Bush and I've been hard at work, putting into practice the ideals you believe in, the ideals that, at her heart, America has always stood for: strong defenses; low taxes and limited government; compassion and fair play, like that embodied in the fair housing bill; faith in our future; and an openness to the rest of the world, as demonstrated in our trade legislation. And, yes, those are just the ideals you'll hear us Republicans rededicating ourselves to this coming week in New Orleans.

You know, I'll be addressing the Republican convention on Monday, the opening night, and taking an active role in the coming campaign. But even so, my name won't appear on any ballot this fall. What's at stake for me in this election is my love for America and my dreams for her future. And that's what my support for Vice President Bush comes down to. You see, George Bush understands that the question for America today is not "What's different?" but "What's next?"

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the Administration's Goals and Achievements Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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