Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Fund-raising Reception for United States Senate Candidate David F. Emery

September 21, 1982

Thank you. Thank you very much. It's great to see you all in this particular political season and to be here with Dave Emery. I'd like to be with Dave in Maine, but I know that when he goes home he has that habit of walking across the State. [Laughter] And I've got to save my energy to deal with the big spenders— [laughter] -on the Hill. But really, the truth is, Dave, I wasn't in the infantry. I was a cavalryman. [Laughter] Now, if you, you know, talked about a—maybe a horseback ride across the State— [laughter] . But, on the other hand, I can look at Bob Packwood and see what happens. [Laughter] 1

1 Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon was using crutches, following a cartilage operation.

Now, Dave Emery is in a tight race, but let me remind you of what he himself has proved so well in these past 8 years. Dave Emery is a winner. He's a man who's right for Maine. With your full support, I'm convinced that Dave Emery will be a winner again, putting all his judgment and experience to work as the next Senator elected from Maine.

It doesn't make any sense for Maine to have Senator Cohen there and then have somebody over there that's canceling his vote on all the important issues.

We need Dave's wisdom, and we need his courage. He trusts the people because he knows America's strength is in the hearts of our people and, forgive me, but not in the bureaucracy here in Washington. And Dave has the courage to stand up to special interests and to say, "No, we'll not go back to more big spending and big taxing. They're not the answers to our problems; they are the problems."

The greatest challenge we face is to get unemployed Americans back to work. With Dave's support we've made solid progress against the two biggest barriers to a growing economy. I'm talking about double-digit inflation and high interest rates. It was those twin evils that we inherited which brought our economy to its knees and threw so many people out of work.

You know, we tend to forget that. Some of us who were campaigning back in 1980 when the other fellows were here have to remember back. What is it we were talking about in that campaign? Well, I remember campaigning in the Midwest, in one particular hard-hit State, and referring to it as a depression. And the then-incumbent President took me to task and said, "Oh, no. Technically, it was a recession." Well, where I was it was a depression.

And the other day, the mayor of Detroit was in the White House to see me, and he told me unemployment was 20 percent in Detroit. And I couldn't resist. I said, "Mr. Mayor, 2 years ago when I was campaigning there it was 18 percent—almost up to that 20." But it was those high interest rates in two industries, either one of which can virtually cause a recession by itself—the automobile industry and homebuilding.

But in 2 years, by reducing the growth of spending and taxes, we've cut the rate of price increases. They were 12.4 percent; since January, they're 5.4 percent, and we're not finished yet. We've also beaten down interest rates. They were 21 1/2 percent then. Now, they're 13 1/2, and we can bring them down even more and keep them down.

We've made a good beginning, but we're not home yet. Today, America is like a runner who, chronically out of shape, finally gets into training and expends great effort and completes most of the race, and then comes into the home stretch and looks down the line at the tape. And he knows he's going to have to redouble his efforts in that stretch run, and inside of him he's hearing two voices. One of them says, "You've done so well. You've come so far. Don't quit now." And a second says, "It's too hard. It's impossible. You're never going to make it."

Well, I believe with all my heart that our progress against inflation and interest rates puts us much closer than we were 2 years ago to a stronger, more prosperous economy, without inflation for all our citizens. But this is an election year, and the air is filled with liberal voices talking big talk about fairness and compassion. They would urge the American people to turn their backs on everything that we've accomplished together. And to listen to their horror stories about budget cuts, you'd have to like horror movies.

When they talk about fairness, I have to ask them, where have they been? It was just less than 2 years ago, as I say, when they turned over control of the Government to us, and we were left to cope with the worst combination of high inflation and high interest rates and taxation in more than 100 years, and we didn't hear any words about fairness then.

The other question is, where would they take us now? And the answer is right back to the same swamp that we're trying to get out of. They're not promoting fairness; they're selling the same old snake oil. The truth is—and this is what makes it so tough—they don't know it's snake oil. They honestly can't see that their policies brought us to the brink of disaster. And yet, they want another blank check to spend more money. They resist a constitutional amendment against red-ink spending, even though 80 percent of the American people think it's a good idea. and they want to take away the third year of the tax cut and indexing-two provisions which benefit low and middle-income families the most.

A family living at the poverty level today has some $472 more in purchasing power than he would, that family would, if inflation had stayed at the same rate that it was 20 months ago.

On each of these issues, Dave Emery comes down for fairness—fairness to the people who pay the government's bills, while they struggle to pay their own. His opponent would tax the family budget, and the Federal budget would continue to grow and grow. We just have to save his opponent from himself. And we're not going to let ourselves be dragged back down into the swamp. With Dave Emery's help and with your help, we're going to make it to the high ground and make America strong and prosperous and keep her free.

So, I'm glad to be here with him, and there he is, and you're going to send him back to Washington. It won't be a new place for him; he'll just move across to another part of the Capitol building. God bless you all for being here. Thank you for what you're doing.
I just have to tell you, this morning the day started out with Miss U.S.A. coming into the office and then was followed by Miss Teenage America. And I said, "From here, the day's got to do downhill." And what do you know— [laughter] —it didn't go downhill at all. It's kept on going up, thanks to you.

Note: The President spoke at 3:37 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Fund-raising Reception for United States Senate Candidate David F. Emery Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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