Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Fundraiser for Representative Robert J. Lagomarsino in Santa Barbara, California

August 27, 1988

The President. Robert, I thank you very much, Councilwoman, Norma, Gallegly's, and my roommate. [Laughter] Well, I thank you all today. I realize, looking around at the neckties, that I'm out of uniform. [Laughter] If you haven't been informed, we have just come from another fundraiser down in the San Fernando Valley—there raising money just generally for the party, which is always useful to all of us concerned-and there the uniform was prescribed. So, I brought a coat along so that I could put a coat on afterward. And since in Arizona a bolo is legally now a necktie, I figure that I can get by. [Laughter]

Well, we're here today because we support an outstanding Congressman, our Congressman-and that includes me because I'm in the district, too—Bob Lagomarsino. The job that Bob has done these past 14 years, believe me, has earned my vote this year. Sure, he has a tough race, his toughest ever, but I'm confident he'll win. We Santa Barbarans know that Bob didn't go to Washington to make big government ever bigger or to mess around with our defenses. He's in Washington to help build a stronger and sounder America. And that's why on November 8th we'll choose George Bush for President and Bob Lagomarsino for Congress.
Now, it's no secret that when I'm strolling down the street in Washington the House of Representatives isn't the friendliest house on the block. But it sure would be if there were more people there like Bob Lagomarsino in it. He's a stand-up guy, and he stood with George Bush and me time and again for what's right when too many of his colleagues turned away.

The freedom-loving people of Nicaragua know Bob. He's their champion. He knows that they thirst after the cool waters of liberty. And he's made heroic efforts to satisfy their thirst by working to aid the freedom fighters, who want to free them from Communist domination. Well, I don't know about you, but when it comes to freedom in Central America, I like a stand-up guy like Bob.

Bob's also a dedicated supporter of America's quest to free itself from the shadow of nuclear assault. Time after time and year after year he has voted for the Strategic Defense Initiative; that is a defense plan that kills weapons, not people. But while Bob was standing up for our space shield, the House leadership wanted to slash away at it so they could find more money to spend on their pet projects. Well, I don't know about you, but when it comes to national defense, I like a stand-up guy—and that's Bob.
Some people say it's time for a change. Well, I agree. For 52 of the last 56 years, the House of Representatives has been in the hands of the other party. Forty-six of those 56 years, the other party has controlled both Houses of the Congress. Now, I've heard a lot in this campaign from the other side about the evils of deficit spending and I'm responsible. Well, Congress is the only one in government that can spend a dime. The President can't spend any. Congress makes the budget. You bet it's time for change.

We can solve our spending problems-and let me tell you something else about that more than half a century in which-every 10 years they have been in charge when it came to reapportionment of the districts throughout the country. And in 48 of those 56 years, there were deficits each one of those 48 years. Four of the 8 years that there weren't deficits were in the term of Dwight Eisenhower, who for 2 years had a Republican Congress in both Houses. The only time that a Republican President has had that—well, I was fortunate, I had 6 years of my term with a Senate.

And I have to tell you, I don't think we could have gotten what we did and the reforms that we did had that not been true. But now we're back in that with both Houses on the other side. We can solve budget problems. When it comes to Congress, the American people know that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And the solution is to reelect Bob Lagomarsino and elect 434 others like him to the House of Representatives.

Now, that's a tall order, but I have a good feeling about this year's election, particularly after seeing a speech last week that I found moving and, yes, inspiring. I don't remember when I've ever been as impressed with an orator, and I know he's going to be an even more impressive President, George Bush. George spoke about completing a mission, the mission that he and I began, side by side, 8 years ago.

And look how far we've come since then: 17% million new jobs, hundreds of thousands of new businesses, a greater proportion of Americans at work than ever before. I had to go to Washington in this job to find out how the statisticians determine figures about employment and unemployment. Did you know that the considered potential pool of employables is everybody, male and female, from 16 years of age and up? And today the highest percentage of that total pool is employed than ever in our history-62.6 percent. And that pool includes all the young people that are still going to school and in college and so forth, the people that are retired but that's the percentage of that overall segment of our society that [applause]

Then there's the restoration of our national defenses, the recovery of our national pride, an INF treaty that abolishes an entire class, as Bob has told you, of U.S. and Soviet missiles. And just a few years after the liberation of Grenada, the Soviets are pulling out of Afghanistan. Now, I want you to know that— [applause] —I know that some people have expressed a fear that maybe I'm being taken in and now that I'm just not looking at them as plainly as I should. Well, I want you to know that I have made the General Secretary very familiar with a stalwart American term: Trust everybody, but cut the cards. [Laughter]

I want to ask you a question: Is this a record we can show proudly to our fellow citizens in California?
Audience members. Yes!

The President. Well, we've done a lot, but as George said the other night, the mission is not complete. There's more to do: appointing more judges who know the difference between criminals and victims; shutting down the drug trade—I have a special assistant in that, but— [laughter] —more work for the cause of freedom around the world, including in Central America; and, of course, developing and deploying a technology that will protect humanity from the specter of nuclear war—the Strategic Defense Initiative. And how about a furlough for the Pledge of Allegiance? [Laughter]

And yet we must not forget that all we've done and all we are on the very threshold of doing can quickly be lost. We Californians saw it happen in the years of the last liberal administration in our State. Things got so bad that we had to rise up and say, "no more," to the soaring taxes that were strangling economic growth and crushing the budgets of ordinary families. So, Proposition 13 was passed. We don't want to have to go through that again nationally. And there's one way to make sure we won't: George Bush is going to America with his own proposition number one—no new taxes.

You know, I have to say one thing, and it's one thing here that must be said. If you remember back there when we were getting on our feet, after the—well, the father who preceded the son as Governor- [laughter] —and we began to accumulate surpluses. And some of you will remember every time we accumulated a surplus, we gave it back to the people. And the last one we gave back was $850 million. And if we' need a difference between the two parties, I will always remember a very reputable leader on the Democratic side of our senate who stormed into my office after my announcement about giving that money back. And he said, "Giving that money back to the people is an unnecessary expenditure of public funds." [Laughter]

Well, make no mistake, our economy and our national defenses are strong, but they're also under threat. They're threatened by those who want to use the law to engineer the changes in our nation that the American people do not need and do not want and that would hurt. Our liberal friends seem to love to fiddle around making big government even bigger. But they never seem to achieve their goals. And so, they fiddle around some more, but they still don't get anywhere. And then, before you know it, they've fiddled around so much that they've sent the ship of state into dry-dock. I know; George Bush knows. And after all, we were called in to get the ship of state seaworthy again. And the way to keep it seaworthy is to have a crew of Republicans in the Congress and George Bush at the helm. Now, Bob will be critical in that effort, and so will a great Senator who will continue to be a great Senator after the dust has settled on November 9th, Pete Wilson.

And let me add one other thing: Our statewide election this year is also critical. In 2 years, it will be time for the 1990 census. The results of that census will determine the composition of California's congressional districts. Now, we all remember what happened after the last census. The opposition controlled the two State Houses and the Governor's mansion, so they redrew the map. And what did they do? They shattered the State of California. Each congressional district looked like a piece of broken glass. Well, we can make sure such a travesty doesn't happen again by working with our State legislative leaders, Pat Nolan and Ken Maddy, to elect good Republicans to the State assembly and the State senate. That's vital. I'm going to do my part, and I know you will, too.

Every once in a while I feel we should all be reminded that one of the great secrets of the success of this country is that we are a federation of sovereign States. And our opponents, over those long 50 odd years when they were in control, have tried to usurp and take away from the States more and more power to reduce the States to administrative districts of the Federal Government. Well, we've been having a program for almost 8 years now called federalism in which we have been restoring, as much as we can, the power and authority that properly belongs to the States and never should have been taken from them.

In doing all these things, I'm going to do my part, and I know you will, too. Yes, there are still promises to keep. There's the promise to keep America strong. There's the promise to expand the frontiers of freedom. There's the promise to continue freeing the creative, enterprising energies of the American people. And with our help, on November 9th, George Bush, Pete Wilson, and Bob Lagomarsino will get to work on keeping those promises. So now let's get to work on getting them to work.

I don't want to be even those last few weeks there without Bob Lagomarsino in the Congress. [Laughter] But thank you all for all you've done, and God bless you all. Thank you.

[At this point, Representative Lagomarsino gave the President a campaign T-shirt. ]

The President. "Congressman Bob Lagomarsino: I'm backing Bob." Since I'm out of uniform at this affair, do you suppose maybe I could be out of uniform and wear this at the first leadership meeting when we get back?

Representative Lagomarsino. Sure. I hope you do. [Laughter]
The President. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:24 p.m. at the Klinger Ranch. In his opening remarks, he referred to Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Jeanne Graffy, Mrs. Norma Lagomarsino, Representative Elton Gallegly, and Mrs. Janice Gallegly. Prior to his remarks, the President attended fundraisers for the California Republican Party and the California State Republican Legislative Fund in the San Fernando Valley.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Fundraiser for Representative Robert J. Lagomarsino in Santa Barbara, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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