Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

November 03, 1984

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. Thank you. That's what I came here to talk to you about.

Well, thank you all for a most heartwarming reception, and it's great to be back in Milwaukee, home of the Brewers and the Bucks and the best breweries in America. And it's great to be back in a State where your people vote in one voice—or unite in one voice, I should say—"On, Wisconsin." You know, that's the song, the fight song of the university—but when I was playing football many years ago in a high school down in Illinois, it was also our song. And all over the country I found more school bands that have made your song, their song. So, you have some universal music.

Well, yours is a beautiful State, of course. It's a wonderful, natural beauty of rivers and hills and valleys. But the best thing about Wisconsin is you, her people. I'm happy to be here with the sons and daughters of Wisconsin's immigrants, brave people who have followed their dreams to America, pushed back our frontiers, and built strong and thriving cities like this one.

Your church and the lovely mural here behind me remind us of our proud heritage, remind us how blessed we are to live in this land of hope and in a new world where all things are possible.

Audience member. Mr. President, I have a question for you.

Audience. Boo-o-o! 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. Well, let me just suggest-let me just suggest that I go ahead, and maybe—maybe I'll answer your question in the remarks that I make here tonight.
Audience member. [Inaudible]

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. So, just listen, and see if it doesn't get answered and then—you know.
Audience member. One question.-

The President. You know—shall I take the one question? All right.
Audience. No!
The President. What?
Audience member. [Inaudible]

The President. What? I don't know what you're—what? Don't?

Audience. No!
The President. All right. Okay. All right. But we see this new hope of our country alive in the new patriotism and idealism of our young people, people like Kevin Hermening, who I know is down there. Yes, there he is. Kevin, as you know, was the youngest of our Americans taken hostage in Iran 5 years ago. He's traveled in 8 States speaking about his appreciation of America. And, Kevin, we appreciate what you're doing for America.

But I've come to ask for your support today for some of America's—or Wisconsin's finest, who are helping us build a better American future. And one of the bright stars in the United States Senate is not running this year. He's your own Bob Kasten. And I know that Bob agrees with me that we've got to keep America moving forward by reflecting all of Wisconsin's strong Republican Congressmen—electing them, I should say—Jim Sensenbrenner, Toby Roth, Tom Petri, and Steve Gunderson. And l wish I had time today to tell you how important each of them has been to our fight for the future. But please take it from me, America and Wisconsin need them back in Washington. Please see that they all get back there with us.

And then I can tell you also that we need—they need some company back there. So, what we need are more Republicans in the Congress to turn up the heat on Tip O'Neill. So, I'm hoping that come next January, thanks to your great efforts, we'll be seeing Peter Jansson, Dr. Albert Wiley, Dr. Robert Nolan, and Mark Michaelsen down in Washington, too.

And please help us by spreading the word to get out the votes. And if you can, win those races for the Gipper.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. And just like the Gipper said, "Wherever I am, I'll know about it, and I'll be happy." [Laughter]

Abe Lincoln said that we must disenthrall ourselves with the past—and then we will save our country. Four years ago, that's what we did. We made a great turn. We got out from under the thrall of a government which we had hoped would make our lives better, but we discovered that it was trying to live our lives for us.

Four years ago we began to navigate by certain fixed principles. Our North Star was freedom, common sense our constellations.

And we knew that economic freedom meant paying less of the American family's earnings to the Government, and so we cut personal income taxes by 25 percent. And contrary to what some are saying, that was across the board, "even-Steven" for everybody—no special groups favored.

We knew that inflation, the quiet thief, and record interest rates were stealing our future.

We knew that our national military defense had been weakened, so we decided to rebuild and be strong again—to be prepared for peace. It was a second American revolution, and it's only just begun.

But America is back, a giant on the scene, powerful in its renewed spirit, powerful in its growing economy, and powerful in its ability to defend itself and secure the peace. And do you know something? That's not debatable.

And yet, 4 years after our efforts began, small voices in the night are sounding the call to go back—back to the days of drift, the ways of torpor, timidity, and taxes.

My opponent's understanding of economics is well demonstrated by his predictions. Just before we took office, he said of our economic program, it is obviously, murderously inflationary. [Laughter] And that was just before we lowered inflation from above 12 down to around 4 percent.

And then, then just after we got our tax cuts, he said the most he could see was an anemic recovery. And that was right before the United States economy created more than 6 million new jobs in 21 months.

My opponent said that decontrol of oil prices would cost you $36 billion. Well, that was one of the first things we did—we decontrolled oil prices. And the price of gasoline went down 8 cents a gallon.

Now, I've got it all figured out that all we have to do to have an absolutely perfect economy is persuade him to predict absolute disaster. [Laughter]

He says he cares about the middle class, but he boasts, "I have consistently supported legislation, time after time, which increases taxes on my own constituents." Doesn't that make you just want to be one of his constituents? [Laughter] He's no doubt proud of the fact that as a United States Senator, he voted 16 times to raise your taxes.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. But this year he's outdone himself. He's already promised, of course, to raise your taxes. But if he is to keep all the promises that he has made in this campaign, he will have to raise taxes the equivalent of $1,890 for every household in the United States.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

Audience member. But he won't have a chance! [Inaudible]—the election!

The President. Now, that prorates out to about, well, a little over $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage. [Laughter]

His economic plan has two basic parts-two. First one, raise your taxes. Second part, do it again. [Laughter] But I've got news for him: The American people don't want his tax increases, and they're not going to get them. His tax plan would bring our recovery to a roaring stop.

If my opponent's campaign were a television show, it would be "Let's Make a Deal." [Laughter] You trade your prosperity for whatever he's got hidden behind the curtain. [Laughter] If it were a Broadway play, it would be "Promises, Promises." [Laughter] And if it were a book, you would have to read it from the back to the front to get a happy ending.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!
The President. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. You've talked me into it. All right. You know, he sees an America in which every day is tax day, April 15. And we see an America in which every day is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. We want to lower your taxes and everyone's taxes in this country so that your families will be stronger, our economy will be stronger, and America will be stronger.

And I'm proud to say that during these last 4 years—on another subject—not 1 square inch of territory anyplace in the world was lost to Communist aggression. And the United States is more secure than we were 4 years ago.

Yet my opponent sees a different world. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he said, "It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have." But then, there's so much that baffles him. [Laughter]

One year ago we liberated Grenada from Communist thugs who had taken over that country. My opponent didn't cheer. He called what we did a violation of international law that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviets. Well, there is nothing immoral about rescuing American students whose lives are in danger.

And now if I can, let me try to put this in perspective. The 1984 election is not just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat once; in fact, for a good share of my life. But in those days, the leaders of the Democratic Party weren't in that "blame America first" crowd. Its leaders were men like Harry Truman, Senator Scoop Jackson, John F. Kennedy—men who understood the challenges of the times. They didn't reserve all their indignation for America. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood for one and damned the other.

Now, to all the good Democrats who respect that tradition I say—and I hope that there are some among you—I've said this all over this country when we have rallies of this kind. I know that in this country there are millions of patriotic Democrats who find they can no longer follow the policies of the present leadership of that party. Well, I say to you—if you are here—you are not alone. We're asking you to come and walk with us down that path of hope and opportunity, and in a bipartisan effort, which is a tradition of our country, between us, we will make sure that this is a prosperous, a free America.

Last month an American woman, Kathryn Sullivan, walked in space. And then she returned to a space shuttle in which some of the great scientific and medical advances of the future will be made. Cures for diabetes and heart disease may be possible up there, advances in technology and communications. I have seen evidence of those medical experiments that have been started already. And they're encouraging, and lead us to believe that we can—up there—find those cures, or make those cures, that we cannot make here on Earth. My opponent led the fight against the shuttle program in the United States Senate. He called it—that it was a horrible waste. Well, we support the space shuttle, and we've committed America to meet a great challenge—to build a permanently manned space station, and to do it within the next decade. What America needs is high tech, not high taxes.

I think I've been going on too long here, but the point is.
Audience. No!

The President. Well, that isn't what you meant by 4 more years, is it? [Laughter]

Well, the point is that we were right when we made that great turn in 1980. We were right to take command of the ship, to stop its aimless drift, and to get moving again. And we were right when we stopped sending out S.O.S. and started saying, U.S.A.!
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. All right.
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. All right.

The United States of America was never meant to be a second-best nation. Like our Olympic athletes, this nation should set its sight on the stars and go for the gold.

If America could bring down inflation from 12.4 percent to 4, then we can bring it down further from 4 to 0.0. And that's what we're going to do.

If lowering your tax rates led to the best expansion in 30 years, then we can lower them again, and keep America growing on into the 21st century.

If we could create 6 million new jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American—old and young, black or white—everyone who wants to find a job to find a job in this country of ours.

And if local governments can establish enterprise zones to create economic growth, then we can elect people to Congress who will free our enterprise zones bill, the national bill that is going to use tax incentives to go into distressed areas in the inner cities, and even in the rural areas, and bring in industry and jobs for those people who are presently wards of the Government, and bring them hope and opportunity. And it's been buried in a committee in the House of Representatives for more than 2 years, under the direction of Tip O'Neill. And that's why we want these candidates and these Congressmen of yours, returned to Washington, so that we can get that program out on the floor.

You know, I have thought that if we give our workers in this country the proper tools, the tools they need—and I believe this with all my heart—they can outproduce, outcompete, and outsell anyone, anywhere in the entire world, anytime.

Our drive to restore excellence in education reversed a 20-year decline in the scholastic aptitude test scores. Well, we're going to keep raising those scores and restore American academic excellence second to none.

Our crackdown on crime produced the sharpest drop in the history of the crime index. And we're going to keep cracking down until you and your families and your friends can walk on the streets of our cities at night without being afraid.

We've reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect for America. And I can tell you that of all the things in this job of which I might be proud, nothing am I more proud of than those young men and women of ours in the uniform of our military. They're special.

And we're going to keep this nation strong to protect freedom and peace for us, for our children, and for our children's children. And if we make sure that America remains strong and prepared for peace, then we can begin to reduce nuclear weapons and, one day, to banish them from the Earth entirely.

My opponent has talked of a nuclear freeze. And every once in awhile, I see people put posters up in front of me—Nuclear Freeze. Okay, a nuclear freeze—when we have reduced the nuclear weapons on both sides down to an equal, verifiable level, then we will have a nuclear freeze.

And as we strengthen our economy, strengthen our security, and strengthen the values that bind us, America will become a nation ever greater in its standard of living, in art and learning, and greater in the love and worship of the God who made us and who has blessed us as no other people have been blessed in this world.

And now, 2 weeks ago on the debate, I ran out of time. [Laughter] And I've decided to finish here what I didn't get to say there. And this is directed to the young people of our country who are here with us this evening.

You young people are what this election is all about—you and your future. I have seen them all across this country, on campuses, in schools, and in rallies like this. And I have to say, your generation really sparkles. Your idealism, your love of country are unsurpassed.

And I believe that, well, my generation-and there were a few other generations between mine and yours— [laughter] —our sacred trust is and what we must do for you. We grew up in an America where you could dream, you could make your dreams come true, you could fly as high and as far as your own ability and strength and talent would take you. And we—myself and those generations I mentioned—our sacred trust is, and we pledge to you—when it comes your turn, we're going to turn over the reins of an America that is free in a world that is at peace. And it will be an America in which you can dream and make your dreams come true and fly as high and far as your own strength can take you.

America will never give up and never go back—never. We were born to a special place, I think, this land of ours between the two great oceans, with a unique mission, and that was to carry freedom's torch. To a tired and disillusioned world, we have always been a light of hope where all things are possible.

And throughout my life, I've seen America do the impossible. We survived a Great Depression, when I was a young man—a Great Depression that toppled foreign governments, many of them. Then we survived and came back from Pearl Harbor to win the greatest military victory in all the history of mankind's wars. In a single lifetime-my lifetime—we've gone from horse and buggy to sending astronauts to the Moon.

We Americans, as a people, have fought harder, paid a higher price, done more to advance freedom and the dignity of man, than any people who ever lived on this Earth. Ours is the land of the free because it is the home of the brave. And America's future will always be great because our nation will be strong. And our nation will be strong because our people will be free. And because we—we're free because we're united—one people, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

I'm deeply honored that you've allowed me to serve you for these past 4 years, but much remains to be done. We must continue to build upon the new beginning we started 4 years ago. So, I've come here tonight to ask for your support and ask for your vote. [Applause]
All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!
The President. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. But listen, don't send me back there alone. [Laughter] I want these people I've been talking about earlier here—I want your Congressmen that are running, of course, for reelection now; and I want those candidates that are running for their first election here—I want them all back there with me, so that we can do those things that need to be done.

And the other thing that I would say to you is: I don't like looking at the polls any more. President Dewey told me not to get overconfident. [Laughter] So, please, don't get complacent; don't think your vote isn't necessary Tuesday. It's just that one simple thing: vote. And make sure your neighbors vote. Get everyone out to the polls. We need all those votes.

Audience. Landslide, U.S.A.! Landslide, U.S.A.! Landslide, U.S.A.!

The President. You taught them well. [Laughter]

Audience. Landslide, U.S.A.! Landslide, U.S.A.! Landslide, U.S.A.!
The President. All right.

Audience. Landslide, U.S.A.! Landslide, U.S.A.! Landslide, U.S.A.!

The President. America's best days are yet to come. And I know that my opponent doesn't like to hear me say this, but I'm going to say it: You ain't seen nothin' yet.

God bless you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 6:36 p.m. at the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church Cultural Center. Following his remarks, the President went to the Milwaukee Hyatt Regency Hotel, where he remained overnight.

The following day, President traveled to Rochester, MN.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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