Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Sacramento, California

November 05, 1984

The President. Thank you. And thank you, Governor Deukmejian, Senator Wilson, Congressmen Chappie and Shumway. It sure feels great to be home.

You know, there's a picture on the wall inside there that looks something like me. [Laughter] And I may just bathe all of you in warm nostalgia, now that I'm here where I have stood several times before. But I'm happy to be with old friends now as we reach the closing moments of this campaign.

I'd say many thanks, first, to Governor Deukmejian, who has been doing such a fantastic and wonderful job in leading this State. I think we all know that with "Duke" here, California is in good hands. And if I could, I'd like to ask you a favor. You've got two fantastic Congressmen from this area-Gene Chappie and Norm Shumway. They're solid members of the "opportunity team." And when you vote tomorrow, please send them back to Washington, too. You need them back there, and I can guarantee you, I need them.

We Californians came from every part of this country and, well, yes, from every part of the world. We came here for the golden opportunity that this State represents. And tomorrow the voters will determine if we're going to keep that dream alive. You know, this State is the only State I know, that if it were a nation, would be one of the top seven or eight economic powers of the world.

But I'm filled with so many memories of times before when I have stood here, including taking the oath of office to serve you as your Governor. The State I remember back in those days had some of the same economic problems that confront the Federal Government—and confronted it 4 years ago. And I remember saying, as I stood here and faced you, the people of California—I said that I believed that you-well, all of us together, the people of California, had an opportunity to start a prairie fire that would sweep across this country. And do you know there were people in the East who said that California is a good place if you're an orange? They're not saying that anymore.

I think the prairie fire did reach there because now you hear them more and more saying, "Well, what happens in California is a forerunner of what is going to take place in the United States."

You know, when I got to Washington, someone, as a matter of fact it was Tip O'Neill, rather
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. He rather condescendingly said to me, "You're in the big leagues now." And do you know something? I kind of thought here in California we were in the big leagues.

But Abe Lincoln said we must disenthrall ourselves with the past—and then we will save our country. And 4 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 which we found wound up trying to live our lives for us.

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

We knew that economic freedom meant paying less of the American family's earnings to the Government, and so we cut personal income tax rates by 25 percent. And contrary to what some have been saying in this campaign, we did it across the board, without special favors for any particular group.

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.

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 is not debatable.

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 days of torpor, timidity, and taxes. In fact, some of those small voices have come out here in the sunlight. [Laughter]

My opponent's understanding of economics is well demonstrated by his predictions. Just before we took office, he said our economic program is obviously, murderously inflationary. And that was just before we lowered inflation from above 12 percent to down around 4. And then just after 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. He said that decontrol of oil would cost you $36 billion. Well, one of the first things we did was decontrol oil, and gasoline prices went down 8 cents a gallon.

Now, I have it all figured out that we can get the economy in absolute perfect condition if we can persuade my opponent to predict absolute disaster.

He says he cares about the middle class, but he boasts, and I quote, "I have consistently supported legislation, time after time, which increases taxes on my own constituents." Doesn't that make you want to be one of his constituents?

Audience. No!

The President. He's no doubt proud of the fact that he voted, as a United States Senator, 16 times to increase 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's to keep all the promises that he's made in this campaign, he will have to raise taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 for every household in the United States.
Audience. No!

The President. That's more than $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage. [Laughter]

His economic program has two parts: first, raise your taxes; second, 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 his tax increases.
You know—

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more Nears! 4 more years!
The President. 4 more years? 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. You know, if the Capital were in California, I'd go for 40.

You know, if my opponent's—if his program was a television show, it would be "Let's Make a Deal." [Laughter] That is, you trade your prosperity for the surprise he's got hidden behind the curtain. [Laughter] And if his program 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. [Laughter]

He sees an America in which every day is tax day, April 15th; we see an America in which every day is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. We want to lower your taxes, and everybody's taxes in this country, so your families will be stronger, the economy will be stronger, and America will be stronger.

On another subject, I am proud to say that during these last 4 years, not 1 square inch of territory has been 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." Well, there's so much that baffles him. [Laughter]

One year ago we liberated Grenada from the Communists who had taken over that country. And my opponent called what we did a violation of international law that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviets.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, there is nothing immoral about rescuing American students whose lives were in danger.

But now, let me, if I can, put this whole thing in perspective. The 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat once, for the greater part of my life. But in those days, the leaders of that party weren't in the "blame America first" crowd. It's leaders were men like Harry Truman, Senator Scoop Jackson, and 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 up for one and they damned the other.

Now, to all the good Americans who respect that tradition, all the good Democrats-and I have to believe that here in this crowd there must be many who have found they can no longer follow the leadership of their party, and yet they are loyal Democrats, they are patriotic Americans, I've seen them in meetings like this all over the country in this campaign—well, to all of you, I say, "You are not alone." We're asking you to come walk with us down the path of hope and opportunity and, in the best tradition of bipartisanship, join us in securing this country, making it prosperous, free, and making it safe and secure.

Last month an American woman, Kathryn Sullivan, made history. She 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 are possible up there, as they are not possible down here. I have seen evidence already of experiments that have begun that indicate there is hope, that we will find those cures—advances in technology and communication.

But my opponent, as a Senator, personally led the fight against having a shuttle program at all. He called it a horrible waste. Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, we support the space shuttle, and we've committed America to meet a great challenge—to build a manned space center out in space and to do it within a decade. What this country needs is high tech, not high taxes.

I've probably been going on too long here.
Audience. No!

The President. [Laughing] That isn't what you meant by 4 more years, is it? Up here?

Well, the point is 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. from this country and started saying U.S.A.!
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. That sounds real good.
The United States was never meant to be a second-best nation. And like our Olympic athletes, this nation should set its sights on the stars and go for the gold.

If we could bring inflation down from 12.4 percent to 4, then we can bring it down further, from 4 to 0.0. And we're going to do that. If lowering your tax rates led to the best expansion in 30 years, then we can lower them again and keep America growing into the 21st century. If we could create those 6 million new jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American—young and old, black or white—who wants a job to find a job.

And if local governments can establish enterprise zones to create economic growth, then we can elect people to the Congress who will free our enterprise zones bill, the national bill that we have in Washington that has been buried in a committee in the House of Representatives for more than 2 years under the direction of Tip O'Neill.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. That bill can provide hope for millions in the most distressed areas of America. And so, you send these Congressmen back, and the other candidates back, who will help us blast that bill out of committee and get it to the floor and get it in action in this country.

You know, leading the revolution—as this country is—in technology, and pushing back the frontiers of space, I have always believed-and I believe it now more than ever—if we give American workers the tools they need, in industries old and new, they can outproduce, outcompete, and outsell anybody, anytime, anywhere in the world.

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

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

We've reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect for America all over the world. 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 banish them from the face of the Earth entirely.

My opponent talks about a nuclear freeze, and every once in awhile some people, rather in an unfriendly way, shove a placard in my face that says, "Nuclear Freeze." Well, I can answer them and tell you something, too. Yes, when we have persuaded the Soviet Union to join us in reducing nuclear weapons to an equal and verifiable number, then we will have a nuclear freeze—but not until.

And as we strengthen our economy, strengthen our security, strengthen the values that bind us, America will become even greater—in its standard of living, and culture, in art and learning, and greater in the love and worship of the God who made us and who has blessed us more than any people have ever been blessed on this Earth.

Now, 2 weeks ago yesterday I didn't-well, I ran out of time on the debate, and I didn't get to finish something I was saying. I'm going to finish it now. And if you don't mind, I'd like to address it to the young people of our country who are with us here today.

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

The President. All right. You young people, you're what this election is all about, you and your future. I've seen you all across this country on campuses, in schools, in rallies like this. And I can tell you, your generation really sparkles.

Your idealism and love of country are unsurpassed. And you know, my generation and—well, there's a few generations between mine and yours— [laughter] —well those generations that I'm talking about, we all grew up in an America where we simply took it for granted that we could dream and make our dreams come true. There was no limit to how high we could fly or how far we could go if we set out to do it.

And then we entered a brief period in which there were people telling us that now we were in a era of limits; that never again would anything be as good; that we'd have to reconcile ourselves to living with less. Well, may I speak on behalf of my generation and those several other generations I mentioned and say to you young people right now, we have a sacred trust, and we're going to keep that trust. And that is to turn over to you the reins, when it comes your turn, of an America that is free in a world that is at peace and where your dreams can come true.

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

All of us, all of us together are part of a great revolution, and it's only just begun. America will never give up, never go back—never. We were born to be a special place here between the two great oceans with a unique mission to carry freedom's torch throughout the world. To a tired, disillusioned world, we have always been a light of hope where they believe all things are possible.

And throughout my own life, I have seen America do the impossible. When I was a young man we survived a great worldwide depression that toppled governments throughout the 'world. We survived that. It made anything we've had since look like prosperity. We survived—well, we came back from Pearl Harbor and won the greatest military victory the world has ever seen. In a single lifetime we went from the horse and buggy to landing astronauts on the Moon.

And we as a people—and this is our heritage, all of us—we as a people have fought harder, paid a higher price, and done more to advance the dignity and freedom of man than any other people who ever lived on this Earth.

Ours is the land of the free because it is the home of the brave. 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 we'll be free because we're united—one people, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

I was deeply honored to serve as your Governor. I have been deeply honored to serve in this office for these past 4 years. But much remains to be done. We must continue to build upon the new beginning that we started 4 years ago. I have come here today to ask for your support and for your vote.

And if I could, just one word of caution. Don't pay any attention to the polls. I looked up at Mount Rushmore, and President Dewey's face isn't there. [Laughter] Don't get complacent and think your vote isn't needed. Everyone, vote, get out the vote, get your neighbors to the polls.

Our best years are yet to come. And now, I'm going to say something with a certain little group in mind out there—I think it'll drive them up the wall. I enjoy saying it. And that is, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

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

Note: The President spoke at 10:26 a.m. at the State Capitol Building.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to Van Nuys, CA.

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

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