Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Van Nuys, California

November 05, 1984

The President. Governor Deukmejian, Senator Wilson, distinguished Members of the House of Representatives, former Senator George Murphy, Rosey Grier, and Frank Sinatra—my good friends—and my fellow Californians:

I can't tell you how great it feels to be back in southern California and among long-time friends. You know, I intend to come back here and live—about 4 years from now.

My special regards to Bobbi Fiedler. It's been a long time since she was organizing bus stops here in the valley. And she's doing a terrific job in the Congress. On election day, do me a favor: Send Bobbi back to Washington. And that goes for Congressmen Carlos Moorhead, Dan Lungren, Dave Dreier, and a candidate up here named, I hope, to be Congressman Dornan. And while you're at it, spread the word, also, and get out the vote for Richard Gomez and Claude Perry. And if you don't mind, try to win our California races for the Gipper.

But I am especially proud to be here with the students of Pierce College. Pierce is not only a fine college, but I understand you've got a football team with a 7-0 record this year.

Well, I hope our "opportunity team" does as well tomorrow as the Brahma's have been doing this season.

I've come to the people of the San Fernando Valley to ask for support many times before, and I'd like to ask you for this last time to be with us tomorrow.
Well, thank you—

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. Thank you very much. Thank you. I want you to know that just a little while ago up in Sacramento, I told them that if the Capital were in California, I'd try for 40.

But Abraham Lincoln said that 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'd hoped would make our lives better, but which 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, so we cut personal income taxes 25 percent across the board. Now, there have been some people around in this campaign that have been suggesting that maybe we did something for some special group. Our tax cut was across the board, "even-Steven" for everyone, no special 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. But America is back, a giant on the scene, powerful in its renewed spirit, powerful in its growing economy, and secure in the peace. And do you know something? What I just said 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.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. You know, my opponent's understanding of economics is well demonstrated by his predictions. Just before we took office, he said of our economic program that it was obviously, murderously inflationary. And that was just before we lowered inflation from more than 12 down to around 4 percent. And just after our tax cuts, he said the most that he could see was an anemic recovery. And that was just before the United States economy created more than 6 million new jobs in 21 months. My opponent said decontrol of oil prices would cost American consumers more than $36 billion a year. Well, one of the first things we did was decontrol oil prices, and the price of gasoline went down 8 cents a gallon.

Now, I have it all figured out that all we have to do to get an absolutely perfect economy is persuade him to predict an absolute disaster.

He says he cares about the middle class—
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President.—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 just want to be one of his constituents?
Audience. No!

The President. 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's to keep all the promises that he's made to this group and that in this campaign, he will have to raise taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 for every household in the United States.
Audience. Boo-o-o! Mondale—[inaudible].

The President. [Laughing] You're right. All right. Okay. All right.

You know, that figure that I just used prorates out to better than $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. His economic plan has two parts, two: the first is, raise your taxes. Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. And the second is, raise them again.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. 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.

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

The President. All right. You talked me into it. All right.

You know, if my opponent's campaign were a television show, it would be "Let's Make a Deal." [Laughter] You give up your prosperity to get his surprise that's hidden behind the curtain. Now, if his campaign were a Broadway show, it would be "Promises, Promises." And if his administration were a novel, you would have to read it from the back to the front in order to get a happy ending.

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. We want to lower them for everyone in this country, lower the tax rates so your families can be stronger, our economy will be stronger, and America will be stronger.

I'm proud to say that during these last 4 years, on another subject, not 1 square inch of territory in the world was taken over by Communist aggression.

Audience, 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. All right, All right. And that U.S.A., the United States of America, is more secure than it was 4 years ago.

But my opponent sees a different world. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan—
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President.—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 Communists who had taken over that country. Now, 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 are in danger.

But let me now, if I can, put something about this contest in perspective. The 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. Now, I was a Democrat once, for a good share of my life. But in those days, its leaders weren't in the "blame America first" crowd. I hope that there are—and I'm sure there must be many Democrats in this audience, as there have been in so many appearances across the campuses—
Audience. No!

The President. But wait a minute. Wait a minute. I mean good, patriotic Democrats who have found, as I did, they can no longer follow the leadership of their party. These Democrats would be here because they remember when the party's leaders were men like Harry Truman, later men like Senator Scoop Jackson, John F. Kennedy-men who understood the challenges of the times. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood for one and damned the other.

But to those Democrats that I hope are here—because I know there are so many all over the country—and who believed in 'that tradition of the Democratic Party, I say, "You are not alone." We're asking you to come and walk with us down the path of hope and opportunity and, in the finest of bipartisan traditions, together we will make this country prosperous, secure, and free.

Now, last month an American woman walked in space—Kathryn Sullivan made history. And then she returned to the 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 some evidence of the medical advances I've just mentioned in the experiments that have already been conducted. But my opponent led the fight personally 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 permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade. Now, what America needs is high tech, not high taxes.

Audience. We want you! We want you! We want you!
The President. All right.

Audience. We want you! We want you! We want you!

The President. Okay, you got me. All right. All right. All right.

I've probably been going on too long here—
Audience. No!
The President. All right. But—

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

The President. [Laughing] You don't mean stay here 4 more years?

But you know, the point is that we were right when we made that great turn in 1980, right to take command of this ship, stop its aimless drift, and 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. Thank you. All right.

You know, the United States of America was never meant to be a second-best nation.
Audience. No!

The President. Like our Olympic athletes, this nation should set its sights on the stars and go for the gold.

Now, 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 this country growing right into the 21st century. If we could create 6 million jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American—young and old, black or white—to find a job if they want to find a job.

And if local governments in our country can establish, as they have, enterprise zones to create economic growth, to use tax incentives to go into distressed areas and bring business and industry in there to provide jobs for the people that are without jobs now—well, we have such a bill at the national level to do that. And that bill has been buried for more than 2 years in a committee in the House of Representatives under the direction of Tip O'Neill.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Now that's why you send back to Washington those Congress people that I mentioned, and send back the candidates that I have mentioned so that we can get that bill out of committee onto the floor and start helping people that need our help.

Audience. No more Tip! No more Tip! No more Tip!
The President. I'll buy that. [Laughter]
You know, I've always believed, and I believe more than ever, if we give American workers the tools they need—in new industries and old—they can outcompete, outproduce, and outsell anybody, anywhere in the world, at anytime.

Our drive to restore excellence in education reversed a 20-year decline in scholastic aptitude test scores. 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 your families and your friends can walk the streets without being afraid.

We have reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect throughout the world for America. 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 entirely from the face of the Earth.
My opponent talks of a nuclear freeze—
Audience. No! No!

The President.—stopping the building of nuclear weapons while we are at a disadvantage. Well, let me tell you, I'm for a nuclear freeze when we and the Soviet Union reduce the numbers of weapons down to an equal, verifiable level, and then we'll 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 even greater—in its standard of living, in art, in culture, and learning, and greater in the love and worship of the God who made us and who has blessed us as no people have ever been blessed.

Now, 2 weeks ago yesterday, I didn't get to finish something in that debate that I was starting to say. And I'm going to say it here. It is to the young people of our country that I want to direct myself right now.

You know, you are what this election is all about—you and your future. I have seen you all over this land, on campuses like this, in schools, and in rallies like this. And I want to tell you, your generation really sparkles.

Your idealism, your love of country are unsurpassed. Now, my generation—and then there were a few generations between mine and yours—well, we of those several generations, we grew up in an America where we just took it for granted that you could dream and make your dreams come true, fly as high and far as your own ability and effort would take you.

And then for a brief period we went into an era when voices were telling us that we were in an era of limits, and that never again would things be as good as they were, and that everyone should lower their sights and their ambitions.
Audience. No!

The President. Well, I want to tell you, my generation and those several others I mentioned, we have a sacred trust, and we're going to keep that trust. And it is that when the time comes to turn this nation over to you young people, we're going to turn over an America that is free in a world that is at peace.
Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. And it will be an America in which you can dream and make your dreams come true. All of us together, all of us are part of a great revolution that's only just begun. America will never give up and go back—never.

You know, I've always believed this land of ours was placed here between the two oceans to be found by a special kind of people, from every corner of the Earth, who would come here, and come here because of that special love of freedom that they had. And our unique mission is to carry freedom's torch. To a tired, disillusioned world, we've always been a light of hope where everything is possible.

And throughout my life, I have seen America do the impossible. We survived, when I was a young man, a great worldwide Depression that toppled governments in many parts of the world, but not here. We came back from Pearl Harbor to win the greatest military victory in all the history of war. In a single lifetime—my own—in that lifetime we have gone from the horse and buggy to landing astronauts on the Moon.
We, as a people, have fought harder, paid a higher price for victory and freedom, and done more to advance the freedom and the dignity of man than any people who ever lived on this Earth.

America's future—well, let me just say, ours is the land of the free because it is the home of the brave.
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. America's future will always be great because our nation will always be strong. Our nation will be strong because our people will be free. And our people will be free because we will be united—one people, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Now, 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 that we started 4 years ago. So, I ask you for your support and your vote. I have come here to ask for that.

But also, I want to say I'm terrified by the polls. Please don't read them anymore. Don't get complacent. Tomorrow, don't think your vote isn't needed. Go and vote and take others with you to do that. And if you're voting for me, don't send me there alone. Send these other people that I've mentioned back there with me so we can get the job done.

America's best days are yet to come. And now, it may drive my opponent up the wall, but I just want to say one last thing: You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:44 p.m. at Pierce Junior College.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to San Diego, CA.

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

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